14 November, 2007
The European Commission on Tuesday acknowledged efforts by the Greek government towards fiscal consolidation, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis reiterated in Brussels.
Speaking to reporters after an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, the Greek minister said the European Commission’s estimates regarding the Greek economy were positive, with growth rates exceeding other Eurozone levels and unemployment falling further in 2008 and 2009.
The EU’s executive acknowledged Greek efforts to reduce its structural deficit by at least 0.5 percent of GDP, Alogoskoufis added.
The ECOFIN meeting also discussed the Lisbon Strategy.
Commenting on the Greek programme, Alogoskoufis said it emphasised improved employment, boosting research and innovation and promoting digital technology in the country, particularly broadband services. He also noted that broadband access was below the European average in Greece, although progress has been made with access rates rising from 0.1 pct a few years ago to 7.5 pct today.
On the immigration issue, the EU’s Economy and Finance ministers agreed that, in general, it contributed to European economy’s dynamism, although illegal immigrants - mainly from third countries - were creating significant problems.
The Greek minister underlined that the burden of immigration for mainly Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, should be equally distributed among EU member-states.
Alogoskoufis said immigration positively contributed to Greek economy and would improve the social insurance system in the country under the condition that would-be immigrants are fully incorporated in the economy, whereas the immigration tide was controlled.
Finally, Alogoskoufis said EU member-states were facing difficulties in reaching an agreement on coordinating tax policies, while commenting on wage increases in the EU, he said differences existed among member-states, mainly because of differences in productivity.
Source: Athens News Agency