ECONOMY

OECD lauds fiscal efforts

Visiting new secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Angel Gurria had some good things to say about the Greek economy yesterday, but he also had some words of warning over the country’s social security system and the state of the labor market. At a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, Gurria commended the government for its handling of fiscal consolidation, which he said was necessary and the best solution for the long term. He noted that Greece has a high jobless rate among young people, three times as high as in the rest of the European Union. Gurria recommended that reforms focus on three sectors: pensions, the health system and incentives for reducing unemployment. «The solutions must be immediate… any delay means higher costs for both the economy and society,» he said. The OECD, he commented, is willing to support all reform drives and he added that his recommendations are not confined to Greece. Alogoskoufis said the government is awaiting with interest the OECD’s report on the Greek economy, particularly what it has to say about pension reform, on which there will be initiatives after the next election. He cautioned that in no case should Greece’s cooperation with the OECD be construed as meaning that solutions are dictated to Greece. Gurria also met with the president of the Federation of Greek Industries, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, who said that educational reform is the main challenge facing Greece at the moment.