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Privatizations: Greek govt lowers target from 15 bln€ to 6-7 bln

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Greece’s economy minister on Tuesday lowered the target from a closely watched privatization program in the country, cutting the previous of 15-billion-euro figure to six or seven billion euros.

Minister Giorgos Stathakis made the statement on the sidelines of an Economist Group-sponsored business conference in Berlin, which specifically focused on German-Greek trade ties and business prospects.

International creditors (Commission, ECB, ESM, IMF) have repeatedly viewed possible privatizations in the recession-plagued and debt-laden country as a way to bolster annual budget finances, jump-start growth and pay off part of the state debt.

At one point, back in February 2011, the then “troika” of creditors considered 50 billion euros as a desired target for privatizations in the country.

Beyond privatizations, Stathakis appeared optimistic that a repeatedly cited date of April 22 is a realistic target for concluding the first review of the Greek program (third bailout). A vote will then follow in Greece’s parliament to approve the 5.4-billion-euro tax and pension reforms package – mostly tax hikes and pension cuts.

Meanwhile, Stathakis’ quip, at the same conference, of the Greek debt being sustainable until 2022 generated a reaction by the main opposition New Democracy party back in Athens. A ND spokesman referred to the current government coalition, made up of a majority of radical leftist SYRIZA party with a minority of the small rightist-populist Independent Greeks (AN.EL) party, as a “parody”.

The statement led a finance ministry clarification, issued in Athens, which read: “After the successful completion of the review, the issue of Greece’s long-term debt’s sustainability must also close. Otherwise, attracting long-term investments in the country will be difficult.”

 

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