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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-18

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FinMin presents Nat'l Reform Programme for 2006

  • [01] FinMin presents Nat'l Reform Programme for 2006

    A National Reform Programme for the period 2005-2008 was restoring fiscal balance and supported economic growth dynamism in the country, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.

    Presenting the programme's implementation report for 2006, the minister said that government priorities remained restoring fiscal balance, boosting productivity, investing in human resources, improving the business climate, opening up of domestic markets and strengthening employment and vocational training.

    The implementation report, based on reports by various government ministries, regional authorities, employers' and workers' unions, focused on an improvement of Greek economic competitiveness, the positive results of introducing a new investment law, a 22 percent jump in Greek exports in the first six months of 2006 and actions taken to support small- and medium-sized enterprises, promoting a new digital strategy, etc.

    Alogoskoufis said the programme also sought to link a Third and a Fourth Community Support Framework programmes with the Lisbon Strategy and emphasized on the need to promote a dialogue with social partners to implement a National Reform Programme and offering better information to citizens over the programme's aims.

    The 2006 implementation report, submitted to the European Commission on Monday, noted the progress made in restoring fiscal balance and ensuring a long-term viability of public finances, boosting productivity, improving a business climate and raising employment in the country.

    The programme achieved fiscal balance targets set for 2006, while it stressed an increase in a special fuel tax in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009. "The government is determined to continue with its fiscal restructuring efforts in the coming years with the aim to achieve a long-term goal of a balanced budget," the report said. The report also noted progress in real estate taxation, combatting tax-evasion, the operations of a secretariat on promoting joint projects between public and private sectors, and implementing a new law on restructuring public sector enterprises.

    It also stressed actions taken to promoting the upgrading and expansion of industrial and business regions around the country and underlined that a privatisation programme was successfully implemented despite uncertainties and high volatility in international markets. The privatisation programme includes the sale of another stake in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and the listing of DEPA in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The report said that Greece remained lagged behind other EU member-states in timely integrating community directives into national legislation, although a significant improvement was recorded in September 2006. The report said the government's general secretariat in cooperation with theh country's permanent representation office in Brussels were working to improve the country's performance.

    A new investment law, introduced in 2004, significantly contributed to promoting regional cohesion, while infrastructure projects -covering all the country- were underway, the report said. Efforts focused on upgrading the country's main railway network.


    Opposition parties on Wednesday criticised statements by Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis on the progress of the National Reform Programme.

    A press release by the main opposition PASOK party said that the presentation of the Progress Report was nothing more "than a generalised repetition of priorities set when the Programme was submitted."

    PASOK added that "once again, the government attempted to beautify the situation and refer to the future. However, the country cannot forge ahead this way. Problems remain and are worsening:unemployment, inadequate funding and the downgrading of education, research and technology, the standard of health services offered, bureaucracy that is continuing to be a stumbling block for entrepreneurship, failure to supervise the market and oligopolies cannot be handled without a specific plan of action that, as was proved again today, the government does not have."

    On her part, Vasso Papandreou, head of the party's economy sector, charged that the "major reforms, according to the (ruling) New Democracy, were those benefitting capital and the few against the majority."

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) Political Bureau member Panayiotis Lafazanis said on his part that "Mr. Alogoskoufis, following his meeting with the prime minister and completely ignoring the message of dissatisfaction towards government policy, expressed in the municipal and prefectural elections, is insisting on the path of extreme neo-liberal options and anti-social reforms, promising the continuation, indefinitely, of one-sided austerity in the name of fiscal stabilisation and balanced budgets."

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