Greece predicts budget surplus for next year

THE GREEK government has forecast that it will finally achieve a primary budget surplus this year, for the first time since it joined the Eurozone in 2001.

Yesterday morning, Greek deputy finance minister Christos Staikouras unveiled the draft budget for 2014, which predicts a surplus before debt interest payments this year.

Staikouras also suggested that the Greek economy would finally begin to grow again next year, forecasting 0.6 per cent growth after more than half a decade of recession, and promising no next taxes next year.

The government also expects the country’s eye-watering unemployment levels to finally begin to fall in 2014, dipping from 27.9 per cent this June back down to 26 per cent next year.

Growth and a primary budget surplus were the two major conditions set by Yannis Stournaras, the country’s finance minister, which had to be fulfilled before the country could return to issuing bonds on international markets.

Debate over a third bailout for the troubled Mediterranean economy has recently divided European finance ministers, prompted by German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble during his country’s election. In August, Greece admitted that a funding gap likely in 2014-15 would require another financial aid package of around €10bn (£8.44bn), much smaller than previous programmes.

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