New York.- Greece is on the right track, prime minister George Papandreou said Monday during a visit to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), stressing also that this has been widely acknowledged and “that gives us the strength to carry on with the changes necessary so that we will be not only proud of our country but we will have the Greece and the economy that we deserve”.
“Here, at the NYSE, we had the opportunity to present the great changes we have made in recent months in Greece. We presented our tough but successful course in reducing the deficit, on the one hand, but also, on the other hand, all the new opportunities arising for investments in our country, for investments in transports, tourism, green development and elsewhere,” the Greek premier added.
Papandreou also sat at a lunch hosted by NYSE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Duncan Niederauer, which was attended by Wall Street officials and senior executives of US financial and credit institutions.
“We are responding to our commitments in time and within the time limits that had been set and often much earlier than expected exceeding expectations,” the prime minister said, adding that now his government is focusing on strengthening growth and measures that will make the economy more competitive.
He stressed that the radical restructuring of the pensioning and taxation system has already been promoted, as well as the restructuring of the public sector that will now function with geater transparency and effectiveness.
He further said that it is proceeding with the deregulation of the markets of products, services and labour, including the liberalisation of the energy market and of closed professions and assessed that these structural reforms will lead to an increase in production by 5 percent to 6 percent.
He also pointed out that Greece is providing a great prospect for investments in renewable energy sources as well as the infrastructures sector, while mentioning that assets of the public sector whose value amounts to 270 billion euros can be privatised or utilised, an amount that corresponds to almost the entire debt of the country.
Lastly, the prime minister made it clear that there is no question of the country going bankrupt and stressed that the Greek government proved that it means what it says while expressing certainty that the spreads will recede and that while all these reforms will begin to produce results, Greece will regain the confidence of investors.
After the lunch Papandreou, accompanied by Niederauer, signed the NYSE visitors’ book while, in reply to press questions, stressed that Greece is emerging stronger from the crisis and noted that there was now a climate of optimism not only for the Greek but also the European economy.
In the last 11 months, his PASOK government has succeeded in formulating “more auspicious conditions” for prospective investors in several sectors, and chiefly in that of renewable energy sources (RES), Papandreou said, and also noted the “fiscal structural changes” which he described as “the most ambitious in the history of the eurozone”.
The premier continued that his government met its commitments promptly and even ahead of the deadlines that had been set. He also noted the changes that have been made in the taxation and social security sectors, such as the streamlining of the public sector with more transparency and efficiency, with added emphasis on the “encouraging prospects” being created in tourism due to collaborations with new markets.
Papandreou further said steps are also being made for the liberalisation of markets and services, including the liberalisation of the energy market and the opening of the closed-shop professions.
He also reiterated the possibility of privatisation or exploitation of state properties, whose overall value is estimated at 270 billion euros, which amount corresponds to the nearly the entire debt of the country.
Papandreou voiced optimism on the course of the Greek economy, stressing that his government has proven, with actions, that it means what it says, and expressed certainty that Greece will win this battle.