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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-16

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin: Structural reform programme until '08

  • [01] FinMin: Structural reform programme until '08

    The government will continue its structural reform programme until 2008, with an aim to cut the country's fiscal deficit to 1.7 percent of GDP, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.

    The minister said the government aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to 2.6 percent in 2006 and 2.3 percent in 2007, after posting a 4.3-percent figure for 2005.

    Alogoskoufis did cite a handful of pending issues with Eurostat regarding the methodology used to measure data involving pension funds and local governments, while he stressed that a positive evaluation of the country's Stability and Growth Programme by the European Union as well as a positive recommendation by the ECOFIN council on Tuesday justified the government's policy and proved that a stability programme for the Greek economy was reliable.

    He added that EU finance ministers did not ask for new measures but for a reduction in fiscal deficits via the four-year programme.

    Alogoskoufis said tax revenues rose 6.4 percent last year, exceeding a budget target of 5.0 percent, while tax revenues grew by 17 percent in the first two months of 2006. The minister met earlier with representatives of the two largest unions in the country, GSEE and the civil servants' union, and reiterated that pay hikes included in a government's incomes policy for 2006 were the maximum the budget could afford, while compatible with a policy of reducing the fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of GDP this year.

    Additionally, Alogoskoufis noted that the government would not take part in collective bargaining talks but was supporting the institution of collective negotiations.

    He also announced that the unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent of the workforce in the fourth quarter of 2005. Alogoskoufis predicted that the unemployment rate would be recorded at below 10 percent for 2005.

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