ECONOMY

Commission proposes 10 ways to reduce high Greek debt and combat persistent unemployment

The next meeting of European finance ministers (Ecofin), in Brussels on May 14, will also deal with Greece’s high debt level. Greece is the European Union’s third most indebted country, after Belgium and Italy, with the other two closing fast and threatening to leave Greece in the top spot. In all three countries, debt exceeds 100 percent of their respective gross domestic product. The European Commission has made a series of suggestions recently about Greece’s debt and high unemployment. The 10 main suggestions include: a high level of primary surpluses each year; better monitoring of inelastic spending, such as public sector wages; better distribution of spending in order to boost profitability and create jobs; further reforms in the pension system to avoid the ill effects of an aging population; more spending on research and technology dissemination to increase the number of skilled employees; opening up the energy sector; simplifying the tax system; providing more incentives for jobless and older people to work; changes in collective bargaining so that pay rises reflect gains in productivity and making the labor market more flexible by abolishing a number of restrictive regulations on hirings and the duration of work.