BUSINESS

Tsipras and Mitsotakis offer differing narratives on economy

TAGS: Finance, Politics

During his talks in Berlin on Wednesday New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged to reduce corporate taxation and ease the burden on Greek taxpayers, while Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was wrapping up a visit to London, did not rule out sidestepping the pensions cut next January.

Answering a question on the upcoming reduction of pensions while speaking to Bloomberg on Wednesday, Tsipras implied that anything is possible: “The government will decide, when the time comes, which is the optimum method in economic and social terms for the country, to achieve the [primary budget surplus] target of 3.5 percent” of gross domestic product.

“I’m very optimistic that the international investment community will respond positively,” Tsipras said, commenting on the decision of the Eurogroup last Friday, while Mitsotakis told German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz that while any solution on the Greek debt is necessary, it is not sufficient for the country to enter a growth course unless the healthy forces within and outside of Greece are mobilized for “an investment leap.”

In this and other meetings he attended in Berlin on Wednesday the Greek opposition leader explained his program in an effort to change the narrative for Greece: “The Eurogroup’s decision proves that Greece is a special case. The problem of the government should not become the problem of the country, which is emerging seriously injured, while it is still burdened by the aftermath of 2015,” he said.

“We need to change the narrative. We are not here to ask for loans, but for investment opportunities. We have not come here as beggars. We want German funds in Greece but there are no more loans involved,” he stressed.

Mitsotakis insisted on the need for the reduction of tax rates, noting that “no one I have spoken to about a change to the policy mix has raised an objection.” He added that Greece can generate growth momentum and that “any fiscal room that appears will be directed 80 percent toward tax reduction and 20 percent toward benefits,” while stressing that growth rates are also key for the sustainability of the national debt.

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