The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras predicted on Sunday during the customary press conference given by Greek prime ministers at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) that Greece is very close to positive economic developments following the last Eurogroup meeting.
During the conference, Tsipras underlined that the solution for the sustainability of Greece’s debt cannot depend on the outcome of elections in other European countries and appeared confident that such a solution will soon be found.
Tsipras referred at length to pension reforms and a measure to “freeze” the accumulated debts of those insured with the OAEE pension fund for the self-employed.
He also noted that Greece was in the midst of a transition following an ambitious reform that would put the pension system “back on the rails” and that the measure for OAEE would give the fund a much-needed respite.
Tsipras also mentioned that 90 percent of pensioners had not seen their main pensions reduced, despite the opposition’s dire warning that this would be impossible, and that only 5 percent suffered drastic reductions, while 10 percent had a small reduction.
Questioned about primary surplus targets and the creditors’ refusal to lower these further, Tsipras noted that the present targets until 2018 were those agreed on following the negotiations in the summer of 2015 and that negotiating lower primary surplus targets was a feasible goal that the government will strive for and achieve, he said.
“If after 2018 we have the possibility of smaller surpluses, we will have a fiscal space of 3.0 billion euros,” he noted, adding that he will come to TIF as prime minister in two-years time to outline how the funds will be allocated. He stated that he plans to focus on easing the taxation burden on businesses by gradually introducing a fairer property tax.
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