15 January, 2004
Greek Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Wednesday said that the government's economic and social convergence program has room for social benefits.
Commenting on a dialogue process that began with social agencies aimed to expanding government support towards less developed classes, Mr Christodoulakis stressed that the ruling PASOK party's new program, to be presented ahead of the elections, would include new directions and prospects, while he stressed that the Greek economy has the ability to support convergence, social cohesion and effectively combat poverty.
The party's new program, the Greek minister said, has the ability to cover new social benefits based on forecasts of improved fiscal conditions in the country from 2005.
"We are constantly progressing and this fact dismisses arguments by those supporting an austere policy after the elections," Mr Christodoulakis said.
The Convergence Charter is a dialogue framework to be thoroughly debated by the society and could lead to new policies, the minister noted.
Mr Christodoulakis said that Greek economic growth rate exceeded expectations in 2003, recording a 4.2 percent rate last year up from a 3.8 percent forecast in September.
Greek per capita income accounted for 76 percent of the European average, ranking Greece in the 14th position among EU member-states. "We are very close the 80 percent rate target set by the government," he stressed.
Greek Purchasing Power Units totalled 88 percent of the European average, while Greek productivity reached 94 percent of European average, Christodoulakis said.
Source: Athens News Agency