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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-07-22

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Second package of prior actions to plenum; vote to be held around midnight
  • [02] Austerity only can't work, 3 top German economists tell ANA-MPA
  • [03] Greek public debt remains the highest in the EU in Q1‏

  • [01] Second package of prior actions to plenum; vote to be held around midnight

    ANA-MPA -- The draft bill on the prior actions demanded by Greece's creditors was passed with a large majority by MPs in a joint session of four relevant Parliament committees on Wednesday. It was approved with the support of ruling SYRIZA-ANEL MPs, main opposition New Democracy, Potami and PASOK. It was opposed by Golden Dawn and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The fast-tracked legislation, which will now go before the plenum for debate and be voted on around midnight, includes changes to the Code for Civil Procedure and transposition of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) into national law. The two measures are among prior actions demanded by Eurozone leaders in the July 12 summit agreement in order to begin negotiations on a third bailout for Greece.

    [02] Austerity only can't work, 3 top German economists tell ANA-MPA

    ANA-MPA -- Three of Germany's top economists were dubious that the new bailout programme imposed on Greece by its EU partners can work if it continues to focus only on austerity, in interviews with the ANA-MPA's Antonis Polychronakis published on Wednesday. Without investment in the real economy, they agreed that it would probably fail to bring about Greece's recovery. According to Heiner Flassbeck, a former state secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Finance, advisor to former finance minister Oskar Lafontaine, and subsequently chief of Macroeconomics and Development of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva until 2012, the programme was not only humiliating but also nonsensical. Flassbeck, who co-authored the book "Only Germany can rescue the euro: the last act is starting" with rebel SYRIZA MP and explicit euro exit supporter Costas Lapavitsas, said the programme would only make the Greek economy sink deeper and fail to achieve any of the desired targets. "There is no simple transition to another currency from one day to the next but if I was in the Greek government I would start planning now on exactly how, very specifically, an exit [from the euro] might be carried out in the coming months," he said. Bremen-based German economist Rudolf Hickel, considered among the country's top five economists by the magazine FAZ, was also pessimistic about the outlook if creditors continued with the "avalanche system" of new debts to service the old, without pumping some money into Greece's economy and infrastructure. "The continued harsh austerity imposed by the three institutions, with cuts on a social level and increases in mass taxation, will lead to the economy shrinking further and reduced demand to further loss of jobs," Hickel said. On the positive side, he noted that there finally appeared to be a willingness to pump fresh money into the economy and infrastructure, such as the 12.5 billion euros from the privatisation fund and the 35 billion euros from EU structural funds. "The planned privatisations of public property are wrong, however, because the state property could secure infrastructure projects and constant revenues. The revenue from the sales will soon be burned up against the mountain of debt," he said, adding that the compromise reached had only bought a little time. "A new discussion on Grexit is visible...basically because economic aid is once again being given only for the financing of overdue loans. We remain in the avalanche system: new debts financing old debts." He stressed that the creditor institutions must finally focus on rebuilding Greece's economy and boosting infrastructure and pointed to elements that were blatantly absent from the agreement, such as action to fight poverty, a commitment to increase emergency funding from the European Central Bank to replenish ATMs and a restructuring of Greek debts to the ECB and IMF. Prof. Gustav Horn, the director of the Macroeconomic Policy Institute (IMK) at the Hans-Boeckler-Foundation, was also clear that the new agreement could only work if investments in Greece's economy had a more drastic effect than the latest round of cuts. "The agreement achieved between the EU governments and Greece had as its price a huge loss of mutual trust. Economically, at least, it can offer only a limited possibility for the recovery of the Greek economy. This will only happen, however, if the investment components of the agreement are exploited quickly and drastically. If, however, the rescue strategy is confined to an enhanced continuation of cuts to the state budget, then this programme will fail, like the ones before it," Horn said.

    [03] Greek public debt remains the highest in the EU in Q1‏

    ANA-MPA -- The Greek public debt reached 168.8 pct of the country's GDP in the first quarter of 2015, remaining the highest among EU member-states, Eurostat said on Wednesday. The EU executive's statistics office, in a report, said that the Greek public debt fell 5.5 pct compared with the same period in 2014. In the Eurozone, the public debt/GDP rate grew to 92.9 pct in the January-March period, from 91.9 pct last year, while in the EU the debt/GDP rate grew to 88.2 pct from 86.2 pct over the same periods, respectively. Bulgaria recorded the biggest percentage increase in the first quarter (+10 pct).
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