Rebound in Greek economic growth projected

The 2021 state budget approved by Greek lawmakers has projected a rebound in economic growth next year.

The budget, approved on Tuesday night, envisaged that the Greek economy would grow by 4.8 percent in 2021 and expand even stronger in 2022, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said while addressing the plenary.

This year’s economic contraction in Greece has now exceeded 10 percent, deeper than the 8.2 percent slump previously projected in the initial draft budget.

In early October, when the draft budget was submitted to the parliament, the government’s forecast for the economic growth in 2021 was up to 7.5 percent. However, the economy has been hit by a new nationwide lockdown, which started on Nov. 7 and will continue until Jan. 7.

The state budget was approved by 158 votes in the 300-member parliament. Due to coronavirus safety protocols, many MPs voted by letter and the roll-call process lasted several hours.

The prime minister said the budget was drafted under unprecedented circumstances in uncertainty.

The government is focusing on relief measures to support households and businesses, as well as reforms with an aim to boost growth, he said.

“Our options for 2021 is to strengthen pandemic reserves with an additional 7.5 billion euros (9.15 billion U.S. dollars),” he said during an address broadcast on Greek national broadcaster ERT.

“There will also be an extension of tax and insurance relief to boost demand, investment, employment. And finally, a plan to restart the economy, reorienting and utilizing all, not only national, but also European resources,” he said.