Fo­cus shifts to growth

Funds on the way, gov’t seeks to craft pos­i­tive nar­ra­tive with re­gional con­fer­ences

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras plans this week to launch a gov­ern­ment drive to trans­form the pos­i­tive out­come of last month’s Eurogroup deal into ben­e­fits for the real econ­omy, start­ing with the first of a se­ries of re­gional growth con­fer­ences in Kozani, north­ern Greece.

With fresh bailout fund­ing in the bag – the Eurogroup is ex­pected to dis­burse 7.7 bil­lion eu­ros today – Greek au­thor­i­ties want to shift the nar­ra­tive to one of growth.

The Kozani event today and to­mor­row is one of many the gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to as­sess the eco­nomic pri­or­i­ties of dif­fer­ent re­gions as part of a broader goal to boost growth.

Tsipras has al­ready briefed his cabi­net and top aides on the need to fo­cus on re­boot­ing the econ­omy, at­tract­ing new in­vest­ments and nail­ing down ex­ist­ing ones, in­clud­ing the real es­tate pro­ject at the old Athens air­port in Elliniko and the Kastelli air­port on Crete, as well as sev­eral road con­struc­tion projects.

“By the end of the year, we must have re­sults that point to an in­crease in gross do­mes­tic prod­uct, an in­crease that must con­tinue in 2018,” one gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said.

Se­cur­ing a boost in GDP will be a piv­otal achieve­ment for Tsipras’s ad­min­is­tra­tion as it will con­firm the econ­omy’s emer­gence from the crisis and pave the way for Greece’s re­turn to the mar­kets.

Tsipras’s of­fice is plan­ning a pub­lic re­la­tions drive to boost the gov­ern­ment’s im­age as an ac­tive force. “We must make more in­ter­ven­tions, we must not hide,” a source said.

Mean­while, the coun­try’s cred­i­tors are mulling what form of su­per­vi­sion Greece should re­main un­der once its third bailout ex­pires in the sum­mer of 2018, Kathimerini un­der­stands. Ac­cord­ing to sources, for­eign au­di­tors are keen to en­sure that Greece con­tin­ues on the path of re­form af­ter the end of the pro­gram and are seek­ing ways to oblige it do so. One pos­si­ble method said to be un­der con­sid­er­a­tion is link­ing debt relief to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of eco­nomic re­forms.

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