11 September, 2003
Greece is achieving both economic and social convergence with other EU member-states in a systematic way and with satisfactory rates, a report by Economy and Finance ministry said on Wednesday.
The report stressed that Greece was growing more rapidly compared with other developed countries, and in particular EU member-states.
Investments, a driving engine for the economy, were steadily rising in the last few years, with an expected annual rise of 9.5 percent in 2003 compared with an average growth rate of less than 1.0 percent in the eurozone. The Greek figure mainly reflects a steady rise in public investments.
Foreign investments, however, remained at low levels as the country failed to attract foreign capital because of a volatile macro-economic environment, heavily regulated markets, bureaucracy and the small size of the domestic market.
The report on "Greece converges with the EU", stressed that bureaucracy and the market's small size were major discouraging factors in attracting foreign investments.
The report also revealed that Greece recorded a big increase in labor productivity and in particular the highest labor productivity rate in the EU in the period 1994-2003.
The report included the ministry's goals for the next four year, envisaging a reduction of defense spending to 3.0 percent of GDP by 2008 from 4.5 percent currently, raising spending on education to 5.0 percent of GDP by 2008 from 3.5 percent currently, raising spending on healthcare and welfare to 4.0 percent of GDP by 2008 from 2.7 percent currently and reducing the country's public debt to 85 percent of GDP by 2008 from around 100 percent currently.
Source: Athens News Agency