Most of this year’s budget surplus comes at the expense of the unemployed, retirees who have not received their pensions yet and unrealized investments.
The Labor Ministry has failed this year to create any employment programs that could absorb the budget’s credit for this purpose, meaning that some 220 million euros destined for combating unemployment will remain as surplus.
Furthermore, although the draft budget for 2018 provides for the full implementation of this year’s Public Investments Program by end-December 2017, performance to date shows that this is unlikely. By end-August the program’s investment had come to 1.58 billion euros when it is supposed to reach 6.75 billion euros by year’s end. That should add more money to the surplus.
As for the “miracle” surplus of 1.9 billion euros from the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA), this is due to delays in distributing 300,000 main and auxiliary pensions and retirement lump sums. If Athens fulfills its bailout pledge to clear all these applications, the “miracle” will not be able to be repeated next year, when new austerity measures of 1.86 billion euros are to be implemented.