The global economy is growing for the fifth consecutive year, something which is reflected by developments in international as well as Greek shipping, which represents one of the largest fleets in the world, said Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis yesterday, addressing the 17th conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists. Alogoskoufis went on to speak of the considerable progress made by the Greek economy in the last three years and particularly the strengthening of growth, the rehabilitation of public finances, the improvement of competitiveness, the rise in exports, the drop in unemployment and the bolstering of social cohesion. He added that Greece’s robust economic performance confirms the effectiveness of the government’s economic policy and program of reforms. Referring to Greece’s geopolitical position in Southeast Europe, Alogoskoufis noted that it is one of the country’s strategic advantages. Southeast Europe, he said, has the potential to become the economic miracle of Europe in the next 15-20 years, adding that Greek enterprises contribute significantly to the growth of the region’s economies. Greece, said the minister, has entered an era of economic and social progress, with a dynamic economy and a central role in developments across the broader region. «We are determined to continue our reform program for the further strengthening of growth, employment and social cohesion,» he pledged.