Hatzidakis: We recorded GDP growth rate 4 times higher than the European average in 2023

The key to its success is identified in the combination of fiscal seriousness with a entrepreneurship-friendly policy, as stated in an extensive interview with the French magazine L’EXPRESS the Minister of National Economy and Finance, . According to Costas Hatzidakis’ statements “We had a dramatic decade. Today, I think that Greece is proving a good surprise for the Eurozone and the European Union. The Greek economy quickly recovered in the last four years despite successive crises: pandemic, energy prices and war in Ukraine”, while stressing that Greece achieved fiscal consolidation thanks to an unprecedented rate of debt-to-GDP reduction in the euro area and restored its primary surplus a year earlier than planned. “Last year, we recorded a growth rate of GDP three times higher than the European average. Foreign direct investment reached record levels in more than 2022 major international companies invest in Greece, such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Pfizer, J.P. Morgan, Cisco etc. The percentage of exports of goods and services increased from 38% to 50% of GDP within four years,” notes Kostis Hatzidakis pointing out that the unemployment rate declined significantly, most rating agencies have upgraded the country’s credit rating, the banking system has been liquidated and deposits increased from 150 to 200 billion between 2019 and 2023. As regards the measures taken by the Greek government in the exercise of economic policy, Kostis Hatzidakis said that the tax rate of companies, dividends tax and employer contributions were reduced, while noting that a special scheme was created to attract foreign tax residents, with a 50% income tax exemption for seven years for those who create jobs in Greece. “Our goal is to convince our compatriots who left abroad several years ago – the generation of brain drag – to return to the country”. Also referring to the introduction of Athens airport on the stock exchange, Kostis Hatzidakis stressed that this action “made possible the strengthening of the Greek stock market with a large company and the strengthening of the airport itself, which needs investment to be modernised”. Asked then by the minister to reduce tax evasion in Greece he replied that the loss of revenue from non-payment of VAT, which reached 23% in 2018, in 2023 fell to 15% and that the government took measures to combat tax evasion in eleven sectors, including self-employed and oil sectors. He also noted that according to polls, the majority of Greeks support government initiatives, pointing out that for years, self-employed people have paid in Greece on average less taxes than other Greek workers and that this was unacceptable. On the issue of public debt Kostis Hatzidakis pointed out that the aim is to reduce it to 140% of GDP in 2027. “We have taken the lessons of the past. We know that Greece lived above its potential and that today investors and markets are closely monitoring what is decided in our Parliament,” the Greek minister said. Finally, commenting on the performance of the Olympic Games this year in Paris, 20 years after the respective Athens, Kostis Hatzidakis noted the following: “I disagree with the view that the 2004 Olympic Games were the cause of Greece’s fiscal crisis. The problem was much bigger. We remember these Games, not only for the stadiums and buildings left, but also because Greeks have a special connection with this event. It’s part of our heritage in the world. We are very happy that France is hosting the Games this year in Paris. I’m sure many Greeks will watch them on TV, or come there.”

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