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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-12-19

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece's aim is to swiftly conclude the second review, Tzanakopoulos says
  • [02] Second review can be completed within 1st quarter 2017, ACCI's Michalos says

  • [01] Greece's aim is to swiftly conclude the second review, Tzanakopoulos says

    Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos once again ruled out the prospect of early elections, even if a completion of the second review is delayed, during an interview to the Greek radio station "Parapolitika 90.1" on Monday. He equally dismissed the possibility of another referendum as "groundless speculation by journalists."

    "Our aim is to complete the review, join the quantitative easing programme and, from then on, to begin testing our access to the markets, so that by August 2018 we are finally ready to exit from memorandums and supervision," he said.

    On the estimate given by European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for the Euro Valdis Dombrovskis, who said the completion of the review might take "months", Tzanakopoulos suggested that Dombrovskis was not as directly involved in the negotiations as other Commissioners and therefore did not have a direct picture about how these were progressing.

    The spokesman was also highly critical of main opposition New Democracy and the party's leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying they needed to provide a convincing explanation for their "u-turn" on the Christmas bonus for low-income pensioners.

    Just two days before the vote, ND had been saying it would support the measures, Tzanakopoulos pointed out. The reasons that led it to change its mind "raised questions and this is something that should trouble us all," he added.

    He explained ND's decision to abstain as an attempt to suggest that the benefit might somehow create problems for the fiscal adjustment programme, and quipped that "ND appears to be stricter about sticking to the programme than the institutions." He pointed out that an informal briefing of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) concluded that the benefit would not have a fiscal impact in 2017 and 2018, nor in 2016.

    "The EuroWorking Group (EWG) has no technical or legal reason not to unfreeze the short-term measures for the debt. Apart from that, it is a political decision by the EWG what it intends to do and what it wants to do," the spokesman commented.

    ND's subsequent decision to support a suspension of a VAT hike for the islands hardest hit by the refugee crisis, he added, was because the main opposition "has understood that it made a serious political error, a grave political misstep."

    [02] Second review can be completed within 1st quarter 2017, ACCI's Michalos says

    The 2nd review of Greece's programme would be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2017, the head of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Central Union of Chambers of Greece Constantine Michalos predicted on Monday.

    Speaking at an ACCI event, Michalos said that target growth rates of 2.5 and 2.7 pct of GDP in 2017 were achievable, given that more than one billion euros will be injected into the market through the recently passed Christmas benefit for pensioners (617 million euros), the Marinopoulos supermarket chain agreement, which envisaged spending of 500 million euros to pay off arrears and for new stock purchases, and the launch of the Asteras resort investment, amounting to 200 million euros. Added to these sums, he said, would be additional inflows from the NSRF and EU funds, the investment law and others.

    Michalos was critical of government delays in implementing major investments, however, such as improving the regional airports, and said that the state must reduce its arrears to businesses. He also called for more reasonable taxation rates and a reduction of the cost of money for Greek businesses to "competitive levels".


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