ECONOMY

Reforms, trust can bring rebound

The recovery of the country?s economy will be ?very difficult,? the head of the European Commission?s Task Force for Greece, Horst Reichenbach, said on Tuesday, but both he and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis expressed belief that the implementation of the necessary reforms and restoring the markets? confidence in the country could improve the situation considerably.

After meeting with Hatzidakis in Athens, Reichenbach said that the situation is ?critical? and that he ?eagerly? anticipates his cooperation with the new Greek government, which is displaying determination in promoting the necessary reforms.

It is those reforms, in addition to competent fiscal management and the speedy return of value-added tax to export companies, that should be Athens?s priority in order for cash flow to improve in Greece, Reichenbach stated.

The German official insisted that growth and jobs will come through improving exports, simplifying business start-up procedures, reforming the job market and cutting red tape. He further announced that a group of Dutch experts will be arriving in Athens within the month to provide technical advice regarding the promotion of exports.

Hatzidakis addressed The Economist Conference in Athens on behalf of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is recovering from eye surgery, saying that Greece may ask for the Brussels agreement of last week that excludes recapitalization funds for Spanish and Italian banks from state debts to apply to Greece, too: ?I believe that at a later stage we can ask for a revision of the funds given to our banking system as well,? he said.

He went on to detail the four pillars of government policy: The first is for Greece to regain the confidence of the markets, he said, stressing that ?we must safeguard the climate of cooperation and joint effort expressed through the three parties? support for the government.?

The other pillars are improving liquidity via the recapitalization of banks and the payment of state debts to private parties, the privatization process and boosting the efficiency of the public sector.