ATHENS, July 23 (Xinhua) — Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe said here on Thursday that he was optimistic about the “positive” and “bright” prospects of the post-COVID-19 economic recovery of Greece and Europe as a whole.
During his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Donohoe said that growth will be accelerated by the National Recovery and Resilience Plans that will be implemented across the European Union (EU).
“In spite of the pandemic and all the difficulties, we never stopped implementing real reforms, which I think positions us well to take advantage of the upcoming growth that will also affect the Greek economy,” Mitsotakis was quoted by the Greek national broadcaster ERT as saying.
“For us, the challenge is not simply to grow, but to grow better. A different kind of growth composition, focused more on exports, on investments, on innovation and less on consumption,” he explained.
“I entirely agree with your optimism regarding the Greek economy,” Donohoe said. “If I look at the progress that you have made so far and if I look at the growth that will happen here in Greece this year and next it is a sign of resilience of the economy.”
Greece’s economy shrank by 8.2 percent on an annual basis in 2020, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority’s (ELSTAT) initial forecast.
A target of 3.6 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year and six percent in 2022 is realistic albeit rather conservative, Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said during a separate meeting with Donohoe.
The Greek economy’s competitiveness is improving, tourist arrivals have increased and bank deposits are on the rise, Staikouras said.
One of the major challenges for Greece and the other EU member states is to operate the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Fund mechanism in a fast and efficient way, he stressed.
Greece will receive 30.5 billion euros (36 billion U.S. dollars) from the fund over the next five years. The Greek plan foresees over 106 investment projects in clean energy, digital transformation, education and social services and 68 reforms aimed to further boost competitiveness and exports, and to improve the business environment.
In the long run, the EU recovery funds will contribute seven percent to Greece’s GDP, according to the Greek government. (1 euro = 1.18 U.S. dollars)
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