BUSINESS

Government aims for lower surplus targets as of 2020

EIRINI CHRYSOLORA, PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Economy, Interview

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras says that Greece has already started discussion with its European Union partners to reduce its primary budget surpluses as of 2020.

“The plan of the prime minister and his financial team is to build, step by step, all the necessary conditions to achieve the goal (to reduce the surplus) as of 2020,” Staikouras said in an interview to Kathimerini.

Greece, he said, will need to show that it is serious and committed, proceeding with the implementation of reform policies in the context of budgetary discipline.

“We are already discussing this crucial issue with our partners and lenders. Conditions are maturing to set more realistic goals,” Staikouras said.

As for next year’s tax plans, he said that the government is confident there will be enough fiscal space for their reduction in 2020 as long as the economy grows and there is a rapid return to normalcy, through the normalization of relations with international money and capital markets, the complete lifting of capital controls and more.

Moreover, he said that general government bodies must be fiscally disciplined and that realistic spending caps and oversight are adopted. He also stressed the need for less red tape through more electronic transactions, as well as the promotion of public-private partnerships and the proper implementation of the framework for private debt arrears.

“All this will be reflected in next year’s budget,” Staikouras said, adding that under the proper conditions, Greece will revert to investment grade before the end of 2020.

Furthermore, he noted that one of the government’s top priorities is the early repayment of the expensive portions of Greece’s loans from the International Monetary Fund, which amount to around 3 billion euros.

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