Greece’s 2018 budget will be the last of fiscal adjustment, Chouliarakis says

The year 2018 will be the last year of fiscal adjustment, Alternate Finance Minister George Chouliarakis said on Monday.

Speaking before Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee, which is currently debating the 2018 draft budget, Chouliarakis said that, as of 2019, he expected “to create critical fiscal space for a significant reduction of tax burdens, as stated in the medium-term programme,” while noting that this was a government priority.

He added that the government’s biggest success since he took over at the ministry was that the fiscal consolidation was gentler due to a decline in primary surplus targets.

Chouliarakis said the 2018 draft budget was determined largely by the economic environment and fiscal limitations Greece has faced in the last decade, “limitations arising from the fact that the country was on the brink of collapse in 2010, facing bankruptcy and an exit from the common currency. And this is the reality that the government is trying to fix through fiscal adjustment”.

He stressed that the 2018 draft budget did not include any additional measures, but only those agreed in 2016 and 2017, with a much gentler adjustment. “It is a budget that, despite the adverse environment prevailing, finds room to support social protection programmes,” he added.

“It is a difficult budget, but the last of fiscal adjustment and it is as fair as possible,” Chouliarakis said.