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Kollias to “N”: Combining fiscal responsibility with provision of incentives for investment

"Investment in new sectors is absolutely necessary, in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the Greek economy, beyond the development of tourism"

The President of the Economic Chamber Konstantinos Kollias in an interview with “Naftemporiki” stressed the need to combine fiscal responsibility with the provision of incentives for investment, as well as the support of vulnerable groups amid strong inflationary pressure.

Kollias asked for the vote of the chamber’s members and of course the trust of Greek economists in the chamber elections to be held on Sunday.

“Our members have shouldered a large part of the repercussions of the crises,” Kollias said to “Naftemporki” and added: “Given that ‘normalcy’ has not returned, all economists need a serious management that will continue to represent them effectively.”

The full interview to Michalis Psilos follows:

Mr. President, the end of 2023 finds the Greek economy with another investment grade and growth rates. How do you comment on that?

“These two events you described prove the resilience of the Greek economy, in an environment of successive crises, but also the credibility of the Greek State. Resilience and credibility came from the fact that our country pushed to loosen fiscal rules when needed and bolster households and businesses, but also managed its finances prudently and rationally, returning to primary surpluses and drastically reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio. We must continue in the same direction, further convincing our partners, markets and investors that we can combine fiscal responsibility with providing incentives for investment, but also supporting vulnerable groups in a highly inflationary environment. After all, we have before us the benefits of regaining the investment grade, such as the reduction of the cost of money, so that the state  can serve its borrowing needs even better, but also cheaper money for the banks, so that they grant cheaper loans. Also, the creation of new jobs at the level of both unskilled personnel and specialized management potential. This will be an incentive for young people to stay in the country, but also persuade others to return. Therefore, we must constantly bear in mind that any slowing down of the effort to completely change the operating model of the state and the production fabric of Greece – because that is what it is all about – will take us many steps back in this process. And the results will be much worse.”

We constantly claim that tourism is our heavy industry, but at the same time we must invest in new sectors. What are these sectors?

“Investment in new sectors is absolutely necessary, in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the Greek economy, beyond the development of tourism, which undoubtedly contributes the most to economic growth. These are the areas of digital technology and artificial intelligence, the green economy – through the further development of renewable energy sources, as agreed at COP28 – and agri-food. A necessary condition for all this is the financing of such efforts, with tools such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility. I remind you that for the proper management and utilization of these funds, we ran a series of informational events throughout Greece, in collaboration with the Finance Ministry.”