Growth plan to offset austerity

Prime Minister George Papandreou is planning to draft an «alternative» memorandum outlining positive reforms aimed at boosting growth and improving public services as a counterbalance to the harsh measures set out in the austerity program agreed to by his debt-ridden government with its international creditors. According to sources, Papandreou has asked all his ministers to submit a list of five priorities for 2011 by tomorrow. The premier aims to discuss these proposals with each of his ministers individually before chairing a Cabinet meeting that will draft a «national plan» for 2011 or – as some sources have described it – an «alternative memorandum.» Unlike the memorandum signed by Greece and its creditors – the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – the new plan would seek to introduce changes that would boost the quality of life for citizens rather than compromising it. Some of the changes envisaged are the reform of Greece’s electoral law, the computerization of files at state hospitals, the reform of the state education system and the launch of projects aimed at boosting competitiveness and providing support for the unemployed. Addressing a meeting of select ministers yesterday, Papandreou said his aim was to implement the plan alongside structural reforms that the government has pledged to undertake as part of a broader plan to revive the beleaguered economy.