Politics: FinMin: Greece will succeed in reining in public debt

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Thursday expressed his confidence that Greece will succeed in controlling its public debt.

Speaking during a briefing of the Economic and Social Commission (OKE) over the medium-term Fiscal Strategy Framework for the period 2012-2015, the minister said: “We will control our debt despite what some people say”.

Controlling the public debt will be made through a fiscal consolidation program (achieving budget surpluses of more than 5.0 pct of GDP), economic growth (nominal growth rates of more than 2.0 pct), better management of the state property (1-2 pct of the GDP for a period of five years) and better borrowing terms.

Papaconstantinou stressed “it was easy for someone to slip but this will not happen as long as we follow the policy we have designed”.

He noted that the government would like to further cut tax rates in the coming years if a battle against tax evasion was successful and sounded optimistic saying there were recovery signs in the economy. He underlined that the banking system should regain access in international markets to support growth, but restoring the country’s credibility was precondition, while he reiterated that the government will not hit wages, pensions, or raise taxes.

OKE president Christos Polyzogopoulos said he was “worried and pessimistic” and noted that the climate must change.

Federation of Greek Enterprises president Dimitris Daskalo-poulos said everyone should participate in a dialogue over a medium-term framework and stressed that the memorandum signed with the EU and the IMF was a life jacket, although he underlined the need to draft a national memorandum of change which would surpass borrowers’ memorandum.

The president of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce Vasilis Korkidis wondered who many updates of the memorandum the Greek economy could afford and urged for measures to support growth and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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