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Greek government reforms under the microscope

23 February 2010 / 10:02:24  GRReporter
2418 reads

Victoria Mindova

The control commission of representatives from the European Central Bank and the IMF, which arrived in Athens on Monday night will hold a series of checks. Subject to these checks will be activities of both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and the application of the three-year program for stability and development of the relevant institutions. The Commission will stay in the Greek capital until Thursday and will meet with the chairman of the advisory boards of the Ministry of Finance George Zanyas, the chairman of the Central Bank of Greece Georgios Provopolos and with representatives from the Ministry of Employment and Social Security. After two weeks Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic Affairs in the European Union will visit Athens as well. The aim for the international professionals not only to ensure the implementation of the Stability Program, but also to focus on the pace of implementation of public administrative reforms. 

In Brussels, there are major concerns that the recession, which the Greek economy is experiencing today, is deeper than originally anticipated. At the beginning of the year the Greek government has adopted the Stability and Development program, which includes a series of measures and changes in the socio-economic governance of the country. Applying these measures should reduce the public deficit of Greece from 12.7% of GDP is to 3% of GDP in 2012. According to the representative of the European Central Bank Jϋrgen Stark, the socialist government has started the Action Plan at its "bare minimum" of financial restrictive measures to achieve economic stability. The program is built on evidence of financial situation of the country at the end of 2009. Two months later things are different because of the ever-increasing spread index and lack of a specific plan of management by PASOK to deal with shortfalls in the health and social insurance systems. Thus, according to European economists, the financial crisis in Greece deepens and Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou will have to adopt additional measures to meet the objectives of the stability program. "I have absolute confidence in the capacity of the Greek government and I am fully convinced that the government will achieve its objectives. Even if there are difficulties on the road, PASOK is ready to take corrective / additional measures," said Georgios Provopolos, chairman of the Bank of Greece. 

These additional measures will be officially announced on March 15 and 16 when on the meeting of Eurogroup and Ecofin in Brussels, Greece will present its first report, which will include a detailed description of measures taken and their results with the ultimate aim of reducing the government deficit. If the report of the government has differences between the short-term objectives of the primary objectives Stability Program, Greece will be forced to raise taxes on luxury goods and VAT by two percentage points (from 19% currently to 21%), and suspend the payment of 13th and 14th salary and pension for a period of three years.


Tags: EUROGROUP ECOFIN Papandreou Economy Greece
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