FinMin Papaconstantinou: 'no horizontal cuts in wages, pensions'

“There will be no horizontal cuts in wages and pensions neither horizontal increases of tax indices,” Finance Minister George Papaconstantionou on Wednesday stressed while addressing the Financial Times conference in Athens.

“However, the medium-term fiscal adjustment programme cannot be implemented without reducing wage cost in the public sector, curbing the deficits of the public utility companies and introducing well-targeted social benefits,” he stressed.

He pointed out that the medium-term fiscal adjustment programme interventions scheduled for 2012-2015 will reach 23 billion euros.

Referring to the programme for the utilization of public property, the finance minister put an emphasis on the sectors of infrastructures such as, seaports, as well as, on energy and legal gambling where the state participation can be reduced without selling out public interest and strategic participations.

As regards the overall course of the Greek economy, Papaconstantinou stated that “we are in the middle of deep recession” and that “the last three months of 2010 were the worst,” adding that growth rates will be positive in the third and fourth quarter of 2011.

“This conclusion is not simply wishful thinking coming from a minister of finance but is drawn based on early indexes of the Greek economy, such as, the very large increase in exports and the simultaneous recovery of trust in the Greek economy,” Papaconstantinou said.

Referring to the issue of debt restructuring and the different views heard, he underlined that “the government is not siding with the debt restructuring solution. The goals set are the creation of large primary surpluses and high growth rates that will result from the implementation of structural reforms. This is the only way to a strong economy. Greece will emerge from the crisis stronger and the Greeks will be more confident. The path we are following will not be changed.”

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