Athens Digest 01.07.2019

• Poll: All scenarios point to ND majority government

• State funded research center KEPE raises alarm over weak growth rate

• Research, innovation and education key factors to attract investments says Stournaras

• Conservative leader voices support to gold investment in northern Greece

# New Democracy will form a majority government whether there is a five, six or seven-party Parliament, according to yet another nationwide poll. The survey conducted by MRB and published in ‘Ta Nea’ newspaper on Saturday, ahead of July 7 general election, showed that  conservatives would get 155 lawmakers in the 300-seat House if there is 7-party Parliament, while leftist Syriza would get 80.  A 6-party Parliament would give ND 159 seat while a 5-party House would give 163.  The poll predicted that ND will get between 35.4 to 40.4 percent of the vote compared to 26.5- 31.5 percent for Syriza. The Movement for Change will be third with 6.4 to 9.8 percent, ahead of communist KKE (3.7 to 6.3 percent) and extreme right Golden Dawn (2.6 to 5 percent), nationalist Greek Solution, (2.5 to 4.8 percent) and MeRA25 of former Finance Minister Varoufakis 2.2- 4.4-percent). The threshold to enter in the Parliament is 3 percent.

# The state-funded Center of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) predicted on Friday that growth this year will reach only 1.76-pecent, well below government expectations of 2.3 percent and even lower than the Bank of Greece’s 1.9 percent forecast – as well as last year’s performance which was also at 1.9 percent. “Growth in 2019 will come to a level similar to that of 2018, showing a certain stability but at the same time a lack of any additional growth momentum,” KEPE said.

# Citing the need to lure investments, Bank of Greece governor Yiannis Stournaras has called on Greece’s next government to do its utmost to stimulate the Greek economy. “The new government must invest in education, research and innovation,” he told Ta Nea newspaper on Saturday. “At the moment, the reaction of the markets to the economy’s prospects is a very positive factor which must be exploited,” he said, adding that whichever government comes to power must focus on attracting investments, defend the rule of law and the independence of the country’s institutions.  The Bank of Greece had recently noted that a fiscal gap of 0.6 percent of GDP will  emerge to achieve 3.5 percent primary surplus in 2019.

# New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his support to the investment by Hellas Gold in Skouries in Halkidiki in northern Greece during a tour of the region at the weekend. Speaking to the  press and locals, the conservative leader underscored the need to “restart the process to exploit the mines in the region” and that, if he forms a government,  the investment in Skouries will move ahead and will be  “completed.” He clarified, however, that this will not be done at the expense of  the environment. The investment by Canadian gold miner Eldorado Gold, Eldorado, which runs Greek subsidiary Hellas Gold, stalled after it was met with fierce resistance of some locals who cited environmental concerns.

On Our Radar: Online platform opens in effort to tackle NPLs
As part of the effort to tackle the problem of non performing loans, an electronic platform for the protection of primary residences of debtors will open today. According to the Special Secretary for Private Debt Management Fotis Kourmousis, the platform concerns 180,000 homes. Interested parties will be able to apply for state subsidies, which may amount to 50-percent of a monthly installment. There are asset and income criteria for inclusion in the program. The objective value of the house should not exceed EUR 250,000 while the annual income of the interested party cannot exceed 36,000 euros per year.