Greece's main objective in the European Union is "to climb up to the next investment grade," former Deputy Premier and University of Thessaloniki professor Evangelos Venizelos said at the 7th annual Hellenic Entrepreneurs Association (EENE) Economic Forum on Wednesday.
"For Greece, the fundamental optimistic outlook is EU funding. The country's main objective as always is to climb up to the next investment grade, something that has not happened, therefore we cannot participate in the regular quantitative easing program," Venizelos said, adding that "there will be some drive in that direction, but a lot hinges on next year's fiscal framework."
Asked to comment on how the EU managed the coronavirus pandemic and the financial tools in particular, he commented that "first of all, there was Greece as a guinea pig."
As he elaborated, "The Greek crisis allowed the formulation of new institutions for economic governance in the Eurozone. The EU used this experience to move fast and effectively, in order to manage the pandemic's economic repercussions. A general escape clause from the Pact of Stability was formulated, a release of state subsidies, and the Greek government provided 43 billion fiscally." All of this, he said, will lead to a social relaxation from anxiety, with society "returning to a more balanced situation."
Venizelos also said that financial support during the pandemic "resulted in losing the sense of vigilance we had gained through so much effort during the era of the economic crisis and memoranda, and many people have become dependent on allowances and bonuses. All these need to be recalibrated."