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Monday, 21 October 2019

Greece predicts solid growth in post-crisis budget

AFP , Wednesday 21 Nov 2018
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Greece submitted Wednesday its first budget free of foreign assistance in almost 10 years, predicting economic growth of 2.5 percent in 2019, better than the expected eurozone average.

The draft budget, which was submitted to the country's parliament, includes 900 million euros ($1.0 billion) worth of government support for Greeks in the form of family and housing benefits, tax cuts and reduced social charges.

The government had already said it would spare elderly Greeks further pensions cuts after receiving European Commission approval for the move.

The 2019 draft represents "the first expanded budget in a decade," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said, and comes after Greece exited its third international bailout in August.

Athens has received loans worth a total of 289 billion euros since 2010.

But Greece recently posted a larger-than-expected primary budget surplus, albeit one that excludes the cost of debt payments.

On Tuesday, the head of the eurogroup of finance ministers, Mario Centeno, hailed progress made by Greece, calling the government's fiscal results "outstanding."

"Recent data suggests that Greece will overshoot its fiscal objectives for the third year in a row, including the primary surplus target of 3.5 percent," Centeno wrote on Twitter.

Greece has committed to maintaining that level until 2022, and is banking on a surplus of 3.98 percent this year.

"That will allow for a gradual change in the budget policy mix, to support household revenues and sustainable development and deal with chronic deficits in social protection" programmes, the finance ministry said.Greece submitted Wednesday its first budget free of foreign assistance in almost 10 years, predicting economic growth of 2.5 percent in 2019, better than the expected eurozone average.

The draft budget, which was submitted to the country's parliament, includes 900 million euros ($1.0 billion) worth of government support for Greeks in the form of family and housing benefits, tax cuts and reduced social charges.

The government had already said it would spare elderly Greeks further pensions cuts after receiving European Commission approval for the move.

The 2019 draft represents "the first expanded budget in a decade," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said, and comes after Greece exited its third international bailout in August.

Athens has received loans worth a total of 289 billion euros since 2010.

But Greece recently posted a larger-than-expected primary budget surplus, albeit one that excludes the cost of debt payments.

On Tuesday, the head of the eurogroup of finance ministers, Mario Centeno, hailed progress made by Greece, calling the government's fiscal results "outstanding."

"Recent data suggests that Greece will overshoot its fiscal objectives for the third year in a row, including the primary surplus target of 3.5 percent," Centeno wrote on Twitter.

Greece has committed to maintaining that level until 2022, and is banking on a surplus of 3.98 percent this year.

"That will allow for a gradual change in the budget policy mix, to support household revenues and sustainable development and deal with chronic deficits in social protection" programmes, the finance ministry said.

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