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Pissarides: Greece should be California of Europe

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Greece must “become the California of Europe,” insists Cypriot Nobel Laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides, chairman of the committee of experts which delivered its report last week to the government for the country’s long-term growth strategy.

To this end, the prospective sectors of the economy that must be developed should include, apart from tourism, agri-food, technology and manufacturing, he told Kathimerini in a joint interview with the committee’s co-chairman professor, Nikos Vettas, during which they highlighted the priorities set by their report on the Greek economy, acknowledging however difficulties in implementation.

They argue that wage labor is overburdened and should be eased, a notion which is at the heart of their tax proposals.

In addition, they are in favor of uniform income taxation.

Regarding the social insurance system, they propose a gradual transition to a new system, with a capitalist pillar in a secondary role.

Vettas defends the capitalist pillar, emphasizing that it will strengthen intergenerational justice, “as new employees will not be burdened more and more.”

Otherwise, they argued, how will future pensions be financed by generations of workers who will be more and more burdened?

What’s more, there will be fewer people to contribute due to Greece’s downward demographic trend. 

Furthermore, according to Pissarides, “unemployment will be a central problem,” and he emphasized that specific actions are needed to support jobs, which, among other things, concern training and education.

Their report will be finalized in September and will be a fundamental part of the National Development Plan, which will be submitted to Brussels, with a view to funding from the European Union’s 32-billion-euro package.