25 May, 2006
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday reiterated that the government would not take any additional tax measures, speaking here during a press conference on the sidelines of his meetings with French leadership and his chairing of an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ministerial meeting.
The Greek prime minister reiterated that his government's high-profile "mild adjustment" strategy for the economy continues to bear fruit, with the budget deficit now below the euro-zone mandated 3 percent of GDP.
"As a result, the prospect of new measures is not being considered, but this doesn't mean that our resolve, discipline and devotion to the citizen aren’t still essential," he told reporters.
Moreover, he said the current spike in international oil prices has not dented the country's growth, while citing cooperation with partner countries to ensure the reliability of energy supplies and the replacement of oil with other forms of energy.
Regarding the OECD's recommendations for Greek's shaky social security system, he said the government has a specific timetable in mind, opening a dialogue of all parties affected "so that society, special interest groups and political parties agree on the basic parameters of the problem ... and the next government to emerge from national elections will implement the necessary reforms."
Asked about the most recent slide of stock markets around the world, Karamanlis said the government is closely monitoring the situation but is wary of any type of intervention, "which most of the time led to even worse results, and in particular, we've seen that in our country on many occasions in the past".
On a broader front, Karamanlis said the conclusion from the OECD session in Paris that Greece chaired here is that trade remains the primary mechanism from increasing development and prosperity worldwide.
Additionally, he estimated that unemployment will remain at stable levels in the United States and Japan and begin a gradual decline in Europe. He added that skyrocketing energy costs have, to a certain degree, disrupted international economies, whereas certain markets must do more to rejuvenate and remove investment obstacles.
Finally, he said the OECD has an important institutional role to play in order to pinpoint areas where reform is imperative.
He also thanked outgoing OECD secretary general Donald Johnston (since June 1996) and welcomed his successor, Angel Gurria of Mexico, before announcing that an OECD education ministers' council will take place in Athens at the end of June.
Source: Athens News Agency