Athens continues to 'test the waters' for greater 'fiscal space'; FinMin at informal Eurogroup meeting

Friday, 13 September 2019 22:05

Finance Minister of Greece Christos Staikouras arrives for the informal meeting of ministers for economic and financial affairs (ecofin) and eurogroup in Helsinki, Finland 

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By E. Triiri

The "inaugural" participation by Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras at a Eurogroup session came on Friday in Helsinki, as the new Mitsotakis government continues to "test the waters" over European creditors' potential acquiescence for reduced annual fiscal targets.

The December Eurogroup meeting is judged as the venue where "Greek issues" will be discussed in detail, as Friday's session was an informal meeting.

According to sources that spoke with "N", Staikouras was the recipient of positive feedback by his counterparts, with the first two months of the Mitsotakis government being judged, the same reports claim, as achieving progress.

Among others, budget revenues for July and August 2019 exceeded set targets, while the last vestiges of capital controls were lifted in the country.

Other "highlights" from the first two months of the center-right government, sources said, were a liberalization in labor sector laws, frenzied efforts to remove all bureaucratic obstacles standing in the way of the Helleniko privatization, the sale of a 30-stake in the Athens International Airport and the institution of e-bookkeeping for businesses and self-employed professionals.

The Mitsotakis government, by all accounts, now wants to exploit the record low yields now accompanying Greek bonds, in tandem with meeting fiscal targets, implementing major privatizations and reducing systemic banks' "bad debt" in order to push for extra "fiscal space". The latter is judged as imperative for funneling capital into the "real economy" and jump-starting economic growth.

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