ECONOMY

Focus on new jobs and exports

focus-on-new-jobs-and-exports

The government is set to take another step toward supporting employment, not only by helping protect existing jobs but also by subsidizing the creation of new ones.

The plan, which was briefly outlined in Parliament on Friday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, will be implemented, according to sources, through a new program that will subsidize the social security contributions of employers for enterprises that not only avoid layoffs but also make hirings. This will be established by comparing the existing number of employees with numbers at the end of 2019.

The government views employment as the country’s main challenge right now, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, beyond the problems created by the health crisis, the prime minister and the Finance Ministry are preparing for the next stage too, which concern the rebound of the country with the help of the resources from the Next Generation EU program. This will be one of the topics of discussion at the European Union summit next week, on July 17-18. It will be preceded by an informal meeting of finance ministers this Friday.

The first step for the utilization of the European package – expected to reach up to 32 billion euros – is anticipated this week with the submission of the first blueprint by the experts committee chaired by Nobel Laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides. The plan will be fleshed out in September, but the main parameters will be presented immediately, aimed at changing the country’s production model.

The focus of that model, sources note, will be to bolster the economy’s extroverted character. “Everything must boil down to that. We cannot continue at this level of exports,” notes a committee member. Increasing Greece’s exports will require investments, an area where Greece has lagged dramatically in recent years – that will be one of the points the committee’s report will bring up.

Greece’s digital transformation and green growth will form two more of the key areas outlines in the Greek proposals on how the country would utilize the €32 billion, while the committee’s blueprint is also expected to stress the significance of reforms of various kinds.