Greece Presents First Post-Bailout Budget; Awaits EU Approval



The Greek government on Wednesday tabled the first budget drawn up since the country exited the bailout era last August.

The 2019 budget projects a GDP surplus of 3.6 percent, against a target of 3.5 percent, and a growth rate of 2.5 percent versus 2 percent this year.

With the surplus, the government intends to distribute social dividends on the basis of income criteria to weaker economic groups, vowing to offer housing subsidies; reduce the ENFIA property tax by up to 30 percent; reduce corporate taxation from 29 percent to 25 percent; and strengthen special-education schools by hiring 4,500 teachers.

Spending on social needs will exceed 900 million euros, instead of the 750 million originally budgeted.

The budget needs to be approved by the “Eurogroup”, which indicated on Monday that it will be seen favorably, but a final decision is not expected until early next month.

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said that “there will be no negative surprises”, and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno expressed confidence that Greece would continue to progress with economic reforms, reach its fiscal targets and “continue to be a success story.”