BRUSSELS (MNI) – The European Central Bank is extremely alert as
Greece implements a programme to cut its budget deficit and government
debt, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on

Greece has been offered a E110 billion lifeline from the Eurozone
countries and the International Monetary Fund, which could take it out
of the market for up to 18 months. To bolster this decision, the ECB
said it would suspend the minimum credit rating threshold for Greek debt
instruments used as collateral at the central bank.

“There is a program that is very, very serious in our vision, this
also will be implemented and followed on a quarterly basis and we will
be extremely alert ourselves to follow the implementation of the
program,” Trichet told reporters at a press conference in Lisbon,
following the ECB’s May meeting there.

Trichet said the interest rate being charged to Greece in return
for the loans — about 5% — was “a decision which is the decision of
governments. All governments concerned have examined the case very
carefully themselves, it is their decision, but I would say that it is
part of the overall recovery program that we have judged ourselves
positive and worth being financed.”

He rejected suggestions that other high debt and deficit countries
could have the same fate as Greece, but said all Eurozone countries
needed to work hard to consolidate their budgets.

–Brussels: 0032 487 (0) 32 803 665,

[TOPICS: MT$$$$,M$$FX$,M$$EC$,M$X$$$,M$$CR$,MGX$$$]