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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-11-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] OECD: Exports, investments and competitiveness to support Greek economic growth
  • [02] Greece, Belgium sign cooperation agreements in energy

  • [01] OECD: Exports, investments and competitiveness to support Greek economic growth

    ANA/MPA---Exports, investments and competitiveness will support economic growth in Greece in the next two years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday.

    In a report released here, the Paris-based organization, said that "after six years of deep recession in Greece, growth is expected to be positive in 2014 and to gain more dynamism in the 2015-2016 period. Recovery should be led by a dynamic development of exports, strengthened by investment activity and supported by improving competitiveness".

    The OECD noted that economic activity grew in 2014 thanks to a significant increase in tourism, improving confidence and a stabilization of domestic demand. The unemployment rate, although remaining at high levels in 2014, around 26 pct, is down from historic highs and it is expected to gradually fall to around 24 pct in 2016. The organization expects prices and wages to continue falling in the next two years, although at a slower pace, while the consumer price index will remain negative. Labor cost per unit will continue falling, but competitiveness improves supporting exports, the report said, adding that the country's public debt will surpass 175 pct of GDP in 2014. "The public debt's big burden is a challenge for Greece," OECD said, adding that an additional restructuring, such as extending maturity and lowering interest rates, could be needed. "Debt reduction could take years of stable growth and a strong fiscal situation. The debt's big burden makes it necessary to have a fiscal discipline although automatic stabilizers were expected to help in balancing the situation," the report noted.

    The primary surplus is expected to improve by 0.3 pct of GDP in 2015 and 2016, OECD said, adding that the key to a sustainable growth was a rapid restructuring of banks' balance sheets combined with maintaining the dynamism of structural reforms, particularly in the sectors of public administration and product markets, along with better access to credit.

    The organization welcomed recent government measures to deal with the serious social consequences of the crisis, such as the introduction of a minimum income support mechanism and stressed that a policy priority should remain "a fair distribution of adjustment cost among all groups, given that fiscal adjustment should be sustainable".

    Better borrowing conditions, following a successful recapitalization of Greek banks and a restructuring of their balance sheets, are expected to revive domestic demand, while EU structural funds will offer additional incentives for the economy, OECD said.

    The organization underlined the risks threatening the Greek economy, such as delays in implementing structural reforms which could undermine investment climate, a slow progress in restructuring banks' balance sheets, a very high public debt, slow growth rates in Europe which could hurt exports and economic growth.

    OECD did not exclude the combination of some positive moves such as more credit by the banking sector, higher-than-expected export performance and a speeding-up of a privatization program.

    [02] Greece, Belgium sign cooperation agreements in energy

    ANA/MPA---Agreements to promote energy cooperation between Greece and Belgium, particularly in the gas sector, were signed on Monday in the presence of Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Makis Papageorgiou and Ambassador of Belgium to Greece Marc Van den Reeck.

    Greece's Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) and the Regulatory Authority for Electricity and Gas in Belgium (CREG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on issues related to the implementation of EU legislation and national regulatory frameworks, aiming at the effective and efficient, for consumers and the economy, energy market opening.

    Moreover, the administrator of the Belgian natural gas system (FLUXYS) and the Greek natural gas grid operator (DESFA) signed an agreement to create a virtual gas trading point in Greece. More specifically, they have provided for the drafting of a feasibility report for the establishment of a wholesale gas market in Greece, including the implementation of a virtual trading point where market players can negotiate quantities of gas.

    Papageorgiou said in a statement that "today, we are joining forces through cooperation with very important partners, whose experience in the adoption of best practices in a wide range of energy issues will further strengthen our efforts."


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