|Athens predicts light at end of recessionary tunnel
Greece will emerge from a long recession next year, the draft budget has forecast. The economy is projected to grow by 0.6 percent.
“We foresee the end of recession in 2014,'' vice finance minister Christos Staikouras said today.
The Greek economy, now in a sixth year of recession, is expected to contract by 4 percent this year.
“The sacrifices the Greek people have made after a painful period are bearing fruit, we have the indications of exiting the crisis in 2014,'' he said.
The draft budget also foresees a surplus excluding debt service charges of 2.8 billion euros, or 1.6 percent of GDP. Greece should generate the first so-called primary budget surplus, of 340 million euros this year, he added.
Greece was first bailed out for 110 billion euros in 2010 but when that failed, got a second rescue in 2012 worth 130 billion euros plus a private sector debt write-off exceeding 100 billion euros.
Still, the debt is forecast at 319.4 billion euros next year, or 174.5 percent of gross domestic product.
Unemployment is forecast at 26 percent in 2014, from 27 percent this year. The jobless rate hit 27.6 percent in June.
The draft budget, which was discussed with auditors from the EU, IMF and European Central Bank during their visit to Athens last month, was submitted to parliament today.
A final debate and vote on the budget is expected sometime next month.—AFP