Expectations of a Christmas handout were dashed on Friday by Deputy Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis in an interview on Skai TV. It followed an assurance by a government official on the fringes of Thursday’s Eurogroup that the distribution of a “social dividend” was being discussed with the country’s creditors and would not take them by surprise.
Skylakakis said that plans for a large handout have been abandoned, as was evident from what minister Christos Staikouras had said last week. Skylakakis said that no great primary surplus overrun is anticipated, and that part of it will be maintained as a safety cushion anyway.
“There is no 4 percent, that’s finished,” the deputy minister stated, asked whether this year’s primary surplus would close at 3.5 percent of gross domestic product or climb to 4 percent. “The government’s policy is that we will not produce any excessive surpluses,” he stated.
The motto of the State General Accounting Office is “First we count and then we speak,” said Skylakakis, adding that if there is any fiscal space it will be utilized according to what the prime minister says, reiterating that the fiscal leeway for Christmas was spent in May, by the previous government.