ATHENS, Greece, Sept. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the country's economy is growing faster than projected and its influence in Europe is on the upswing.
Mr. Tsipras made his comments during a major policy speech on Saturday. In the speech, he urged policymakers to further develop Greece's competitive advantages, which include a highly educated workforce. Mr. Tsipras said the economic tide is turning for the better.
"Through a tortuous and hard negotiation process we managed to release the noose around the neck of our country," Mr. Tsipras said.
"The surplus fiscal goals set out in the agreement of last year's summer are now much lower and hence achievable. This is a breath of air both for the economy and our society,'' Mr. Tsipras said. "This is a matter of fact and not an opinion. Our agreement commitment in 2015 was for a fiscal balance of -0.25% and we achieved +0.7%. We firmly believe that we will continue to over deliver in 2016."
Indeed, the Economic Sentiment Indicator, a technical barometer for the Greek economy, has been rising, even as it has been falling in Europe overall. The Greek unemployment rate is falling, with an estimated 254,000 jobs being added to the economy during the first seven months of 2016. Meanwhile, Mr. Tsipras said, the number of people visiting Greece in 2016 is expected to top last year's record total of 26.1 million visitors.
"Our eyes our set on transforming the recovery into Equitable and Just development,'' Mr. Tsipras said in his speech. "That is the most essential goal of this government. We do not want development upon the shattered remains of working standards, society and the environment. We strive for development that radiates its benefit to the whole of society."
Mr. Tsipras said investors should "take advantage of the opportunities and the favorable framework which we offer and to invest in Greece."
The ability of his government to deliver on these goals would also be assisted by a smaller surplus obligation based on the agreements as the Greek economy "has the opportunity to create smaller surpluses, without avoiding the 15% of GDP limit in debt-payments. In practical terms this means that we can de-escalate the surplus goals to 2.5% in 2019 and 2% in 2020."
Mr. Tsipras said he would continue to focus on corruption and tax evasion and said he plans to introduce a measure in parliament to allow tax scofflaws to pay taxes on undeclared income without criminal penaltes. This measure, he said, would be "a last chance to those who have concealed their funds abroad to declare these funds, pay the lawful tax which is due but also avoid their pending legal consequences."
Mr. Tsipras said those who don't take advantage of the amnesty "will face grave criminal penalties. They will regret it. Their days of immunity are gone"
Contact: Dimitris Karamanis , PM's General Secretary Office
Email +30 6982 959260
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SOURCE Government of Greece