Greece: Gentiloni says yes to the prospect of initiating primary surplus talks

Greece: Gentiloni says yes to the prospect of initiating primary surplus talks

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Paolo Gentiloni on Thursday 6 February 2020.

The European Commissioner visited Greece for the European Semester.

Prior to their separate meeting, the two men spoke in front of journalists, with the Greek Prime Minister thanking Paolo Gentiloni for his kind words on the Greek economy in an interview for a Greek newspaper, receiving the Commissioner’s reply that “this is the reality”.

The Greek Prime Minister said he believes there has been great progress in the last seven months, something that is reflected in the capital markets and the wider economic climate.

“We are a government that is fully committed to an ambitious reform agenda and has been fully credible in meeting the budgetary targets. We are informing our interlocutors that we will meet the fiscal targets for 2019 and 2020”, Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

He continued by informing the European official that during the year he will press the issue of the reduction of primary surplus targets. “During the year, soon and without delay, we are expected to begin the debate on the reduction of primary surplus targets starting in 2021. I believe this is perfectly reasonable and I am pleased that you see it that way and we are ready to we begin this debate”, the Greek Prime Minister said.

Responding to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Paolo Gentiloni said he believes that the European Commission is certainly supportive to the start of talks.

“The decision will be taken by the Eurogroup, but as long as Greece maintains this momentum for reforms – you have very positive economic gigures as a whole – I believe that with this dynamic the debate on these goals can begin again and the Commission will be supportive of this”, said the European Commissioner.

During the meeting there was an extensive discussion on the state of the Greek economy and its prospects, as recent figures show significant progress in a number of areas. They also underlined the positive developments in the fiscal field, which are reflected in the treatment of Greek securities in international markets, as well as in the ratings of rating agencies, while interest rates on Greek bonds are at historically low levels.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated to the European Commissioner a number of priority issues on fiscal policy and structural reforms that the country has raised.

In addition, within the frame work of the Green Deal that was announced last December, actions were discussed which the European Commission is expected to take to achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction target by 2030 and the key objective of climate neutrality by 2050. The Prime Minister reiterated Greece’s commitment to work towards a more “green economy” within the agreed framework at a European and global level and stressed the importance of adequate financing for a fair transition of the coal and lignite production areas in Europe and Greece./ibna