ATHENS – Lockdowns to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic battered Greece just when it was beginning a slow recovery from a near decade-long fiscal and austerity crisis but Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said he knows the road back.
He was so giddy about the prospects that he predicted an all-out recovery on a number of fronts, also including the health sector, fighting climate change, finding energy sources and dealing with geopolitical challenges.
Addressing the 4th Athens Investment Forum, titled Greece 2.0 – An Investment Tidal Wave for the Greek Economy, he said the New Democracy government had to reset its priorities because of the pandemic, which required 42.7 billion euros ($49.68 billion) in subsidies to workers temporarily laid off and their businesses, which had to close for months.
The government has essentially admitted it’s now tilting toward favoring the economy over trying to slow the pandemic, even at the cost of deaths, and seeking foreign investors.
He said the government’s goals are to achieve high and sustainable growth rates, investments and exports, ending surveillance by the country’s European creditors by 2022, lowering bad loans held by banks and reaching an investment grade rating.