ECONOMY

Paris backs Athens’ demands on fiscal space, bond earnings, migration costs

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Paris supports Athens’ demand from its creditors for more fiscal space to provide further relief to taxpayers, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told his Greek counterpart Christos Staikouras in Athens on Tuesday, during a meeting largely dominated by talks on the economic impact of the new coronavirus.

Responding to a question from the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), Le Maire said that Paris also “supports Greece at a Eurogroup level” for more fiscal space and its bid to use Greek bond yields (ANFAs and SMPs) for investment purposes.

He added that Athens’ demand for additional expenditures of around 280 million euros for dealing with refugees and migrants to be factored into calculating the primary surplus, is “perfectly fair… because Greece has been hit harder than other countries.”

Le Maire, who was in Athens following a meeting of the G20 in Riyadh, said that the global economic “landscape is changing” as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and the eurozone should consider steps to reduce its dependence China, which accounts for 80-85 percent of medicines and health services in the common currency area, according to the ANA-MPA.

For France in particular, Le Maire said that the impact is expected to be particularly hard on tourism as the country receives around 2.5 million Chinese tourists a year and on the supply of raw materials, especially for the car and pharmaceutical industries.