Three important bills included in the planning of the Ministry of National Economy and Finance for 2024 were presented by Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, speaking at the event “The World Ahead 2024”, organized in Athens by the Economist.

These are the bills concerning the modernization of the framework for public investments, the strengthening of incentives for business mergers and the Superfund, for the creation of a National Investment Fund and the modernization of public enterprises and organizations according to the model of PPC.

These reforms are part of the main axes of the economic policy – ​​fiscal seriousness, development policies, social sensitivity – which led to progress for the Greek economy in the previous four years. Progress, which is recognized by the Economist itself, which ranked Greece for the second year in a row at the top of the list of the best performing economies. “Prudent fiscal policy restored market confidence. The implementation of pro-development reforms created wealth and increased the pie. The exercise of effective and fair social policy supported our most vulnerable fellow citizens. Based on these three main axes, we will continue to march”, said Mr. Hatzidakis.

In this context, the planning for 2024 includes the following:

1. Fiscal seriousness. The new European economic governance framework, as Mr. Hatzidakis said, will begin to be implemented – hopefully – from this year. “For this year the budget foresees a primary surplus of 2.1% of GDP, (much higher than in 2023 when the target was 1.1% and when the figures are finalized it will be seen that we exceeded it), while the public debt will continue to deescalates, by 8 percentage points”. The goals, he added, will be achieved, among other things, by fighting tax evasion and tax avoidance, areas in which there are already visible results with the strengthening of electronic transactions and the reduction of the VAT gap from 23% in 2019 to 15% in 2023.

“This is not a reform ‘on paper’. We are moving rapidly towards its implementation. Already last week, the interconnection of the cash registers with the POS has been piloted. And in February it will be expanded. Within February, all the Ministerial Decisions for the immediate implementation of the new framework for fuel smuggling will also be issued. Within the first quarter of 2024, the implementation of the universal application of MyData will have progressed. And we continue with the incorporation into Greek law of the so-called “Pillar 2″ of the international tax reform, which establishes a minimum tax of 15% for the profits of multinationals. The experience of the previous decade shows that without fiscal seriousness we are not going anywhere”, noted Mr. Hatzidakis.

2. Development policies. A 15% increase in investments is foreseen for 2024, thanks also to the contribution of the Recovery Fund. Initiatives being promoted in this area include:

  • Bill to strengthen incentives for business mergers, broaden their scope to cover more cases and simplify the regulatory framework “so that the market gets a better sense of the opportunities in this sector”.
  • Reform for the national Public Investment Program (PIP) aimed at the centralized recording, modernization and revision of the relevant provisions of fifty years, the abolition of inactive or ineffective regulations and the simplification of the corresponding financing procedures of the PIP projects.
  • Further consolidation and strengthening of the robustness of the banking system. It includes the recent intervention on bad loans and the strengthening of competition in the banking system, as well as the implementation of the disinvestment of the Financial Stability Fund from the equity capital of the banks. Within the next months, the process is expected to proceed at Piraeus Bank.
  • More efficient management of public property. The bill regulating the utilization of public property located in coastal areas has already been presented. In the next period, the introduction of Athens International Airport to the Stock Exchange is progressing, while the creation of a National Investment Fund within the framework of the Superfund and the modernization of public enterprises and organizations operating under the umbrella of the Superfund are underway. “We want to create “small PPCs”, with the aim of business flexibility and combating bad practices that prevent their further development”, the minister emphasized.

Answering questions, he said that investors will choose the sectors in which to place their money and that there is a clear competitive advantage in the agri-food sector, the pharmaceutical industry, logistics, while all EU countries emphasize digitization and the green economy .

3. Social policy. “We will continue to increase the disposable income of citizens, but based on the foundations of a serious economic policy. Not by demagoguery,” said Mr. Hatzidakis, noting, among other things, the increase in salaries in the public sector after 14 years and the previous announcements to support new parents, which are part of a new social package of the government amounting to 441 million euros for the 2024. At the same time, the 2024 budget foresees an increase in expenditure on Education by 255 million euros and a 20% increase in the grant to hospitals (an additional 481 million euros).

“We still have a long way to go and we do not ignore the challenges we face. However, we can now safely say that we have put the worst behind us. We have a unique window of opportunity to change the Greek economy and redirect it towards a new productive model of rapid, sustainable and inclusive growth. And why not – next year we will achieve threepeat in the ranking of the Economist”, concluded the minister.