Polish PM urges debt-ravaged Greece to "try harder"
(WARSAW) - Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday urged Greeks to "try harder" to pull their country out of its debt crisis, pointing to the example of Baltic states and their fruitful austerity drives.
"The Greeks have a lot of work to do, and they must show they are determined to do it," Tusk said days before closely-followed general elections in the debt-ridden eurozone member.
"If they don't show it, no one can do the work for them," the Polish premier told reporters.
"The problem of these elections is a problem of Greece, not of Europe," Tusk stressed, adding that "everyone had fingers crossed for Greece.
"It is difficult to imagine Europe or the eurozone without Greece. But it's time to make this clear to the Greeks: it's all up to you now," he said.
On Monday, International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde also reiterated in an interview that Greeks must pay their taxes to strengthen their economy.
Tusk pointed to neighbouring austerity-minded Baltic countries -- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which joined the EU in 2004 -- as an example of what could be achieved.
"The Estonians and the Latvians managed to cut their pensions by 20-30 percent... and in two years they virtually escaped from a deep crisis," he said.
The three Baltic countries have accepted austerity plans as a remedy for financial imbalances that saw them fall into deep recessions following the 2008 global financial crisis.
Tusk said he would wait for the Greek election results and the future government's position on terms of an EU bailout before finalising estimates underlying Poland's federal budget for 2013.
"We will decide in favour of a more or less cautious budget based on this information," he said.
The Polish government currently expects gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 2.9 percent in 2013, and has forecast a rise of 2.5 percent this year.
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