Addressing the Francophone Economic Forum in Athens earlier today, Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis appeared optimistic over the country’s growth rate in the third quarter of the year. “After six years of continuous shrinking, the Greek economy is expected to have a positive real growth rate in the third quarter of 2014 and a positive annual real growth rate of GDP in 2014, a “breakthrough’ development,” the Minister said.
While commenting on the next day, following the exit from the memorandum, Hardouvelis underlined that it must be a day of reasonable responsibility and argued that, after the stress tests results on Sunday, Greek banks must become “the basic pillar of growth funding investments and offer liquidity to businesses.”
He also reassured that fiscal credibility and structural changes are on track and would be secured, adding that the recent fluctuations in capital markets demand a better coordination and consistency amongst Eurozone members in order to complete their reform programs. “Fulfilling fiscal targets, improving economic data, continuing reforms and, mostly, political responsibility and stability” are preconditions for the new era of Greece’s relations with its European partners and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Hardouvelis said, arguing that the only sustainable solution for the future of the country’s economy is raising productivity, attracting new investments and boosting exports.
In addition, the Greek Finance Minister characterized the plans, announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, to drain 300 billion euros for additional public and private investments in the upcoming months, as “very positive.” At the same time, he also welcomed the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision to boost liquidity through the purchase of secured loans and covered bonds, along with setting up an action force by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to support businesses.
“We look forward, with great interest, to a joint package of proposals aimed to boost investments by the French and German governments. Greece must take advantage of the previous years’ national effort and enter the new era of prospect for the country with responsibility and a gradual improvement of citizens’ living standards,” Hardouvelis concluded.