ND says pleased to hear SYRIZA will back lower primary surplus target


Greece’s conservative opposition party said on Thursday it was pleased to hear ruling SYRIZA will support New Democracy’s plan to seek a lower primary surplus target if elected in government late this year.

ND was commenting on remarks made by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos who spoke with US broadcaster CNBC on Wednesday. He said the current 3.5 percent surplus target is too high for a country that lost nearly 30 percent of its GDP during the eight-year economic crisis.

“New Democracy wants to thank Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos publicly,” the party said in a statement.

“Not so much for his self-evident prediction that SYRIZA will be defeated in the elections, but mainly for asserting that his party will support New Democracy's request for the reduction of the very high budget surpluses he signed off,” it added. "It is commendable for someone to acknowledge his mistakes, albeit rather late."

Speaking to CNBC, Tsakalotos said SYRIZA would not change its position simply because it will not longer be in power.

“I think there should be consensus across the political divide on this issue. I think the 3.5 percent is too high, especially for a country that lost 27 percent of its GDP,” he was quoted as saying.

“We wouldn’t change our position just because New Democracy was in power…if that was one of their main building blocks of what they wanted to do we would support them.”