Greece

Greece’s new prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has announced tax cuts and structural reforms aimed at rebuilding the country’s credibility with investors, after three international bailouts and a grinding eight-year recession, the Financial Times reported. “Greece has turned a page,” the prime minister said in a speech on Saturday evening to businesspeople in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

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Greece’s new finance minister has said that implementing sweeping tax reforms will be his “key priority” as his country seeks to boost growth and rebuild credibility with investors following a decade of international bailouts backed by the EU and IMF, the Financial Times reported. Christos Staikouras told the Financial Times that the centre-right New Democracy government is planning “a comprehensive tax reform that will have a four-year horizon and will accelerate growth”.

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Greece unveiled on Monday a plan to overhaul loss-making state-controlled Public Power Corp. (PPC) to shore up its finances, including voluntary redundancies and selling shares in its distribution network, Reuters reported. PPC, which is 51% owned by the state, has been struggling to collect part of more than 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) of arrears from bills left unpaid during the country’s debt crisis, which began in late 2009.

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Senior officials from Greece's creditor institutions are meeting in Athens with the country's new conservative government, which is planning to begin dismantling bailout-era taxes next month, the International New York Times reported on an Associated Press story. Representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and a eurozone rescue fund were holding meetings Thursday with at least five cabinet ministers, government officials said.

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Greece's new prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, vowed Wednesday to make government more efficient and to legislate for tax cuts later this month despite concerns raised by the country's creditors over economic promises made during the election campaign, the International New York Times reported on an Associated Press story. Although Greece no longer relies on funds from international bailouts, its economy is still under strict supervision and its partners in the 19-country eurozone have made clear that the fiscal goals agreed to by the previous government must be adhered to.

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Greece's bailout creditors on Monday bluntly rejected calls from the country's new conservative government to ease draconian budget conditions agreed as part of its rescue program, the International New York Times reported on an Associated Press story. Conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis was sworn in as Greece's new prime minister Monday, a day after his resounding election victory on campaign pledges to cut taxes and negotiate new terms with international lenders.

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As Greece prepares for its first post-bailout national election next month, whoever emerges as the country’s next prime minister will face an immediate challenge: how to deal with the European Commission’s warnings of backtracking on reforms, Bloomberg News reported. A package of relief measures adopted by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government in May will incur a cost of more than 1% of gross domestic product in 2019 and beyond, the Commission said in its post-bailout review for Greece on Wednesday.

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Piraeus Bank, the biggest Greek lender, has announced a partnership with Sweden’s Intrum group to reduce a €7bn pile of bad loans that has been holding back its capacity to finance companies that survived the country’s economic crisis, the Financial Times reported. The €410m deal will create a new Greek debt collection business 80 per cent owned by Intrum and 20 per cent by Piraeus. However, the bank’s non-performing debt, which amounts to almost half the loan book, will remain on its balance sheet.

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Greece’s National Bank (NBG) plans to securitise three billion euros of non-performing mortgage loans by 2022, its chief executive said on Friday, as the country’s lenders battle to deal with a legacy of bad debt, Reuters reported. Non-performing exposures in the Greek banking sector totalled 81.8 billion euros ($91.3 billion) in December, which at 46.7% of their loan books is the euro zone’s highest. The government and central bank have come up with more radical initiatives involving securitisations as the urgency for Greek banks to slash their soured loans rises.

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Greece’s central bank governor has warned that a package of pre-electoral handouts due to take effect next week could derail the country’s budget target agreed with its bailout creditors, the Financial Times reported. Yannis Stournaras’s warning came as parliament on Wednesday approved hastily prepared measures that the leftwing Syriza government hopes will boost its popularity ahead of EU parliament elections on May 26. The package of cuts in value added tax and a pension bonus would cost around €1bn, according to the finance ministry.

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