May figures show greater improvement

By Sotiris Nikas

Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras confirmed on Monday that the primary surplus of the general government’s budget for the first five months of the year reached 1.22 billion euros, against a primary deficit of 1.61 billion euros in the same period a year earlier and a 1.68-billion primary surplus in the first four months of 2014.

The data that the ministry published on Monday also showed a decline in the expired debts of the state to the private sector, most of which originate at social security funds: They owed 2.94 billion euros against 2.96 billion at the end of April.

In the year to end-May the expired debts (which also include pending tax rebates) amounted to 5.13 billion euros, down from 5.23 billion in the year to end-April. This is the first time since the start of this year that expired debts have shown a monthly decline, while in comparison with December 2013 the debts have grown by 489 million euros.

The government views the debts data as a particularly positive sign given that May was an election month but the state authorities functioned well enough to reduce the amount accumulated despite that.