23 October, 2007
Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis referred to prospects for the further improvement of the national economy in his address Monday at the annual conference of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank which is taking place here.
"The Greek economy can achieve even better performances in the medium term, since structural reforms to further strengthen competitiveness and to confront the chronic weaknesses of the public sector are being promoted," the minister said.
Alogoskoufis stressed that the growth rate will continue to be high, exceeding the eurozone's average and it is expected to remain about 4 percent over the 2007-2008 period. Growth is based on private investments and on exports, while tourism and the inflow of income from maritime services also contribute to growth considerably.
He also focused on the role played by Greece in the development of southeastern Europe, through trade and direct investments.
"Southeastern Europe is turning into one of the fastest developing regions in Europe and Greece is facilitating the accession of these countries to the global economy and to the European Union," he further said.
The finance and economy minister placed emphasis on fiscal adjustment achieved over the past three years, that resulted in the general governance deficit falling below the 3 percent GDP limit from 8 percent in 2004, reiterating the assessment that the deficit will reach 2.5 percent of GDP in 2007.
"As far as the future is concerned, the Greek government remains focused on the continuation of structural reforms, including the reforming of the social security system, continuing in parallel the effort to attain fiscal adjustment in order to achieve balanced budgets by 2010," he stressed.
Commenting on the international economy, Alogoskoufis noted that it is continuing to show high growth rates, although the possibilities of it slowing down have increased. The recent turmoil in international money markets, that began from the mortgage loans market of the United States, may slow down the rate of international economic growth.
The minister further said that increasing oil prices, inflationary expectations and protectionism in trade also constitute considerable dangers for the prospects of the international economy, something that was also pointed out by most of the speakers at the conference.
Boosting transparency in money markets, he added, is a decisive element in avoiding unexpected developments that create uncertainty and problems for market liquidity. The recent upheaval necessitates an improvement in the practices of all who participate in the market as regards providing information for investors on exposure to risks.
Alogoskoufis also said that Greece supports the decision by the World Bank to provide 3.5 billion dollars from its profits for the International Development Organisation to fund less developed countries, particularly in sub-Sahara Africa.
Source: Athens News Agency