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.