ATHENS. Even Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou progress reports: In 2010 he was able to cut the budget deficit to 19.45 billion euros – to 30.9 billion last year. Therefore, the deficit was reduced by 37 percent. In the consolidation program that Greece has voted with the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a savings target was set of 33.2 percent. The success is due primarily to the account of drastic cuts in budgetary expenditures, which were reduced from the previous year by 9.1 percent. The specification of the savings program was 7.5 percent.
On the revenue side of the finance ministers failed to be objective, however: instead of expected tax revenues increased six percent to only 5.5 percent. A consequence of the recession: According to preliminary calculations, the Greek economy last year shrunk to about four percent.
The budget figures showed that Greece are under the EU agreed with IMF and consolidation program, said in a statement to the Athens Finance. The implementation of the savings targets is a prerequisite for the granting of international assistance loans of 110 billion €. The money will be in several installments by 1 Quarter of 2013 and paid to allow the highly indebted country to refinance to a large extent, bypassing the capital markets.
The Greek Government, meanwhile, feeling against the hopelessness: In summer, the economy would grow on swinging, Development Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis said on Thursday. The booming exports would end the recession in its debt-ridden country.
By 2010, exports had increased by eight percent, although the overall economic performance was probably shrunk by more than four percent. Chrysohoidis called the success of the export sector a "new miracle" – but the orders from the European Union of Greek companies have recently increased by 15 percent.
Greece experienced the highest budget deficit in 2009 of all euro countries: 15.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Last year, the debt ratio, according to preliminary calculations, to 9.4 percent – a remarkable success. In this year, 7.4 percent can be achieved. For 2014, sees the consolidation program envisages a deficit of only 2.6 percent. So that Greece would then meet for the first time the requirements of the EU Stability Pact, which imposes an upper limit of three percent of GDP.
Why did the Greeks have made is the most ambitious fiscal consolidation program of all euro countries. Whether the bill is a success is uncertain. For the draconian austerity measures have driven the country deeper into recession. Also this year the GDP, according to the latest projections, by about three percent decline. The tax revenue bubble therefore more modest than originally thought. The Minister of Finance, more needs to save in order to achieve its objectives and consolidation of the economic cycle to cut even more money – a vicious circle.
The only bright spot so far: the Greek exports. They grew last year despite the recession, to nearly eight percent. Exports to EU countries rose by 15 percent even. After two weak years, tourism could grow again this year, especially since most of the Greek hoteliers have reduced their prices. Tourism contributes almost one-fifth of GDP and is thus an important pillar of the economy. Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said on Thursday that he expected in the summer so a return to growth. The Minister is therefore more optimistic than the experts of the EU and the IMF, for the fourth quarter with a slight economic growth expected before. Portugal can also reduce deficit
Even if the economy should pick up again sooner than expected: the remains precarious debt dynamics of the Mediterranean country. According to IMF calculations, the debt later this year will reach 152 percent of GDP next year and increase to 158 percent. Until 2014 the debt ratio to decline again, but only slowly. Debt of this magnitude are, according to many economists not to use sustainable – especially not when the financial markets is so high risk premiums as they currently require to pay the €-crisis states. Stubbornly remains therefore speculations about a previous or subsequent impending restructuring of the Greek national debt – even if denied on Thursday the governments in Athens and Berlin and the European Commission this scenario again with emphasis.
The highly indebted Portugal has made progress on its austerity measures, according to the government probably faster than expected. The budget deficit last year was probably down to the target market of 7.3 percent of gross domestic product, Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said on Thursday. Then, in his words indicate, the most recent government data. Accordingly, the government revenues have risen in 2010 to 4.6 percent more than expected, while spending 3.7 percent less than predicted grew.
2009 the deficit was still 9.3 percent. This year, the government is targeting a deficit of 4.6 percent. It counts on a cut in wages and salaries in the civil service and tax increases. In this way they will prevent, to Greece and Ireland’s next Euro member aid from the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to take claim of need. Many experts expect, however, that the low growth country but ultimately from the euro rescue must resort to billions in aid. politicians and experts doubt continue to Greece
Nevertheless, the doubts are growing among politicians and economists that Greece manages for long without a debt. The President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Hans-Peter Keitel is calling for an immediate rescheduling program for Greece in order to reassure the financial markets. "Greece is to relieve only by a rescheduling of the debt crisis. The restructuring program would have to start today rather than tomorrow," BDI President Keitel said in an interview with Handelsblatt (Friday edition). The debt burden is already high and will continue to grow oppressive.
The euro-zone countries now have to provide clarity. "It is counterproductive to aggravate the situation by 2013 artificially and then take a cut debts," Keitel said. The creditors know the Greek government bonds and debts had already been priced in, argued the BDI President.
Fierce criticism Keitel practiced at the finance ministers of the euro countries. "The harm daily utterances of individual finance ministers about the pros and cons of individual measures. Let the financial markets only with actions, not calm, with speeches," said Keitel. Therefore, the countries of the Euro-zone hire expertise as quickly as possible tools to present that could be implemented immediately. "Otherwise, the financial markets to force solutions," the BDI President said.