Friday, 20 April 2018
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Task Force chief says 'impressed' with progress after meeting with development minister

European Commission (EC) Task Force chief for Greece Horst Reichenbach said Tuesday that he is impressed with the progress achieved by the ministry of development, competitiveness, infrastructures, transport and networks, after a meeting in Athens with minister Costis Hatzidakis and his staff. Hatzidakis, in turn, stressed the need for a developmental dimension in Greece's agreement with its partners.
Reichenbach said that the progress "is impressive", despite the fact that the coalition government has been in office for "fewer than 100 days", adding that he is also impressed by the manner in which the work is being carried out and the priorities placed by the ministry, which he described as the "driving force of the structural changes".
"We must do in a few months everything that wasn't done over many years," Hatzidakis said, adding: "We want to be the ministry of the structural changes. We are working along target-tables and timetables. The target is that any agreement with the troika will not have only a dimension of fiscal adjustment measures but also the dimension of a development package. Our partners and the EU want the programme to succeed because this would be their success too, but it will be a much greater success for us and our families."
During the meeting, Hatzidakis presented to the Task Force -- which has a consultative role to the government -- the progress achieved in the recent period. According to sources, the two sides discussed the placement of coordinators for the specific actions of the ministry, the signing of an accord with the OECD for utilization of its 'toolbox' for competition, and finalization of the decisions related to the licensing of professions.
They also discussed the negotiations with the concession holders on restarting the motorways, aimed at an initial agreement by the end of the month; simplification and modernization of market police legislation, which was put to public deliberation as of Monday; revision of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), on which the government will submit its proposals by the end of the month; the drafting of a National Plan to facilitate exports, in collaboration with the Dutch experts; changes to the developmental law that are tentatively scheduled to be announced next week; and elimination of the obstacles to competition, on which the ministry has asked for specific proposals from the market entities and consumer organizations by the end of the month.
Hatzidakis reiterated to Reichenbach the need for setting up a Greek Development Fund, which is tied with the next NSRF (2014-2020), which is at risk of having fewer funds earmarked for Greece if the Commission does not amend its proposals for taking into consideration the pre-crisis growth level of the country. For this purpose, Hatzidakis is due to travel on October 4 to the European Parliament, where he will have negotiations on the new NSRF, while on the following day he will represent prime minister Antonis Samaras at the EU Cohesion Countries conference in Bratislava.


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