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A tough line on runaway spending

George Alogoskoufis is in
favour of Greece changing its
economic policy mix

With Greece scheduled to hold general elections next spring, the conservative New Democracy party currently has a solid lead in the polls. The party's shadow finance minister, George Alogoskoufis (pictured), says Greece should change its economic policy mix to place greater emphasis on fiscal consolidation and the liberalization of certain markets to boost competitiveness and growth prospects. "The real picture of the Greek economy is not reflected in the GDP growth numbers. Special factors such as the preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games and the speeding up of older projects have boosted GDP," Alogoskoufis tells Euromoney. "The budget deficit is widening, the public debt exceeds 100% of GDP, inflation is among the highest in the EU, and the economy's international competitiveness is low, as evidenced by the large current account deficit and the rankings of international organizations. The public sector is still characterized by bureaucracy and corruption."

Insisting that GDP growth, estimated at around 4% this year, is not a good indicator of underlying trends, Alogoskoufis points to Greece's high unemployment rate.

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