NEWS

Plans to save up to 7.5 billion

Greece’s main economic aim over the next few years will be to accelerate growth, while at the same time saving up to 7.5 billion euros through spending cuts and a crackdown on tax evasion, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said yesterday. Speaking at the annual conference of the state of the economy, organized by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Karamanlis complained that his two-month-old government had found the economy in an unenviable state. He said the general government deficit for 2003 was nearly double the figure given by the previous, Socialist administration, inflation remained much higher than the eurozone average, while the public debt and unemployment were high. However, Karamanlis said his government intends to save between 6.5 and 7.5 billion euros over the next four years – about 1.5 percent of GDP annually – through spending cuts, faster growth and more efficient tax policies. He promised to channel these funds toward social policies.