163.2% this year and this is not a sustainable figure - Greece must do everything possible to make this ratio 116.5% by 2020. He recalled that the cost of debt interest rate would be 6.4% of GDP in 2013, when the country would have to go out in the markets. In Italy, these costs are 5.6%. Deutsche Bank representative concluded that in order for Greece to return to the sustainable economic model, it is expected to form a primary surplus of 4.5% from 2014 onwards.
He said the privatization programme should be worth 20% of GDP and this could be achieved. "Greece has to find the right mix of measures to make the adjustment. The more pressing issue for the country now is revenues rather than costs, which are slightly higher than the European Union average. Taxes should be collected more effectively not only to improve revenue, but also to share the burden of reforms more equitably. The level of expenditure in Greece is much higher than the standard of living and it should be adjusted," Gilles Moec concluded.
Panagiotis Thomopoulos, president of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, stated that all banks have had to reduce staff by 30%, to dramatically cut salaries by 30%, this percentage being higher for the management staff. "Large compensations of 20 salaries are paid in cases of layoffs. That is why it seems that there is not a big improvement in their budgets, but there will be in 2013," he assured. The merger of banks will further improve their condition and will enable them withstand the shocks in the economy caused by the long recession. The Fund has so far allocated 20 billion to increase the recapitalization of banks. The condition of the Greek banking sector is complicated by the fact that foreign banks have drastically reduced transactions and trade relations with the Greek banks.
Although bank management is not the cause of the banking crisis, it is determined to make the banks profitable again. "They complain that they have lost their independence, but all have lost it - not only Greece, Germany has also lost some of its sovereignty as well. In the banking sector, the Troika is at the top, we are next and the banks come next. Banks themselves are divided into good and bad ones, their properties are divided into good and bad," said Panagiotis Thomopoulos.
Jerome Finkel, vice president of Blackrock and a member of the group that rated the credit records of the Greek banks spoke about their state. The inspection involved 18 banks and 8 different types of loans, and its results were presented to the Greek government as early as 30 December, 2011. "Over the last 12 months, Greek banks have gone through tremendous changes - the PSI procedure was implemented, the agreement with the Financial Stability Facility was concluded, institutions had to deal with the outflow of deposits, some of them started selling international businesses and branches abroad," the representative of Blackrock recalled.
According to him, however, only some traces of improvement have been noted. Greek banks are in a much darker position than the banks in the core of the euro area, for example. There is a need for greater transparency; foreign investors need more information to turn to Greece. "We made two recommendations to the government - consolidation of the banking sector and the second one was to release and sell the bad property of private and institutional investors," Jerome Finkel said.
According to Megan Greene, Director for European Economics at Roubini Global Economics, Greece will
be the first country to exit the euro area at the beginning of next year. A year later, Portugal will follow it. "Greece will not withstand a new wave of austerity measures and would alone prefer to exit the euro area," she said. "Greece is an example of what the euro area is doing with weak countries. Portugal and Ireland will also receive a second rescue package and will also go through the PSI, " Megan Greene forecasted.
But according to her, the only thing that rescue plans are doing is buying time so that the countries can carry out the reforms. If they manage to implement them quickly, they have a chance of returning to sustainable development within the euro area. "But as we can see, this is not done in Greece," she said. The pessimistic scenario in her theory is an uncontrolled exit of Greece from the euro area, Finland's decision to exit it and an unpredictable outcome of the elections in Italy.
What can be done at an institutional level to prevent this bad scenario? "The European Central Bank should reduce the interest rates to 0%; it should decide on devaluating the euro and make it equal to the US dollar. And the countries from the core should agree to grant financial incentives to the countries of the periphery. Well, you see that this cannot happen," concluded the representative of Roubini Global Economics.