Greece forecasts higher budget surpluses, but sees slow decline in unemployment
By Derek Gatopoulos
Greece's will achieve better-than-expected budget figures in 2014 year but that unemployment would only decline slowly over the coming four years, the country's finance ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry said it expects to achieve a primary budget surplus what's left after debt and interest payments of 2.3 percent of the country's annual economic output, up from its previous prediction of 1.5 percent. By 2018, it expects to post a primary surplus of 5.3 percent in 2018.
Achieving a primary surplus has been one of the main purposes of the austerity medicine the country has taken over the past few years.
After being locked out of international bond markets in 2010, Greece has relied on billions of euros of bailout funds from its partners in the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. In return it has had to impose tough spending cuts and tax rises alongside a wide-ranging economic reform program in order to get its public finances into shape and get Greece in a position to stand on its own again.
"Greece is entering a period of stability after many difficult years for businesses and households, and this was accomplished after great sacrifices,» Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said. «The country has safeguarded its place in Europe and regained international credibility. We have met and surpassed our program targets."
The figures were released as part of a revised 2015-2018 budget plan submitted to parliament.
Even though Greece has made progress on the budget front, its economy will take a long time from the battering it has taken over the past few years. Though Greece is poised to start growing again soon after a recession that's left the economy around 25 percent...
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