Pappas to CNN: We are confident we can return to markets in 2018

Speaking the news network CNN on Friday, Greece’s Digital Economy and Media Minister Nikos Pappas said he was confident that Greece will be ready to return to the markets in order to service its financial needs by the end of the Greek programme in 2018, while noting that the government’s strategy for counteracting the ‘brain drain’ was to encourage start-ups that would help young people make a living and stay in the country.

“The country is part of the EU and the EU is developing particular mechanism to assist the country‚Äôs return to the market. So we are very confident that the decisions taken by the Eurogroup will make sure we have a return to the markets next year in August, when the current programme is finishing,” Pappas told the CNN reporter, who noted that Greece had “turned the corner” and asked him to estimate how long the country will need to become financially self-sufficient.

“In any case, the clear message as you mentioned is that we have an increase in GDP, an increase in employment, an increase in exports, increase in investments and all these macroeconomic fundamentals suggest that we are going to be in a position to fully establish a market access that will normalise our ability to service our financial needs,” he added.

Asked how the government planned to reverse the “brain drain” and lure smart, hard-working young people back to the country in order to bring about progress, Pappas said the government had focused on facilitating start-ups while noting that unemployment figures were much improved.

“The first thing that we had to do and we did immediately was to make sure that European structural funds are headed, organised in such a way that can benefit start-up companies so that people can come back to the country, start their own business and try to make a living instead of going abroad.”

“Of course there is an issue of the greater macroeconomic environment but I take the chance to let you know that when the political change took place in 2015, unemployment was at 27 pct. Now we are just above 21 pct and it seems the dynamics are that unemployment is going to be even lower in the months to come,” he said.