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PM George Papandreou at the World Economic Forum

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Speaking as part of a panel – that also included Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet – at the annual World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland (January 27 -31), Prime Minister George Papandreou said that Greece would not leave the euro area and would use the discipline of membership to slash its budget deficit and make long-delayed structural economic reforms. “The answer is very simple. We went [to the market] for borrowing two days ago and we were five times oversubscribed. We’re not looking for money from anywhere else…” said Papandreou. He outlined an ambitious goal to reduce the deficit by four points this year and bring it below 3% by 2012, through measures taken as part of Greece’s Stability and Growth Programme (SGP)
The premier held a meeting with EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia yesterday, and the discussion focused on Greece’s SGP in light of the report that the European Commission will be submitting on February 3, on Greece. 
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso – speaking in Brussels on Thursday – stressed the need for the greater coordination of economic policies in the EU, emphasising that economic policies are not only a national issue, but European as well. Referring to Greece specifically, he expressed the conviction that the Greek government must be supported in its effort to fulfil its commitments in the framework of the SGP. 
See world reports – BBC.co.uk: Davos 2010: Greece denies a bail-out is needed; Reuters.com: Greece says being targeted as euro zone “weak link”
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European Central Bank on Greek Economy

european-central-bank3(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Addressing the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet predicted that “after two difficult years such as 2008 and 2009, 2010 will be the year of EU’s return to growth.”  Referring to the , Trichet pointed out that all parties comprising the eurozone should live up to their responsibilities adding that it is crucial to maintain discipline in macroeconomic policy-making. He further underlined the necessity to address structural inefficiencies leading to adverse implications in each country, including Greece. Commenting on the euro’s resilience, Trichet stressed that current monetary trends in all currencies are causing apprehension and it is not unusual for countries in the eurozone to diverge in terms of their economic indexes. A similar situation is reported among states in the USA. Earlier this week, European Commissioner responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Joaquin Almunia, dismissed concerns over the recourse to external supervising institutions. Visit the Statistical Press Releases issued by the European Central Bank

Positive Growth for Greece at Negative Conjuncture

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The European Commission (EC) on Monday released its interim forecasts on European economies for up to 2010, anticipating recession in the Union with an increase in deficits, but also a reduction in inflation. Specifically for Greece, the country will be one of the five within the eurozone to demonstrate marginal growth, while at the same time negative growth rates are foreseen for 11 of the 16 eurozone members and for 18 of the 27 EU member states. The Commission noted that deficits above the 3.0% limit are anticipated this year in 9 of the 16 eurozone members and 15 of the 27 EU member states. According to the Commission, Greece’s fiscal deficit will increase from 3.4% points of GDP in 2008 to 3.7% in 2009 and 4.2% in 2010, taking into consideration, however, that the basic guidelines of the draft 2010 state budget have not yet been released. Regarding Greece’s fiscal deficit, it will climb from 3.4% points of GDP in 2008 to 3.7% in 2009 and 4.2% in 2010, taking into consideration, however, that the basic guidelines of the draft 2010 state budget have not yet been released. The Commission noted that deficits above the 3.0% limit are anticipated this year in 9 of the 16 eurozone members and 15 of the 27 EU member states. Concerning unemployment, the rate stood at 8.3% in 2008 (compared with a eurozone average of 7.5% and EU average of 7 percent), while it is expected to rise to 9% in 2009 (against 9.3% in the eurozone and 8.7% in the EU). With regard to performance in the eurozone, European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia stressed that there will be no break-up of the eurozone. Following a meeting with Minister of Economy and Finance Yiannis Papathanassiou today, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the eurozone group stated that “Greece is not the only country with an excessive deficit” and added that “we will handle Greece, the way we handle all other member states with respective problems”. In related predictions, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its semi-annual “Economic Outlook” (November 2008) forecasts that the Greek economy’s growth rate will be gradually stabilised in the second quarter of 2009, after staying at feeble levels during the first six months of next year. Meanwhile, in its “World Economic Outlook“, released in October 2008, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) foresaw growth in Greece at 2%. Athens News Agency: EU Commission report on Greece European Commission: Economic and Financial Affairs- EU interim forecasts for 2009-2010- Greece (December 2007)  (p.26) 

FinMin on Forecast

After meeting with EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in Brussels yesterday, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said the government’s economic priorities would focus
-on fiscal adjustment,
-support of the real economy
-support of the social groups hardest hit by the downturn
“We believe that with the policies we follow, we will have positive results and achieve better performance than the Commission has forecast for Greece,” he said. Next week, the finance ministry is expected to submit to Brussels its updated Stability and Growth Programme, in which it will lower its GDP growth target for 2009 from 2.7% currently. Kathimerini daily: Beating grim Brussels forecasts Ministry of Economy and Finance: The 2007 Update of the Hellenic Stability & Growth Programme 2007 – 2010