ATHENS – Finance Minister Christos Staikouras described the first Post-Programme Surveillance Report on Greece, published on Tuesday by the European Commission, as a “milestone report” since it officially inaugurates a new chapter for the country and its return to European normality.
Staikouras also mentioned that the Commission’s findings can form the basis for Eurogroup decisions related to the implementation of agreed Greek debt relief measures, which include the disbursement of the eighth and final installment from the profits of the European central banks from buying Greek bonds.
Also, the minister stated that the Report:
– Certifies the strong and stable development trajectory that the Greek economy has entered, and which it maintains despite the large increase in inflation and uncertainty triggered, at a global and European level, by Russia’s war against Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis.
– Recognises the effectiveness of the policies that the government has implemented, and continues to implement, in its effort to mitigate the effects of this new – second, within a period of just three years – major external crisis, on the disposable income of Greek citizens. Policies that include support measures against the effects of the energy crisis – which the Report describes as among the most extensive among the European Union member states for 2022 – tax reductions, and the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
– Predicts that, despite extremely large external challenges, the level of employment will continue to rise this year and for the next two years. The same is foreseen for the level of international competitiveness of Greece.
– Highlights the forecast for a significant improvement in public finances in the period 2022-2024 and points to the rapid de-escalation of public debt as a percentage of GDP during the same period. The improvement in fiscal figures goes hand in hand with the implementation of support measures against the energy crisis and new, permanent tax reductions for all employees and pensioners from 1/1/2023.
– Confirms, despite the unfavourable international situation in the financial markets, the continued improvement in the performance of the banking sector and the consequent expansion of the financing of the real economy for the benefit of growth and employment. A similar positive momentum develops from the progress recorded by the report in the implementation of the new framework for private debt.
– Describes the stable and uninterrupted presence of Greece in the government bond markets, with a stable, in recent months, yield margin, despite the turbulence and interest rate increases in the international markets. As a result, Greece maintains a high cash reserve. Overall, the Report finds that Greece can consistently service its public debt.
– Concludes that Greece has achieved, despite unfavourable international conditions, a series of goals that had been set, in areas such as fiscal and structural policy, tax administration, justice, financial sector reforms, land registry and privatisation.
The minister stated that these findings can form the basis for Eurogroup decisions related to the implementation of agreed Greek debt relief measures.