// Past Events
Business Lunch 11th March 2014_
Business Lunch of the Hellenic Spanish Chamber of Commerce _ Tuesday the 11th of March at 14:00h at Fuga Restaurant (Kokkali 1, Athens 115 21).
Speaker: Mr. Margaritis Schinas, European Commission Resident Director, Head of the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN) Athens Office. Speech: "Greece, from crisis to growth - a European perspective".
The members of the Hellenic Spanish Chamber of Commerce meet with Mr. Margaritis Schinas, Director-level head of the Athens office of the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) of the European Commission.
During an informal business lunch organized at "Fuga" restaurant, on Tuesday, March 11, the members of the Hellenic Spanish Chamber of Commerce had the opportunity to hear Mr. Schinas' speech on the European Financial Perspective and thoughts to overcome Greece's crisis.
Mr. Schinas started his speech stating that the European and Greek economic crisis started in 2008, although the roots were not European. The crisis was created in the US due to two main reasons: the excess of liquidity and the lack of financial supervision. Shortly the crisis became global and affected the European continent due to different problems. First; Europe was under the illusion of a genuine EMU: Actually only a monetary union was achieved but not an economic one, neither a federal way for decision making. Second the rules under the Stability and Growth Pact demanded by Euro area members had been repeatedly violated. As a result of these problems the crisis affected mainly the eakest links of the chain with two common sets of problems: on one side Greece and Portugal, due to their low competitiveness, huge bureaucracy high debt and deficits and from the other side Ireland and Cyprus because of their disproportionate financial sector that placed an unsustainable burden on their economies:
The above, according to Mr. Schinas, were the main reasons of the fire that propagated across the Euro zone. The solution was to act as firemen to put out this fire at the periphery and simultaneously as architects who would try to build a genuine Economic and Monetary Union architecture. This crisis response proved successful so far. The cohesion of the Eurozone was assured and Europe is currently developing an integrated policy approach to a Fiscal; a Banking and a Political Union.
Turning to Greece's situation, Mr. Schinas mentioned that the country has the biggest "bailout" in history with 245 billion euros!. Greece had the luck to count on the assistance of the euro zone family members when was cut off from the financial markets.
The country is expected to have a primary surplus this year and latest growth forecasts point to 0;9 and 2,4% growth rates for 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Mr. Schinas suggested Greece must now translate this progress to the real economy staying the course of fiscal consolidation and structural reform. This would facilitate the development of a productive economy with product markets reform and targeted investments to growth enhancing sectors like tourism and agro food. . The country would also need to pursue with its ambitious program for privatization. Finally there is a huge need for structural reforms, to fight against corruption and to complete the civil service reform.
Schinas showed to be much more optimistic now than he was before summer 2012. He sees signs of recovery stating that all achievements were possible due to the political stability of the country. Maintaining political stability and ownership of the Greek programme will continue to be crucial factors in view of the important decisions ahead he concluded.