Economy cannot always rely on good global climate, says former SEV head

The Greek economy is making the most of a positive international climate but must strengthen further to avoid the risk of a slump if the global situation changes, said the former president of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), Odysseas Kyriakopoulos. «The conjunction is good, and so we are going well, too. That is the reality for the Greek economy,» he said on the fringes of an event in Thessaloniki on Wednesday night. «But the economy will re-enter a challenging period once the long positive course of the global economy ends,» he warned. Kyriakopoulos also stressed the need for the economy to grow stronger and to increase its competitiveness, particularly in the domains where it lags. «Fiscal rehabilitation and stopping the rise of the national debt will allow Greece to look forward to a better future and make it strong ahead of new challenges, such as the social security problem, the aging of the population and the intense international competition. We are today at the limit and we cannot have any further problems,» he argued. He then surprisingly spoke of benefits gained from the monitoring of state finances by the European Commission, which has just ended, suggesting that it «was an instrument for our discipline, as we are unable to discipline ourselves.» Kyriakopoulos’s remark appeared to contradict statements he had made in October 2004, when he attacked the government for the way it had conducted the auditing of state finances, as it led to the excessive deficit procedure by the European Union. At the time, he even claimed that the government’s handling of the fiscal audit deprived Greece of the prestige it had acquired from a successful hosting of the Olympic Games the summer before. On Wednesday, he concluded, saying that the state remains «bloated and huge,» public services employ excessive staff that are paid for by Greek taxpayers, and that the deficits in many areas continue, while there is no satisfactory reduction in the country’s external borrowing.

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