Parliament committee begins discussion of 2015 state budget today

Discussion on the new state budget for 2015 will begin at the Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

The budget, which foresees a primary surplus of 3.0 pct of GDP (5.6 billion euros) and a growth rate of 2.9 pct, was tabled in Parliament on November 21.

Party rapporteurs have been assigned as follows, among deputies: Andreas Lykourentzos (ruling coalition majority New Democracy), Euclides Tsakalotos (main opposition SYRIZA), Ioannis Koutsoukos (ruling coalition minority PASOK), Nikolaos Nikolopoulos (Independent Greeks/ANEL), Elias Panagiotaros (Golden Dawn/Chryssi Avgi), Assimina Xirotyri-Ekaterinari (Democratic Left/DIMAR), Nikolaos Karathanassopoulos (Communist Party of Greece/KKE), Dimitris (Mimis) Androulakis (Independent Democratic Deputies). Each party will also have assigned speakers.

The Committee is expected to complete its deliberations by Thursday evening (Nov. 27). The bill will be introduced in the Parliament’s plenum on December 3, with discussion expected to be completed by midnight of December 7, when it will be put to the vote by roll call

It will be the first balanced budged on the general government’s deficit, while unemployment is projected to fall to 22.6 pct from 24.8 pct this year. In 2014, the primary surplus will surpass a goal of 1.5 pct to rise to 1.8 pct, while the economy will return to positive growth rates for the first time after six years of contraction.

Presenting the budget on November 21, Finance Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras had said the government will continue its policy of gradually lifting tax burdens with a reduction of tax rates as fiscal goals are achieved.