ATHENS, Aug 5, 2012 (AFP) -- Greece is committed to reforms that are vital if it is to avert bankruptcy, the finance minister said in remarks published Sunday, warning the next few weeks were crucial for its future in the euro.
The comments by Yannis Stournaras came ahead of a meeting Sunday with officials from the "troika" of international creditors -- the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on budget cuts needed to unlock the next tranche of aid under a massive bailout package.
"The country is committed to implementing a series of measures and reforms to revive the economy and permanently remove the threat of bankruptcy," Stournaras told the Ethnos newspaper.
He acknowledged that Greeks have had to endure "major sacrifices" as the new coalition government imposes tough austerity measures, including salary and pension cuts, demanded by its creditors in return for aid.
"The coming weeks are crucial for the country's survival because if we go down a different path than logic tells us, it could drive us outside the eurozone and into bankruptcy."
The troika is seeking budget cuts of another 11.5 billion euros ($14 billion) to unlock a 31.5-billion-euro loan disbursement in September as part of Greece's latest 130-billion-euro rescue package.
The cuts, applicable in 2013 and 2014, were originally to have been finalised last month but back-to-back elections postponed the decision.
Stournaras said he hoped that Greece could emerge from its deep recession by speeding up a privatisation programme and and structural reforms which are also being sought by its international creditors.
Greece was given a lifeline last week when the ECB agreed on a move which will give Athens access to another four billion euros of funds and ensure its financial survival until September, a German newspaper reported Saturday.