Athens, March 11, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Confident that despite the difficulties “we will overcome this critical moment” and that this year will be a year of recovery for the greek economy, which, as he said, is evidenced by a series of events, appeared the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras in the joint press conference with the OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, after their meeting at the Maximos Mansion.
We are very close to completing the first evaluation, which will trigger the start of substantive discussions on debt relief and all these will have positive chain reactions, the prime minister said. A key challenge we face, Al. Tsipras said, is to achieve a dual objective: recovery with social justice, while at the same time maintaining a balanced budget, while noting that the OECD shares the view that the Greek economy will return to recovery this year.
OECD findings will reinforce the arguments of the government in this negotiation, stressed the prime minister. Because we, he noted, are negotiating not only based on our needs but also the actual figures. Al. Tsipras said that the economic OECD report for Greece is a fair and balanced account of the huge social costs of policies that were applied in 2010-2014, of the imperative need for designing new tools and institutions to mitigate the consequences policies, the need to distribute, equitably, the adjustment cost and the fruits of prosperity, the importance of combating interests that reproduce multiple forms of inequality.
We agree with several of the research diagnoses, we welcome most of those recommended, added the prime minister. Among other things, he noted that the government agrees with the labeling of the OECD on the necessity of debt restructuring, in addition that the minimum wage in Greece is lower than the average of OECD countries and that we should increase it. He also reported that properly designed collective bargaining is necessary to ensure social justice and the efficiency of the labour market.
For his part, Angel Gurria handed the prime minister a new report by the Organization on the reforms in Greece. A. Gurria thanked the Prime Minister and said that Greece still faces difficulties, while addressing the Greek citizens he said: “Greeks can continue to rely on the OECD”.
The Secretary General of the Organisation said that in the last six years Greece has gone through a painful recession with rising unemployment, significant drop in income and rising levels of poverty and inequality, whereas the refugee crisis has brought serious economic consequences for the country, which needs substantial financial aid to deal with this crisis.
Referring to the reforms planned, A. Gurria said that because of these it is estimated that there will be positive growth next year. He also said that progress in the implementation of reforms will allow for discussions with partners to settle the debt. We need a lower path for the debt service flows, Gurria said, adding that the numbers are positive, but there is no room for complacency.
The OECD Secretary General also said that there should be a clear communication policy to explain to the Greek people the benefits of the reforms, but warned that there will be strong opposition from vested interests that feel that they are affected by the reforms. But the Government, however must insist, Gurria said, because the reforms will lead to growth, with improve social welfare and will create a better investment environment.