BRUSSELS – Even while the COVID-19 pandemic is getting worse, the European Commission said Greece’s economy is expected to grow 7.1 percent in 2021, revising its first estimate of 4.3 percent, while the New Democracy government put it at 6.1 percent.
Prime Minister Kyriakis Mitsotakis is sticking with focusing on a recovery rather than bringing more lockdowns or tougher measures – except for the unvaccinated – and is going full steam ahead with seeking revenues and foreign investment.
For 2022, the EU expects Greece to show a 5.2% growth rate (down from 6% previously), while in 2023 the forecast was for 3.6 percent growth, accelerating a return after lockdowns shut down non-essential businesses for months.
EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni spoke of a “strong recovery” that will continue in 2022, and made special reference to the “very positive prospects” for private consumption and investments, as well as the “very good” performance of tourism, reported Kathimerini.
Greece was the first in the EU to open to tourists this summer, a gambit that paid off for the economy although it complicated dealing with the pandemic that has resurged with record numbers of cases, hospitalizations, deaths and patients in public hospital Intensive Care (ICU) units.
An EU official not named told the paper that second-quarter growth data “point to the strengthening of the recovery,” and that it is expected to continue the rest of the year although the impact of the Coronavirus’s hold isn’t known.
As for 2022, the official said that the Recovery and Resilience Facility, known as the Greece 2.0 program, “will contribute considerably to growth.” The total forecast for growth in 2021 and 2022 is above the summer estimates, he noted.
Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the fall forecasts “confirm the correctness and efficiency of the economic policy exercised in our country.”
The Greek economy, the minister noted, “is rebounding strongly and growing in sustainable fashion, investment and exports are expanding significantly, unemployment is shrinking, the cash reserves remain at safe levels and fiscal management is responsible.”