Nov 21 - The Greek Finance Minister says the 2014 budget shows the people's sacrifices have paid off after submitting the budget to parliament. But as Joanna Partridge reports there are still many hurdles for Greece to overcome.
A step in the right direction. Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras submits the 2014 budget to parliament. The government predicts the country will emerge from a lengthy recession next year, and even achieve a primary surplus. SOUNDBITE: GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, YANNIS STOURNARAS, SAYING (Greek): "This is a budget that proves that the fiscal efforts made by the Greek public have significantly borne fruit." Greece nearly went bankrupt and crashed out of the euro zone last year. But recent economic news is beginning to look more positive. Tourism revenues are rising and Athens is making progress in bringing its finances back on track. But relations aren't all rosy with Greece's international lenders. Inspectors from the so-called Troika of foreign lenders left Athens on Thursday - earlier than expected. They'll return in December to continue checking Greece's progress. The two sides disagree over the level of budget savings needed to meet next year's targets. There's speculation Greece might be forced to adopt more austerity measures. But Greeks are still taking to the streets to protests against more cuts. And the country's leaders aren't keen either, says Simon Smith from FX Pro. SOUNDBITE: Simon Smith, Head of Research, FX Pro, saying (English): "The finance minister last week or very recently was actually being more obstinate, saying we've had enough fiscal austerity, we can't take any more, so there is certainly a sense that they are pushing back. But nevertheless there's still the sense overall that the budget is still tight, the original plan to get debt down to 120% of GDP is slipping, so it's not out of the question that they do need more money." Greeks may be tired of austerity - but they may also find it hard to ignore their foreign lenders. The country no longer rattles financial markets as it used to. And it's got enough cash to last until early next year. It's also getting more support from abroad - the U.S. Commerce Secretary has been in the country. She believes American companies doing business in Greece can play a role in fostering economic growth.