Ομιλία του Υπουργού Οικονομικών – 9th Greek Investment Forum (video) | 15.6.2020

Σε σταδιακή μείωση της φορολογίας και κυρίως των εισφορών θα προχωρήσει η κυβέρνηση, την επόμενη ημέρα της κρίσης,  ανέφερε ο υπουργός Οικονομικών Χρήστος Σταϊκούρας, μιλώντας στο 9ο Ελληνικό Φόρουμ Επενδύσεων.

 

Speech by the Minister of Finance of the Hellenic Republic

Mr. Christos Staikouras 9th Greek Investment Forum

Virtual briefing Session

“Greece: Investment Opportunities in the Post Covid-19 Era”

15/6/2020

The Greek economy entered 2020 on a sound footing, with promising perspectives.

Unfortunately, this course came to a halt due to the coronavirus crisis, a symmetric shock, globally.

Since its beginning, the Government has adopted a comprehensive, realistic and dynamic package of policy measures to support public health, employment, business liquidity and social cohesion.

During the lockdown period, we supported the Public Healthcare System and we spread a wide “safety net” over households and enterprises.

In the current phase, covering the gradual restart of the economic activity, we continue to support employees and employers, by expanding employment support measures, boosting business liquidity and implementing targeted measures for sectors more severely affected by the crisis.

Ιn the next phase, as the recovery starts, we will have opportunities to launch policies with permanent characteristics, building on the hardly won fiscal credibility and enhancing, through the implementation of growth-friendly structural reforms, its productivity and structural competitiveness.

As a conclusion, the Eurogroup, “commended the Greek authorities for the quick and decisive policy response in taking the necessary economic and fiscal support measures.

This conclusion was underpinned by five events over the previous couple of weeks:

First of all, the successful issuance of a 10-year GGB, with an interest rate similar to that of the previous October, half of that a year ago.

This constitutes a vote of confidence from the markets.

Second, a significantly lower – than the euro area average – contraction of the Greek economy in the 1st quarter of 2020.

Third, a significantly lower – than the euro area average – decline in the Economic Sentiment Indicator.

Fourth, the completion of the process from one systematic bank in order to implement the “Hercules” scheme.

While deposits in the banking sector continue to increase.

And finally, the successful completion of the 6th Enhanced Surveillance Report.

The 3th consecutive positive Report in less than a year.

All the above confirm that we are moving on the right direction.

The total cost of the measures is estimated at 24 billion euros, and may increase, depending on the development in the Covid-19 crisis, as well as on the available financial and fiscal space of the country.

A crucial question you set is how we will capture thesefinancing needs.

We have ensured “fuels” to implement this coherent strategy.

▪ We manage domestic cash resources of the General Government and its entities with prudence.
▪ We successfully borrow from the markets, either GGBs or TBs.
▪ We execute the Budget in a satisfactory way.
▪ We are ready to use, to the best of our ability and at the right time, the existing European financial instruments, like the SURE program and the pan-European EIB guarantee fund.
▪ And finally, we support the ambitious proposal of the European Commission to create a new recovery instrument, the next GenerationEU.

This proposal is sufficiently ambitious and at the same time flexiblerealistic and in line with the challenges we are facing.

It is rational, fair and growth-friendly, since:

▪ it is mainly based on grants rather than loans,
▪ it gives every member-state the opportunity to draw its national strategy,
▪ it includes common borrowing and
▪ it emphasizes on sectors that are important for Europe’s future, such as digital transformation, green development and rural policy. These priorities are also part of our national reform agenda and our growth strategy.

What is now important is to reach an agreement concerning the final form of the new instrument soon, based on the Commission’s proposal, in a spirit of solidarity, recognizing the strong economic interdependence between EU member-states. We have to do our best in order to put aside differences and disputes, to make funds available the soonest possible and to make the best use of them in order to reset our economies and become stronger and more productive.

Taking into account all these issues, according to the preliminary estimates of the Stability Program, the Greek economy is expected to shrink significantly.

While the uncertainty, globally, continues to be high.

However, equally important or even more important, is thecomposition of growth. We need to enhance the quality of the domestic product.

Greece faced, more many years, a significant investment gap.

We have to close it, and this priority is a bigger necessity nowadays.

In this direction we are setting forth two, interrelated, objectives.

The first is how we will close the negative output gap, safeguarding, at the same time, responsible public finances.

And the second, how we will improve the economy’s supply side, i.e. its productive capacity, in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive high growth rateswith a high level of social cohesion, addressing also demographic challenges.

To achieve these objectives, we have ambitious plans for the period ahead.

Just to pick up some of them:

1stImplementation of a prudent fiscal policy, incorporating the gradual reduction of tax rates and, mainly, of social contributions.

2nd. A new Insolvency Code, with several safeguards to filter strategic defaulters, in order to tackle the high private debt.

3rdImplementation of the Asset Development Plan.

Despite the adverse market conditions, significant progress has been made in the privatization process of DEPAPort Authorities and Alimos Marina, as well as in the legal backdrop for land partition and demolition of buildings concerning the Hellenikon project.

4th. The ongoing digital transformation of the public sector, which, inter alia, will serve to further ease the administrative burden for households and enterprises.

5th. Continuous implementation of the Government’s reform agenda, introducing 25 draft bills in the Parliament until the end of July, covering a wide range of policy actions, from microfinance and corporate governance, to electric mobility and endogenous sources of growth, like education, research and innovation.

6thImplementation of structural reforms, covering the regulatory framework for doing business, the justice system, arrears, the management of public investment, the rural policy.

7thInvestment in the green economy.

We have set ambitious goals, in our National Energy and Environment Strategic Plan.

We are ensuring fair financing from the Just Transition Mechanism.

And we are discussing the gradual adoption of green budgeting principles.

Taking advantage of all the abovecompleting and implementing the National Growth Strategy, we will have the opportunity, not only to recover, but to enter a strong and sustainable upward trajectory.

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