Staikouras: Negotiations on lowering primary surplus targets will begin in 2020

Talks with Greece’s creditors on reducing primary surplus targets will begin and are likely to be completed within 2020, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said in an interview with the newspaper “Parapolitika” published on Saturday. He also urged people to make use of the current favourable measures for the protection of primary residences by the end of April.

Replying to a question about reducing the high primary surplus target – currently at 3.5 pct of GDP – Staikouras said the government had solid arguments to support its case for lowering targets.

“In all discussions, the prime minister and the economic team raise the specific issue, which we approach methodically and with supporting evidence,” he said. The higher rates of growth, lower cost of lending, early repayment of the expensive portion of IMF loans and the use of profits from Greek bonds for developmental projects had improved the parameters for the sustainability of Greek public debt, he pointed out, allowing the government to push for lower primary surpluses.

On primary residence protection, Staikouras said that, after April, the government will set up a support framework for poorer households working through social policy. “At the same time, we are improving the available income of households so that they don’t need the protection of the state. We are also promoting measures that ‘reveal’ the strategic bad debtors and make them pay,” he added.