Alogoskoufis tables bold budget plan

The government yesterday tabled in Parliament its 2009 draft budget, which foresees a slowdown in growth to 3 percent from this year’s 3.4 percent as the turmoil in global financial markets persists. Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis stressed however that the Greek banking system is «completely safe and solvent» and that citizens’ bank deposits would be guaranteed up to the amount of 20,000 euros. «The government has undertaken the commitment to guarantee citizens’ deposits,» Alogoskoufis said, underlining that this pledge was «explicit and clear.» The minister added that Greece would reduce its deficit to 1.8 percent from a revised figure of 2.3 percent this year. According to the plan unveiled yesterday, inflation next year is seen reaching 3.2 percent, down from a projected 4.5 percent this year. Alogoskoufis said the budget plan had taken into account «the impacts of the unprecedented global credit crisis, the international surge in inflation and economic slowdown and Greece’s eurozone obligations.» But he expressed his conviction that Greece’s economy was withstanding the impact of the global financial crisis better than most other European Union member states.