Without aid Greece would be like Syria, finance minister says
Greece is safe from bankruptcy today, but without assistance it would have become like Syria, Finance Minister Giannis Stournaras said Sunday, dpa reported.
He told the To Vima newspaper that Greece was neither threatened by a eurozone exit nor by bankruptcy.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said there had been "notable failures" in the Greek bailout, comments that the European Union distanced itself from.
The IMF admitted that it had underestimated how much the austerity mandated of Greece as part of its international bailouts - the first of which was agreed to in May 2010 - would push the economy deeper into recession.
Stournaras told the newspaper that neither the former government nor the donors were sufficiently prepared for such a crisis.
The EU's executive works with the IMF and European Central Bank to monitor and help enforce eurozone bailouts as part of the troika.
Athens has so far received about 200 billion euros (262 billion dollars) in loans from a rescue programme totaling 240 billion euros.
Repeated austerity measures, which include salary and pension cuts as well as tax hikes, have helped reduce the country's budget deficit but at the same time left it deeper in recession than what the IMF and its European partners had initially forecast. Unemployment has surged to more than 27 per cent.