Michael Haliassos asks Greek government to proceed with economic reforms ("Kathimerini")

In an opinion piece in the Greek newspaper "Kathimerini", Prof. Michael Haliassos asks the Greek government to proceed with economic reforms even though interest rate spreads have come down.

Since the beginning of the rescue programs, Greece has managed to achieve the deficit targets. The interest rate on Greek bonds is lower than at the beginning of 2010, around 3.8% and recently at 3.3%. The country's efforts of meeting its debt obligations were recognized by international rating agencies. However, success in reducing interest rates and in accessing markets came because Greece has met its obligations, despite disappointing macroeconomic performance and continuing low living standards.
Greeks work more hours than anyone else in the European Union, but they show the lowest productivity per capita. Productivity is on a steady downward path, unlike in other crisis countries, and is now 10% less than in 2010. Greece has the highest unemployment rate in the Eurozone, a total of 18.4%, and the highest unemployment rate among young people (40%). The debt-to-GDP ratio is continuously exceeding the worst of forecasts. There is a lot of public involvement in investment instead of private companies investing in new business branches or ideas.

The World Economic Forum's competitiveness research found that the most problematic factors for businesses in Greece are taxes, bureaucracy, changing and complex tax rules, economic instability, and government instability. If future debt payments and market access are to be consistent with growth and improved economic well-being, it is absolutely necessary to implement reforms.

(English translation of the opinion piece published in Greek)

Kathimerini: Michalis Haliassos: "Primary surpluses and deficit"