Primary surplus targets of 3.5 pct more than attainable, Greek finance ministry says

Greece is more than capable of achieving primary surpluses of 3.5 pct of GDP in the coming years and may even generate the fiscal space to exercise social policy after the end of the programme, a finance ministry announcement said on Monday.

“A primary surplus target of 3.5 pct in 2018 and the following years is not just achievable but there will also be fiscal space for targeted tax relief and social spending in the post-programme period,” the finance ministry noted, pointing to an ELSTAT announcement that Greece’s primary surplus in 2017 had been 4.2 pct of GDP.

“For yet another year this proves the reliability of fiscal management,” the announcement said, while also pointing out that the primary surplus reported by Greece’s statistics service was a ‘net surplus’ after one-off measures, such as the social dividend, the payment of debts to the Public Power Corporation and others, had been deducted. Without these payments, the ministry said, the surplus would have been closer to 5 pct of GDP.