Sunday, September 8, 2019

Greek PM announces fast-track reforms and red tape cuts

by Helena Smith

Guardian

September 8, 2019

Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has pledged that after almost a decade of being dependent on international rescue funds, his debt-stricken country will soon prove to be a “pleasant surprise for Europe”.

With investor confidence in Greek bonds better than at any time in the past 10 years, Mitsotakis said the country long at the forefront of the euro crisis had finally turned the corner. “Greece is no longer Europe’s black sheep,” he told the Thessaloniki trade fair, where Greek leaders traditionally outline economic policy.

“It is a country with self-confidence now,” he added in the keynote speech on Saturday.

Addressing Greece’s business elite two months after his centre-right New Democracy party ousted the leftist Syriza on a platform to revamp the economy, Mitsotakis said implementation of fast-track reforms to modernise the state and cut red tape were a priority if the EU member was to regain political credibility.

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Greece’s Mitsotakis calls for tax cuts and reforms

by Kerin Hope

Financial Times

September 8, 2019

Greece’s new prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has announced tax cuts and structural reforms aimed at rebuilding the country’s credibility with investors, after three international bailouts and a grinding eight-year recession.

“Greece has turned a page,” the prime minister said in a speech on Saturday evening to businesspeople in the northern city of Thessaloniki. “Greece is no longer the black sheep of the EU, we’re a self-confident country now.”

The premier said the country was still committed to achieving high primary budget surpluses — before debt repayments — of 3.5 per cent of gross domestic product in 2019 and 2020, as agreed with European creditors.

Mr Mitsotakis hopes that if Greece delivers on reforms, the 2021 surplus targets will be cut to 2 per cent of GDP, freeing up funds for public investment projects frozen during years of austerity.

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Greece moves to ease asylum-seeker crowding on Lesbos

by Michael Peel, Kerin Hope & Laura Pitel

Financial Times

September 2, 2019

Greece has launched an urgent effort to move hundreds of asylum-seekers from a heavily overcrowded island camp as fears rise of a further influx of people fleeing a Turkish clampdown on migrants and the long-running war in Syria.

Athens started to take people on Monday from the Moria facility on Lesbos, which has drawn criticism over its dismal conditions as it ballooned to more than three times its roughly 3,000 capacity.

The effort comes as worries grow that more asylum-seekers could head to the Greek islands in the face of a Turkish crackdown on undocumented migrants and a Russia-backed military offensive to retake the rebel-held enclave in north-western Syria’s Idlib province.

More than 600 asylum-seekers from the Moria camp on Lesbos boarded a specially chartered ferry on Monday on their way to a camp in northern Greece as the government began implementing emergency measures to relieve overcrowding in reception centres on the east Aegean Islands.

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