Stournaras urges EU to bring debt re­lief mea­sures

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Cen­tral Bank Gov­er­nor Yan­nis Stournaras said Greece’s Euro­pean part­ners must ur­gently out­line debt re­lief mea­sures to help boost eco­nomic re­cov­ery and fa­cil­i­tate its re­turn to fi­nan­cial mar­kets in 2018. Euro­pean part­ners promised ear­lier this year to spec­ify debt re­lief mea­sures to make Greece’s pub­lic debt, the high­est in the eu­ro­zone, sus­tain­able. But the “en­vis­aged long-term pub­lic debt man­age­ment mea­sures have not been spec­i­fied yet,” Stournaras told an EU-Arab sum­mit in Athens on Thurs­day. “Ur­gent action is war­ranted on the spec­i­fi­ca­tion and quan­tifi­ca­tion of the fore­seen debt re­lief mea­sures,” he said in a speech. “This will en- hance the cred­i­bil­ity and ac­cep­tance of the poli­cies pur­sued, thereby help­ing to fur­ther con­sol­i­date con­fi­dence, strengthen eco­nomic re­cov­ery, lower the tax bur­den and fa­cil­i­tate the re­turn to fi­nan­cial mar­kets af­ter the end of the pro­gram.” Stournaras re­it­er­ated that Greece’s econ­omy is ex­pected to grow by 2.5 per­cent next year and by 3 per­cent in 2018, as long as Athens speeds up re­forms and pri­va­ti­za­tions agreed with its of­fi­cial lenders under its third in­ter­na­tional bailout.

Septem­ber data showed a huge in­crease in value-added tax tak­ings from pop­u­lar is­land desti­na­tions on the tar­get set by the bud­get, with rev­enues from My­conos (pic­tured) ex­ceed­ing the tar­get by 253 per­cent, from Rhodes by 238.5 per­cent, from Zakyn­thos by 132.5 per­cent and from Corfu by 92.4 per­cent. equal­ity poses a grow­ing threat to longterm de­vel­op­ment, a re­port from the Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment said on Thurs­day. The new “Tran­si­tion” re­port high­lighted how its core re­gion has achieved an im­pres­sive amount of in­come con­ver­gence with ad­vanced economies since the late 1990s. A so-called “hap­pi­ness gap” had fi­nally closed with Western Euro­pean ci­ti­zens in the EBRD’s lat­est sur­vey, although this con­ver­gence partly re­flected a de­cline in hap­pi­ness in ad­vanced economies. The re­port also found the tran­si­tion had var­i­ous ef­fects. Po­lit­i­cal tur­moil and price lib­er­al­iza­tion en­tailed sig­nif­i­cant de­pri­va­tion, while gen­er­a­tions that grew up dur­ing the peak of the changes were found to be over 1 cm shorter on av­er­age. “When in­come is con­trolled for, sat­is­fac­tion lev­els among res­i­dents of post-com­mu­nist coun­tries are now sim­i­lar to those of their Western Euro­pean peers – and even higher than those of peo­ple in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey,” the re­port said.

VAT tak­ings soar on is­lands.

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