Gov’t shifts focus to growth with series of regional conferences

Gov’t shifts focus to growth with series of regional conferences

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras plans this week to launch a government drive to transform the positive outcome of last month’s Eurogroup deal into benefits for the real economy, starting with the first of a series of regional growth conferences in Kozani, northern Greece. 

With fresh bailout funding in the bag – the Eurogroup is expected to disburse 7.7 billion euros on Monday – Greek authorities want to shift the narrative to one of growth.

The Kozani event on Monday and Tuesday is one of many the government is planning to assess the economic priorities of different regions as part of a broader goal to boost growth.

Tsipras has already briefed his cabinet and top aides on the need to focus on rebooting the economy, attracting new investments and nailing down existing ones, including the real estate project at the old Athens airport in Elliniko and the Kastelli airport on Crete, as well as several road construction projects.

“By the end of the year, we must have results that point to an increase in gross domestic product, an increase that must continue in 2018,” one government official said.

Securing a boost in GDP will be a pivotal achievement for Tsipras’s administration as it will confirm the economy’s emergence from the crisis and pave the way for Greece’s return to the markets.

Tsipras’s office is planning a public relations drive to boost the government’s image as an active force. “We must make more interventions,  we must not hide,” a source said.

Meanwhile, the country’s creditors are mulling what form of supervision Greece should remain under once its third bailout expires in the summer of 2018, Kathimerini understands.

According to sources, foreign auditors are keen to ensure that Greece continues on the path of reform after the end of the program and are seeking ways to oblige it do so.

One possible method said to be under consideration is linking debt relief to the implementation of economic reforms.

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