Friday, 19 February 2010

Domestic opposition to Greece's austerity plan rises

The conservative New Democracy party yesterday published a list of 23 steps it considers immediately necessary to give the economy breathing room and prevent the austerity plan from flattening it beyond repair. "The government's plans are one-sided," the party statement said. "They focus exclusively on the fiscal problem, ignoring the necessary stimulation of the economy, without which unemployment will rise enormously. We also need countermeasures to stimulate demand."

Among New Democracy's proposals are the following:
- Shift Greece's participation in EU co-funded projects to 2013, which is the end of the current financial period, to give state coffers a reprieve and allow infrastructure projects to continue on EU funding alone
- Accelerate the approval of new infrastructure projects
- Accelerate concession projects (eg. toll roads) 
- Accelerate public-private partnership (PPP) projects
- Exhaust loan possibilities from the European Investment Bank (EIB)
- Carry through a conservative initiative to expand regional airports as concession projects
- Carry through a conservative initiative to expand the fibre optic network to homes as a PPP
- Fulfil the 2009 law setting up investments through Invest in Greece S.A.
- The state should pay off its debts to private contractors and move money into the system
- Set up industrial parks envisioned by New Democracy
- Promote competition
- Remove bureaucratic obstacles to enterprise creation
- Approve measures to promote the liquidity of small and medium-sized enterprises
- Promote construction by subsidising new housing loans
- Promote the conversion of buildings to energy efficiency
- Promote tourism by opening up the cruise shipping market to European competition
- Expand and improve island harbours to better handle passenger shipping

The conservatives' emphasis on development is in stark contrast to the government's emphasis thus far on fiscal discipline. The government took a step towards addressing this imbalance yesterday, when it announced a 1.5 billion euro green energy development plan.


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  2. I like Martin Feldstein's idea which is intellectually the most elegant solution yet...see


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