Industrialists agree with PM’s plans

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Greek industrialists agreed at a meeting yesterday that, in the wake of the Olympics, the economy needs a period of steady transition and not harsh financial measures. After the meeting, the president of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, declared himself pleased with the outcome of talks and stated that Greece had an historic opportunity to maintain the outgoing economic climate created in the country during the successful Athens Games. «The economy demands logical moves which will make our country more competitive and more attractive. The eradication of bureaucracy and waste, limits on expenditure and order in the public sector are priorities,» said Kyriakopoulos. He added the government would need to come up with incentives to generate foreign investment in Greece. Kyriakopoulos said he did not discuss the social security problem with Karamanlis and admitted it did not seem to be one of the government’s priorities at the moment. Other specific economic issues such as working hours, overtime and petrol prices were not mentioned during the meeting either. Karamanlis was meeting with the industrialists yesterday as part of his program before making a keynote speech on the future of the Greek economy at the Thessaloniki International Fair next weekend. He also met with heads of the country’s two largest unions – the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the civil servants’ federation ADEDY on Thursday. There are unlikely to be any surprises in Karamanlis’s Thessaloniki speech. He will announce that the government’s economic policy aims to reduce the public deficit to 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product while achieving New Democracy’s pledges such as giving civil servants pay rises above inflation and introducing no new taxes. He will also give emphasis to the need for development in the countryside and a privatization program worth 1.6 billion euros. Karamanlis also met with former Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis, who declared the state of the Greek economy «very poor.»

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