PM sets out plan to boost economy

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday presented the outlines of his plan for the economy, saying this would be based on fiscal consolidation and development. He said Greece would follow the example of Ireland. «Unlike our country, Ireland had the courage to to make great changes and reforms and managed to increase per-capita income from 84.1 percent of the EU average in 1994 to 120.6 percent in 2003,» Karamanlis told the Federation of Greek Industries’ general meeting. Per capita income in Greece last year was 72.9 percent of the EU average. Karamanlis stressed that Ireland had created a climate that was friendly toward entrepreneurship and creativity. He set out the basic elements of the new economic policy, which is to be applied from the coming autumn. It will be based on broad tax reform, with the tax for large companies being reduced to 25 percent and smaller ones to 20 percent. A new development law will be passed. Measures will be taken to improve the business climate, including less state intervention and a state that will follow rules and laws. «Our strategic aim is to strengthen development and increase competitiveness of important sectors of the economy. We are moving toward new, courageous privatizations,» Karamanlis said. «We are applying, on a case-by-case basis, all the methods of privatization: strategic partnerships, full privatization, share sales, cooperation between the private and public sectors and private funding for infrastructure projects,» he added.

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