ECONOMY

A reform strategy for growth

The government is to announce today a series of reform guidelines that will boost income and create employment, according to Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. The National Reform Program applies the European Union’s Lisbon Strategy to the Greek economy. The program’s three main axes and actions are as follows: Macroeconomic guidelines Ensure economic stability as a basis for sustainable growth. – Ensure economic and fiscal viability as a basis for increased employment. – Effective distribution of appropriations, with emphasis on development and employment. – Ensure that pay rises will contribute to macroeconomic stability and growth (i.e. pay rises will be low). – Greater convergence among macroeconomic, structural and employment policies. – Contribute to a dynamic, functional European Monetary Union. Microeconomic guidelines Increase, both in quantity and quality, investment in research and development, especially by the private sector. – Encourage all forms of innovation. – Facilitate the diffusion and effectiveness of information and communications technologies and build a full-fledged information society. – Build on the relative strengths of the industrial sector. – Encourage sustainable resource management and boost synergies between environmental protection and development. – Expand and deepen the domestic market. – Ensure open and competitive markets both within and outside Europe and take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalization. – Create a more competitive business environment and encourage private initiatives by improving regulations. – Promote a business-friendly culture and create a supportive environment for small and medium enterprises. – Expand, improve and integrate European infrastructure and complete the priority transborder projects. Employment guidelines Apply employment policies aimed at full employment, improvements in work quality and productivity and greater social and regional cohesion (i.e. reduction in individual and regional income disparities). – Promote lifetime employment. – Ensure greater access to job markets and more attractive and remunerative forms of employment for job-seekers, including the disadvantaged and those currently excluded from the job market. – Improve response to the needs of the job market. – Promote flexibility in combination with job security and reduce job market fragmentation (i.e. provide people with the skills to switch jobs more easily). – Regulate labor costs and wage-setting in ways that promote employment. – Expand and improve investment in human capital. – Adopt education and training systems compatible with market needs.