In 2011 we either change or go broke…

In 2011 we either change or go broke…

George Papandreou described violent change in the production pattern in order to save the country described with the slogan "Innovation, Openness, Education everywhere!"

"Αλλάζουμε" (το 2011) γιατί αλλιώς χρεοκοπούμε
George Papandreou described violent change in the production pattern in order to save the country described with the slogan "Innovation, Openness, Education everywhere!"

The State will not go bankrupt, Greece won’t exit the euro, but the private sector should get started and work without the backing of the State. This is the outline of the economic policy of the government from now on and through 2011, as described by the PM himself announcing sweeping changes, not just in terms of the private sector but throughout the Greek society.

Speaking on Tuesday evening at the Conference for the Greek economy, organized by the Hellenic-American Chamber, Giorgos Papandreou essentially blamed –in public for the first time – the inefficiency of the private sector for the near bankruptcy of the country, while he identified the accountability of the political system.  

“The course of change in our country was a one-way street" he said, "either with or without the immediate threat of collapse. This would have been an immediate threat anyway, if we continued down the same path, not only towards our fiscal figures. They were symptoms of a customer State, prodigal and opaque, and a growth model that supported Greek incomes for many decades, but was based on consumption and not production, on introversion and the nailing of competition, which has finally reached its end”.

As he stressed, “these problems increased our fiscal problem to uncontrollable proportions. Yes, our fiscal problem is the symptom, not the deeper cause.”

He was more than clear on what Greeks should expect from now on:

    * At first he mentioned Greek creativity striking against fatalism and the dogma “this is Greece” (Kostas Simitis’) stressing that “ nothing is fatal, everything can change, Greece is not destined to be disdained. We have immense potential as a country admired for its History, its natural beauty, the people’s creativity and warmth”.
    * He devalued the “Social State” as implemented up to this point in time (“of outside appearances” he called it, “with widespread injustice, lawlessness, corruption, cronyism, parasitism, fraud and lack of transparency a state hostile to the citizens and entrepreneurship, with huge government deficits”), and negated any possibility of our return to it as a country.
    * He located the problem of state bankruptcy in the recent past (“almost threw us over the cliff”) and underlined the importance of personal and collective responsibility for the country’s exit from this crisis: “We can and must overturn this convenient pessimism. A disease that was eating our guts, working as an easy alibi, don’t do anything, stay apathetic since we can’t or are not allowed to change”.

 The PM described the road map out of this crisis:  

“When we come out of the Memorandum and the supervision in three years, the most important thing for me is to have achieved this belief in our individual and collective forces."

An aim set by the PM describes a competitive economy based on a new green evolution combining all our advantages, releasing our productive force, investing on man, education, culture, our country’s physical beauty but also our strong sectors, from the processing of our agricultural products and the Mediterranean diet, to tourism, shipping, renewable energy sources and the value of our products and services.

“These big changes will ensure the viability of our country. The truth is that in 2010, the adjustment was achieved by means of direct fiscal measures of budgetary cuts and raises in certain groups of tax rates. These are not structural changes” he underlined to show that “‘soft options’ in cuts are over and the rough part is ahead”.

He clarified that "the signal to the markets is clear;  Europe is determined to protect itself, its currency and its member states" but described 2011 as "the decisive second half," the year of major structural changes.

The priorities he set for 2011 are:

    * Bigger cuts in State expenses
    * Fight against tax evasion
    * Opening up of the remaining closed professions
    * Use of state property
    * Privatizations

 But the planning does not stop there:

    * Education and innovation must become parts of our culture
    * Business start-ups in just one day
    * Completion of the General Registry of Companies
    * Adoption and implementation of the Law for a simple licensing process for the manufacturing and industrial sectors
    * Modernization of the institutional framework for industrial areas and the creation of modern Business Parks
    * Abolition of the 30 major constraints on business, investment and innovation
    * Adoption and implementation of the Law on drastic simplification of the licensing procedure of Technical Professions
    * Creation of new financial tools for small loans and improvement of the access to financial aids with a focus on new technologies
    * Reforming the institutional framework for the operation of competition in our country to reach economic competitiveness, maintenance of price levels and consumer protection
    * National Strategic Plan for Promotion of Extroversion to create new financial tools for the internationalization of Greek businesses
    * New investment law
    * Release of the energy market
    * A set of interventions for green development

To all these we must include the priorities added by the minister of Economy, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, who stressed that ahead of us are some “very crucial months. There’s the completion, end of December, of the next time frame, under the Program for Economic Policy, with the next evaluation in February for the important loan installment. During this time, we must do many things, from the privatization plan to completing the changes in work relations and from the opening up of the energy market with the launch of the Government plan to the completion of other incisive acts which will be critical for the next few years. Every trimester will be like this. It’s not that this one is more difficult than the rest”, he stressed…
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