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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Greek PM presents new national growth plan for post-crisis Greece


Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras presented on Tuesday an ambitious new national growth plan which lays the foundations for a healthy Greek economy after four years of an acute debt crisis.

The "Greece 2021" program envisages the implementation of a new development model for the country which will lead to 50 billion euro (68.5 billion U.S. dollars) revenues and the creation of some 770,000 job positions over the next seven years.

The new plan focuses on the support of sectors where Greece has strategic advantages, such as shipping, agriculture, energy, transit trade, pharmaceuticals, the metal industry, research, technology, innovation and services.

Among the priorities in this context is the gradual introduction of further reforms aimed to cut down on bureaucracy, deregulate the market, strengthen the banking sector and facilitate the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises.

He pledged a policy mix which will reduce tax evasion and gradually taxes, production costs and social security contributions in order to attract more investments, deal with the unemployment and enhance social cohesion.

Outlining the overall strategy during an event organized by the ruling conservative New Democracy party ahead of the forthcoming May 25 local administration and European Parliament elections, Samaras stressed that Greece is exiting the crisis and lays the ground for a better future.

"We are moving forward to growth ... We are building a new Greece," Samaras said, underlining that even international markets acknowledge today the impressive progress achieved in fiscal targets and reforms in recent years.

Greece, which has been kept afloat with international bailout loans in return of painful austerity since 2010, is exiting six years of recession in 2014 and will post a 2.9 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2015 and a 3.7 percent in 2016, the Premier said.

As the ruling coalition suffered losses, but kept its ground in the first round of local elections on May 18, he called on Greek voters to make a clear choice next Sunday between "stability and the risk of backtracking to a nightmare."

Anti-bailout main opposition Radical Left SYRIZA party has presented the May 25 elections as a referendum on the government's economic policy and stay in power.