The government appears confident that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ tour of European capitals got off to a promising start in Paris last week.
The fact that the French delegation during Mitsotakis’ talks with President Emmanuel Macron included Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire was seen in Athens as an indication of the importance Paris attaches to Athens.
Nonetheless, Mitsotakis refrained from publicly referring to his government’s ultimate aim of reducing the primary surplus target Greece must achieve in 2021.
He rather sought to make the case that his reform plan and tax cuts will not infringe on the surplus targets for 2019 and 2020.
Sources said he placed emphasis on the implementation of the government’s tax reduction program, the rapid activation of reforms to support growth, and the unblocking of investments.
In order to convince Greece’s partners to get on board with his reform plans, Mitsotakis’ main goal during his tour of foreign capitals is to bolster the country’s image as a pillar of stability in the wider region.
His trip to New York in September, where he may also meet United States President Donald Trump, is also seen as part of this effort.
It would be a huge boost for Greece if its partners consented to the government including the return of European central banks’ profits from their Greek bond holdings in the budget’s revenues. This would give the country a much needed fiscal boost amounting to 0.6 percent of gross domestic product and would count toward the 3.5 percent budget surplus.
As one source put it to Kathimerini, if this is combined with other types of savings of around the same amount, then around a third of the surplus will already have been achieved.
A government official said the goal to include the European banks’ profits from Greek bonds among the budget revenues will receive a huge boost if Berlin, which Mitsotakis will visit on Thursday, gives its consent.
He is scheduled to travel to the Netherlands after Berlin.