Stournaras: Greece to need no extension to its program

The Greek privatizations program was the focus of a meeting between Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and his French counterpart Pierre Moscovici in Paris on Thursday.

Stournaras made it clear that Greece does not need a time extension to its fiscal adjustment for now and reiterated that the country’s economy will post a small growth rate in 2014 despite a forecast by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for an economic contraction of 1.2 percent.

“Our forecasts are better because they respond more effectively to recent developments,” said the minister. “[Forecast] models are models, there can be no certainty in them. But according to our own forecasts we will have moderate growth next year.”

He said his meeting with Moscovici had been “very good” and stated that their discussion centered on “issues that concern the Greek economy such as privatizations and other general matters.” French companies are reportedly very interested in Greek sell-offs, especially regional airports, rail service operator TRAINOSE, highways, the Horse Racing Organization (ODIE) and the water and irrigation networks.

However, the privatizations program appears to be facing significant problems as far as the selling of state real estate properties is concerned. The legal status of the properties managed by the state privatization fund (TAIPED) is seriously problematic, as some have no town-planning permits while several have major discrepancies in their various official documents.

“Olympic Games projects have no permits, the Peace and Friendship Stadium is illegal, the baseball ground is illegal and so on,” the head of TAIPED, Stelios Stavridis, stated on Thursday. The procedures for the legalization of the properties with insufficient documents could TAIPED cost two to four months apiece, he added, attributing the problems of the fund to shortcomings in the state mechanism.