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Hatzidakis at ECOFIN: Economic growth and social cohesion are complementary objectives for Greece

“Economic growth and social cohesion are complementary objectives.

The stronger and more competitive an economy is, the more resources it has for social policy. On the other hand, social policies that focus on the development of human capital can enhance productivity and progress.”

This was stressed by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Kostis Hatzidakis, who participated in the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings in Brussels.

In the joint meeting of the EU Ministers of Finance and Labour and Social Affairs on social investment and reforms, apart from Mr Hatzidakis, Greece was also represented by the Minister of Social Cohesion and Family, Sofia Zacharaki.

The Minister of Economy and Finance spoke about actions of the Ministry of Finance that ultimately strengthen social policies and actions of the Ministry of Labour that strengthen competitiveness.

In particular, with regard to the Ministry of Labour, Mr. Hadjidakis mentioned:

– The programmes for training and upgrading the skills of 700,000 workers and unemployed people, which are carried out with the use of European funds and which constitute the largest training package ever in the country.

– The reform of the lifelong learning system, with the introduction of the performance-based payment rule.

– The modernisation of the Public Employment Service and the strengthening of active employment policies.

– The introduction of stricter rules to ensure that only those in real need are beneficiaries of the Public Employment Service (e.g. introduction of income criteria for certain social benefits).

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Hatzidakis also highlighted the measures implemented by the Ministry of Finance to combat tax evasion and avoidance, noting that apart from ensuring tax fairness, they are already helping to find the necessary resources to strengthen the budget in education and health.

During the Eurogroup discussion on the future of European capital markets, Mr Hatzidakis stressed the need to promote the Capital Markets Union.

“In recent months we have heard international organisations and market participants point out that the fragmentation of the European capital market has a negative impact on competitiveness and on raising capital for growth.

We may have different views on the desired degree of integration.

And there are also objective obstacles that we need to overcome. But it would be a mistake to ignore their message.

We should demonstrate a high level of ambition,” the minister said.

He noted that Greece, like other European countries, would like to see a more ambitious approach to both the Single Capital Market in Europe and the Banking Union in Europe, as they are key prerequisites for enhancing the competitiveness of the European economy.

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