Dec. 9 - Greece is hopeful of being able to raise funds on international markets as early as next year after passing its budget for 2014. Andrew Potter reports.
It's become depressingly familiar for Greeks, a budget packed with austerity cuts, this one passed early on Sunday morning, bringing with it 3 billion euros of new austerity measures. But according to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, there's light at the end of the tunnel. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ANTONIS SAMARAS, SAYING: "I ask you to strengthen the people's view that Greece is standing on its feet and moving forward." Samaras also voiced his hope that Greece could raise funds on international markets by next year, the first time since it partially defaulted in 2012. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ANTONIS SAMARAS, SAYING: "I ask you all to leave behind all the things that have been holding us back, and with decisiveness and courage to finish what we started, what are considered to be the most daring reforms and fiscal consolidation ever attempted." Greece is set to balance its budget this year, but fall below the level of surplus wanted by its international lenders. Even so the country wants more independence, after years of following the strict demands of those who bailed out Greece when its economy was on its knees. But challenges remain. Michala Marcussen is global head of economics at Societe Generale. SOUNDBITE: MICHALA MARCUSSEN, GLOBAL HEAD OF ECONOMICS, SOCIETE GENERALE, SAYING (English): "If Greece cannot convince investors there is a real model in place for growth and reform that is where I see the hurdle, more than meeting specific measures of the troika." Assitance to struggling economies like Greece is on the agenda of the European finance ministers meeting in Brussels. And the Greek economy has passed another milestone, with consumer prices falling 2.9 percent in November on a year earlier, the biggest price deflation since records began more than 50 years ago.