Greece is back, pro­claims PM

Lat­est GDP data show econ­omy has re­turned to growth, Sa­ma­ras prom­ises that re­cov­ery will be felt by all

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Fol­low­ing a dif­fi­cult week for the gov­ern­ment, yes­ter­day’s news that Greece has re­turned to growth fol­low­ing a pro­tracted re­ces­sion was wel­comed en­thu­si­as­ti­cally by Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras who de­clared, “Greece is back.”

The econ­omy grew by 1.7 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct on a non-sea­son­ally ad­justed ba­sis in the third quar­ter com­pared to last year, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by the Hel­lenic Sta­tis­ti­cal Au­thor­ity (ELSTAT). This puts Greece on course to achieve the 0.6 per­cent growth that the gov­ern­ment has pre­dicted for this year.

Data pub­lished on a sea­son­ally ad­justed ba­sis showed that the econ­omy had ac­tu­ally re­turned to growth ear­lier this year on a quar­terly ba­sis, ex­pand­ing by 0.8 per­cent in the first quar­ter – the first time the econ­omy has ex­panded since the sec­ond quar­ter of 2009. It then grew 0.3 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter and 0.7 per­cent in the third quar­ter on the back of a strong tourism sea­son.

“We promised you that the coun­try would come out of the tun­nel of a re­ces­sion and that is a re­al­ity now,” Sa­ma­ras said in a state­ment. “This was the fastest growth for the quar­ter in the whole eu­ro­zone. All those who doubted have been proved cat­e­gor­i­cally wrong.”

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that the im­pact of Greece’s re­turn to growth will not felt by many Greeks yet, Sa­ma­ras promised faster growth and that “no Greek will be left be­hind.”

The news of Greece’s emer­gence from re­ces­sion ar­rived amid a tug of war at the Fi­nance Min­istry. It was made pub­lic yes­ter­day that the re­spon­si­bil­ity for tax mat­ters will pass from Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gikas Har­dou­velis to Deputy Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gior­gos Mavra­ga­nis. The decision was pub­lished in the Gov­ern­ment Gazette.

The move comes in the wake of sev­eral gov­ern­ment own goals over tax is­sues, in­clud­ing the sin­gle prop­erty tax (ENFIA) and the new pay­ment plan for tax ar­rears, which had to be amended yes­ter­day.

Sources, how­ever, told Kathimerini that there has been fric­tion within the min­istry in re­cent weeks as Har­dou­velis has at­tempted to in­crease his pow­ers ahead of a new or­ga­ni­za­tional chart for the min­istry be­ing drawn up. The lat­est de­vel­op­ment sug­gests that min­is­ter will not se­cure any ma­jor changes in the al­lo­ca­tion of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

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