The “Development Plan for the Greek Economy,” drafted by a committee chaired by Nobel Prize laureate in economics Christopher Pissarides, was posted in its entirety in the public interest on Tuesday.
Some of the provisions of the plan include lower taxes for workers, productive investments, the separation of public administration from party influence, long-term secretary-general positions in ministries, and incentives for more investments in research and innovation.
Other ideas include a second and reciprocal supplementary insurance pillar in the social security system, and support for families, especially those with young children.
Pissarides had said on Monday that “the main target of our suggestions is the modernization of Greece, which will result in the systematic increase of real per capita income, in order to gradually come to match the EU average.
“In addition, basic goals during the convergence process is to support social cohesion, particularly through social mobility and the upgrading of opportunities for weaker households, and to improve environmental returns.”
He noted that this final report had introduced new directions compared to the intermediary draft presented this past summer, and provided greater focus on Greece’s technological upgrade, including digital infrastructure and greater, more productive extroverted companies.
“It will also increase employment, both through reducing unemployment and through increasing the participation in the labor market of underemployed groups of the population, such as women and young people,” Pissarides said of the plan.
Greek Prime Minister comments on the report
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis commented on the plan, saying that Greece’s comparative advantage should focus on taxation, the quality of human resources, the operation of the state, transparency, and the independence of institutions. Greece must not become a low-cost investment destination, he underscored.
The Prime Minister also said that the report calls for wage increases — but not through loans that could lead the country to bankruptcy in the long term, as Greece came close to in the previous decade.
“Where we are truly behind as a country is in improving the productivity of workers and businesses, and for this to happen we have to increase, by far, the investments undertaken in Greece,” Mitsotakis said, adding, “Specifically, we have to double them in order to cover this great gap of divestiture accrued during the decade-long crisis.”
Main opposition Syriza proposes own plan
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras spoke to his parliamentary group on Tuesday on the party proposals which include the creation of a new National Health System (ESY) with increased expenditure from the public budget, which must immediately reach 7 percent, which is the European average. In addition, Tsipras proposes the hiring of 15,000 employees in the health sector.
Tsipras also posited that salaries in the ESY should see substantial increases so that young doctors are motivated to join the new health system, in order to bring back young scientists who have emigrated abroad, since the country desperately needs them right now.
The Syriza group which worked on the growth plan that the opposition will propose is led by former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, former labor minister Efi Ahtsioglou and former deputy finance minister Alexis Haritsis, collaborating with other party members in the pertinent departments.
The opposition party notes that the Syriza plan is feasible and applicable and could supply the necessary solutions to the health crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The opposition plan, Syriza claims, has a different “character” from that of the Pissarides committee, stressing more spending on public structures — especially in the health sector.
Also, according to Syriza officials, European funds should support and strengthen government and public services, as well as small and medium-sized businesses and workers — and none of these entities are included in the government’s plan.