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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM continues contacts ahead of OSCE chairmanship; talks with Pakistan envoy
  • [02] Eco growth projected at 2.7% in '09

  • [01] FM continues contacts ahead of OSCE chairmanship; talks with Pakistan envoy

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held separate meetings Friday with OSCE Special Representative Eva Biaudet, Coordinator for Combating Trafficking of Humans, as well as the ambassador of Pakistan to Athens, Iftikahar Hussain Kazmi. The meeting with the Finnish diplomat was held within the framework of a series of contacts the foreign minister is holding ahead of the upcoming Greek OSCE chairmanship in 2009. On Thursday, FM Bakoyannis received OSCE High Commissioner on national minorities and Norwegian ambassador Knut Vollebaek, while on Wednesday she briefed OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Joao Soares.

    [02] Eco growth projected at 2.7% in '09

    Highlights of the government's draft 2009 state budget include satisfactory economic growth rates, further slashing deficits, combatting poverty by enacting a National Fund for Social Cohesion, boosting fiscal transparency, restructuring state enterprises, local governments and public hospitals as well as continuing tax reforms, reducing unemployment and ensuring the viability of the social insurance system.

    The draft budget, presented by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, was accompanied by a special report called: "Programmes' budget 2009", listing the advantages resulting from the introduction of a new tool of fiscal management.

    According to the introductory report of the 2009 budget, "an international economic crisis, envisaged by international organisations, will continue in 2009 with significant consequences on the real economies, including the Greek economy".

    The budget envisages that the Greek economy will grow by 2.7 pct in 2009, down from 3.2 pct in 2008 and 4.0 pct in 2007, the inflation rate will slow to 3.0 pct next year, from 4.3 pct in 2008 and 2.9 pct in 2007, while private consumption will ease to 2.2 pct from 2.3 pct in 2008 and 3.0 pct in 2007.

    Investments are expected to rise by 1.5 pct in 2009, from 0.1 pct this year and 4.9 pct in 2007, while public consumption will rise by 1.0 pct from 2.7 pct in 2008 and 7.7 pct in 2007. The unemployment rate is forecast to remain at 7.5 pct next year, unchanged from 2008, but down from 8.0 pct in 2007, while real average wages will rise by 3.5 pct in 2009, from 3.8 pct in 2008 and 5.8 pct in 2007.

    The state budget also envisages a continuation of a third phase of tax reform program, which includes cutting the tax factor to 25 pct next year, from 27 pct in 2008, higher tax exempt ceilings for personal incomes and tax exempt social benefits for families with three children.

    Regular budget revenues for 2008 are forecast at 57.340 billion euros, up 10.7 pct from 2007, rising to 64.200 billion euros next year, up 12 pct from 2008, of which 26.720 billion euros were direct taxes. Budget spending this year are expected to rise to 60.456 billion euros this year, up 1.398 billion from original budget estimates, rising to 65.978 billion euros next year, up 9.1 pct from 2008.

    The public investments program is expected to total 8.8 billion euros next year, up 300 million euros compared with initial forecasts made in the draft budget plan. EU funds' inflows are expected to reach 6.634 billion euros next year, down from 7.980 billion in 2008.

    The general government's debt is expected to reach 237.930 billion euros next year, or 91.4 pct of GDP, down from 228.868 billion or 93.1 pct of GDP this year.

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