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Finance Minister on Greek Economy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The new government “will do what is required to be consistent with the need for a medium-term reduction of the budget deficit,” Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou stated, after a downgrade in Greece’s credit rating by Fitch rating agency.
He also dubbed unrealistic the scenario of Greece resorting to the assistance of the International Monetary Fund.

Giving an interview about the issue yesterday on CNN , Papaconstantinou stressed that “the government is putting together very quickly a number of initiatives and measures to reassure the markets and our European partners that we are serious about reducing the deficit […].”
“There is a movement on all reforms fronts,” something that will restore Greece’s credibility.
Kathimerini daily: Fitch rating downgrade upsets markets

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Greece in ECOFIN: Adding Numbers Up

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Minister of Finance George Papaconstantinou participated at the European Council Economic and Financial Affairs meeting in Luxemburg (October 19-20).  The minister acknowledged that the budget deficit for 2009 will creep up to 12.5% of GDP, a figure which has been also confirmed by the Bank of Greece.  One third of this significant increase can be attributed to the economic crisis – GDP contracted by 1.5%, investment dropped by 20%, tourism by 15% and shipping revenue by 20%.  The rest can be equally attributed to expenditure excesses, as well as the revision of the way by which the deficit is measured.  Papaconstantinou is ready to negotiate a three-year extension for deficit curbing with the possibility of a further one-year extension.  “The first step is to decrease the deficit to a single digit figure” for 2010, said the minister. The government has pledged to present the Commission with a revised three-year Stability and Growth Programme (2008-2011).Thirteen out of sixteen countries of the eurozone will be put under EU deficit supervision. The European Commission estimates that public finances for all eurozone members will begin to recover by 2011 at the latest.  European Commission: Driving the European Recovery 

Greece: Economy & Finance

» BoG Governor on Budget Deficit

The strong parliamentary majority of the new government will enable it to move ahead with much needed reforms in the economy combined with a growth agenda, Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos said  October 6.  Speaking on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Istanbul, Provopoulos also warned that the budget deficit will be considerably higher than 6%, possibly reaching 10% of the GDP for 2009. Brussels is expected to publish its own estimates on the Greek budget and economy in the Commission’s fall report on November 3.  Kathimerini daily: Deficit seen above 10pct mark

» Investing in Gold

European Goldfields, a Canada-based resource company involved in the exploration, acquisition, mining, and development of mineral properties in Greece, Romania and South-East Europe, has won preliminary approval to develop two projects in the Olympias and Skouries mines, in northeastern Greece. It is expected that an output of 420,000 ounces of gold from 2012 onwards, will double current European gold production.  Kathimerini daily: Gold mine projects move ahead

Greek Government to Deregulate “Closed Professions”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The government is to bring national legislation in line with European Union directives in what concerns the deregulation of the service industry and the opening up of the so-called closed professions to competitive conditions, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou announced yesterday after a meeting of the inter-ministerial committee for the economy chaired by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. Papathanassiou stressed that this is a very important reform, which when fully implemented could lead to lower consumer prices and improve the competitiveness of the Greek economy, contributing to economic growth and higher employment. He also said that more changes to closed professions, which are not included in this draft bill will follow after further studies and dialogue.”

Greece: Tax Pacage to Curb Budget Deficit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou announced on June 25 a €1,9 billion package of new tax measures, in an effort to boost state revenues and reduce public deficit. The package includes higher taxes on fuel, mobile phones, lottery earnings, cars with more than 2-litre engines and recreational boats over 10 metres in length. Another €1 billion in revenues is expected from legalizing unauthorised home construction. Papathanasiou stressed that the government remains committed to the goals of reducing the fiscal deficit to 3.7 pct of GDP this year, creating initial conditions for limiting public debt and preserving the credibility of the Greek economy. The Greek minister added that a battle to combat tax evasion and cutting public spending would continue.  Kathimerini daily: Gov’t seeks 2 bln euros in new taxes

Greek Finance Minister: Economic Prospects

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The next two years will be a period of intense reform, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said on Monday (25.5), addressing an Economist conference in Athens. He also stressed that the growth model that helped Greece enjoy strong rates so far, must be adjusted to modern demands and expressed the government’s determination to improve the country’s competitiveness by taking measures to support innovation, reduce bureaucracy, promote alternative energy sources, and attract big foreign investments. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published yesterday (25.5) its annual report on the Greek economy, according to which the economy is expected to shrink by up to 2% this year with recovery beginning late in 2010. The IMF also recommended sweeping changes to tax regulations, continuing wage moderation and social security reforms.  Commenting on the IMF report, Papathanassiou said that “the Government is studying and carefully evaluating all the reports by international organisations pertaining to our country, even when it happens to disagree with certain estimates and predictions. In any case, it is clear that the next two years will determine the outcome of many significant issues for Greece’s present and future.”  Ministry of Economy and Finance: Speech by minister Papathanassiou at the Economist conference (in Greek); Kathimerini daily: IMF sees better days in late 2010

Onassis Prize in Finance

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The recipient of the Onassis Prize in Finance is Professor Eugene Fama from Chicago University’s Graduate School of Business. Professor Fama was honoured for his lifetime contribution to finance academia. In his speech delivered for the occasion at a ceremony held at the Guildhall in the City of London on April 27, Fama referred to the global economic crisis stressing that it has not yet ended and that it is advisable for markets to be left free to adjust, away from government interventionism. The Onassis Prize, sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, is awarded biennially and recognises a lifetime contribution by a leading academic in each of the areas of shipping, trade and finance.  The winner receives prize money of $250,000. Addressing the ceremony which attracted some 700 distinguished guests from across the world, President of the Board of Directors, Anthony S. Papadimitriou stated his enthusiasm for the international recognition for a valuable institution such as the Onassis International Prizes.