NEWS

Gentiloni tells Mitsotakis he backs start of talks on reducing primary surplus targets

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European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said on Thursday he agreed that it is time to start talks on reducing Greece’s large primary surplus target, during a meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens.

“I believe that the European Commission is certainly supportive of the start of this discussion. The decision will be taken by the Eurogroup, but as long as Greece maintains this momentum in reforms – you have very positive economic figures overall – and I believe that with this momentum the discussion on these goals can be reopened and the European Commission will be supportive,” he told the premier.

Mitsotakis noted that his government is “fully committed” to an ambitious reform agenda and has been “fully credible in meeting the budgetary targets” and made progress in the last seven months.

"But during the year, soon and without delay, we expect that a discussion will begin on reducing primary surplus targets as of 2021. I believe this is perfectly reasonable and I am pleased that you have acknowledged this and we are ready to begin this discussion,” he added.

According to government sources, the two officials also discussed the state of the Greek economy and its prospects.

The same sources reported that positive developments were also noted in the fiscal area, reflected in the reception of Greek securities in international markets, the country's credit ratings and historically low interest rates on Greek bonds.

Mitsotakis reiterated to the European Commissioner a number of Greek priority issues in fiscal policy and structural reforms.

In addition, in the context of the Green Deal announced last December, they discussed actions to be taken by the European Commission to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by 2030 and the key objective of climate neutrality by 2050.

Mitsotakis reiterated Greece's commitment to work towards a "greener economy" within the agreed global and European levels and stressed the importance of adequate funding for a fair transition of coal and lignite areas in Europe and Greece, the same sources said.