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Davos - Greek Fin. Min. on CNBC: Exports and investments, growth catalysts for 2023

Featured Davos - Greek Fin. Min. on CNBC: Exports and investments, growth catalysts for 2023

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras spoke about the prospects of the Greek economy, the course of exports and investments, the support measures, but also about the discussions taking place in the EU on the energy crisis and the revision of the Stability Pact, in an interview with CNBC's Joumanna Bercetche on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"We expect our economy to perform much better than forecast. In 2022, according to the Commission, we will have twice the growth rate of the European average, we will have a historical record of investments and exports and in 2023 we will have a growth rate of three times the European average", underlined the Minister of Finance and added that unemployment has decreased and bad loans in banks have been reduced from 44% of total loans to less than 8%: "And the most important thing is that the public debt has been significantly reduced in the last three years, we have stabilized the public finances and we foresee a significant primary surplus for 2023" he underlined among others.

The "catalysts" for 2023

Asked what will contribute to the country's path to growth this year, apart from tourism, he underlined that Greece has very good results in terms of exports and investments and in 2023 it will record historically high figures in both.

In particular, for exports, he predicted that a percentage of 41% of the GDP will be reached, from 20% that was 5 years ago, while for investments, he emphasized that business giants have come to Greece in recent years, either from Europe or from the USA. "And as the Commission has pointed out, the investment growth index in the period 2022-2023 will be the highest in the EU," he underlined.

Public debt

Asked if he is worried about the high debt, the finance minister answered negatively, pointing out that the debt is sustainable, as are the country's public finances.

And he explained that this is because we have agreed with our partners that we will have a significant reduction in public debt. He also pointed out that the country successfully entered the markets, making special reference to yesterday's "successful" issuance of the new ten-year bond, stressing that the goal of half the borrowing needs of the entire year was reached.

Fiscal rules

Mr. Staikouras underlined that the EU's fiscal rules should and will be revised.

"We have discussed this issue in 2022, and we will probably focus on it in 2023 at a pan-European level," he stressed, and admitted that it will not be an easy discussion.

Referring to the issue of inflation, Mr. Staikouras emphasized that there is a need at a pan-European level for fiscal and monetary policy to cooperate in order to adopt targeted measures that will cover part of the problems caused by high inflation.

Banking union

Mr. Staikouras also said that we should complete the banking union and deepen the capital markets union, and at the same time proceed with what has already been discussed in the Eurogroup regarding the digital euro. He underlined that we should take advantage of the large sum available from the Recovery Fund to reinforce what we have achieved for growth and the green transition.

Cooperation in Europe

Asked to comment on the level of cooperation in Europe regarding the energy crisis, Mr. Staikouras said that "we don't have the cooperation we had in the previous crisis":

"In the health crisis you know very well that we agreed at the level of Eurogroup and Ecofin not to have fiscal rules for a few years so that we have the money and the fiscal margin to create a safety net for households and businesses and at the same time we built the mechanism of the Stability Program and Development", he reminded and added that in the energy crisis there is so far no agreement, mainly regarding the energy ministers and the proposal to impose a ceiling on wholesale prices.

The measures for 2023

Mr. Staikouras added that the government will continue to provide a safety net to households and businesses, through special initiatives and policies, without causing a fiscal problem and without interrupting the country's path to growth.