Greece announced earlier this month that it will no longer move ahead with a 1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) securitization deal slated for next year intended to reduce its budget deficit for 2006. However, the government plans to move ahead with its planned 1.5 billion deal this year with the hopes that Eurostat will give the thumbs-up to count against this year's deficit.

A decision by Eurostat on the securitization plan announced by the Greek authorities is scheduled to take place in the coming weeks. EU economic affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a press release last week that the EU had taken into account the impact of the securitization measures announced by the Greek government in its 2005 forecast, but with the caveat that should Eurostat rule that this one-off transaction not be eligible, it would not consider it when assessing the excessive deficit procedure in 2005.

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