VOA - Greece's central bank says the country's troubled economy is shrinking even faster than first thought.
The bank's governor, George Provopoulos, said Tuesday the Greek economy will contract as much as 5 percent this year - the country's fifth straight year of recession. Just a month ago, the bank had predicted the economy would shrink 4.5 percent.
Provopoulos said that as soon as Greek voters pick a new government in May 6 elections, the debt-ridden country needs to return quickly to imposing more austerity measures to keep its deficit spending in check.
"In this critical environment, the Greek economy is being called upon to make stable steps towards progress," said Provopoulos. "Complete readiness is required from the first day after the elections so that the war can be won on all fronts, beginning with the building of a decisive and flexible state that will serve both the competitive operation of the market and social cohesion."
As per demands of its international creditors, Greece has already imposed widespread social spending cuts and eliminated thousands of government jobs in exchange for billions of dollars in debt relief and financial bailouts. But the measures have angered Greeks and prompted frequent strikes and street protests.
Provopoulos said Greeks have an obligation to adhere to the cost-cutting plan.
"It is up to all of us as a society, as a political system, and as responsible citizens, to take on this historical responsibility of choice," he said. "Today, we hold the fate of the country in our hands."
Watch from MEGA (in Greek) Προβόπουλος: Η ύφεση θα πλησιάσει το 5%:
Watch from Skai (in Greek):Προβόπουλος: Σε κρίσιμο σημείο η ελληνική οικονομία