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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-11-27

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin: A long road ahead to exit the crisis

  • [01] FinMin: A long road ahead to exit the crisis

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras expressed his satisfaction over the achievement of the 2013 budget targets on Wednesday while speaking at the Parliament's committee on economic affairs, which is reviewing the new draft budget, for 2014.

    "However, we have a long road ahead of us to exit the crisis," Stournaras said during the budget discussion.

    "The Greek economy is expected to return to growth in 2014. If the growth target is 0.6 percent, we have to work harder to surpass it. This requires speeding up structural changes, keeping up with privatizations, eliminating barriers to entrepreneurship and restructuring of the health system," he noted.

    "Under normal circumstances, a more expansive fiscal policy would be required. But loosening would mean eliminating all growth prospects. That's why the 2014 budget sets as a fixed and non-negotiable target achieving a primary surplus," Stournaras said, adding that in any case Greece follows the road of other countries in support programs.

    In his speech, the Finance Minister kept distances from a neo-liberal model and noted that transition to a new state "is not a process of rapid changes coming overnight, but a serious reform implemented with focused changes". In this framework, all corruption pockets must be eliminated, establishing strong supervision mechanisms, better focusing on public spending and particularly social spending.

    "A new social model will be more redistributable towards the weakest sectors of the society," Stournaras said, adding that education will invest on "research-education-innovation" surpassing targets set in a Lisbon treaty.

    "Not only we will have a connection of education with market, but an education responding to the country's needs, with public universities, through a serious evaluation, becoming pockets of innovation and research," he said.

    "A new model is rising," Stournaras said and noted that this prospect should be undermined by divisive thinking. He urged opposition political parties to show more responsibility and to be more productive in its criticism.

    Stournaras defended his comments that Greece was not overburdened by taxes and said that taxes as a percentage of GDP totaled 22.8 pct in 2012 in Greece down from an average 25.7 pct in the eurozone.


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