Athens Digest 22.05.2019

• Another warning on reforms, from OECD

• Tsakalotos says creditor warnings are… nothing new

• Current account deficit jumps in March

• Anarchist attacks reach parliament


# “Deviations from the current medium-term fiscal strategy would undermine gains in fiscal credibility,” the OECD says in its forecast for Greece. “Recent policy announcements will reduce tax revenues and raise spending,” it adds. The OECD has acknowledged broad improvements in the Greek economy but has warned that failure to see reforms through _ along with an over-reliance on tourism _ could hurt the recovery. “Delays in reforms to improve the business environment, competitiveness, and banks’ health would create downside risks to the projected recovery in investment,” the organisation said in a shapshot on Greece. “A fall in tourism related to a disorderly Brexit could lead to a sharper slowdown in exports.” It was the latest warning to policymakers in Greece that straying from a reform programme so early after the recovery effort could have detrimental effects _ with earlier cautions coming from creditor institutions.

# Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos has dismissed a string of warnings from creditors and others about the country’s deficit targets in the wake of the government’s pre-election spending binge. “It’s exactly the same as what we heard last year and the year before that,” he told Alpha television. “But we were right … We are sticking to the plan that was discussed after the end of the bailout.” He said he was confident his government would eventually bring lenders around.

# Greece’s current account deficit rose by EUR 352 million year-on-year in March to EUR 1.5 billion, according to central bank data. The Bank of Greece said the change came “as a result of an increase in the deficit of the balance of goods (despite an) improved services balance.” For the quarter, the current account deficit was EUR 3.7 billion, up EUR 420 million on the year.



On our Radar: Anarchist attacks reach parliament
Anarachist attackers reached parliament yesterday, smashing bottles filled with red paint into the side of the building and letting off a smoke bomb. The attack claimed by the anarchist group Rubicon comes days after a similar incident outside the home of US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and numerous other attacks _ all in support of a hunger-strike protest by jailed terror group gunman Dimitris Koufodinas. The Supreme Court has examined a furlough request by the 61-year-old Koufodinas, and its recent rejection by a panel of judges.