Greece is ‘two-thirds of the way through its crisis,’ says the country’s Deputy Prime Minister

But Evangelos Venizelos added 'we need more GDP'

Athens

Greece is now two-thirds of the way through its crisis, but still needs support in growing the economy following years of contraction, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister has said.

Asked his view of the economic situation, Evangelos Venizelos told The Independent: “The official answer is that we have before us less than one-third of the crisis… we have behind us more than two-thirds of the total effort.”

But he added: “The real answer is that we need constructive co-operation with our institutional partners to reconstruct, to re-establish the real economy. We need more GDP.”

He said that the country had been though six years of economic crisis – including two years before Greece accepted the reality of its situation, and that it now desperately needed the institutions of the EU and IMF to allow it to carry out growth-boosting measures instead of yet more fiscal tightening.

He said: “It’s very difficult to achieve our target through negative growth or through a very small positive growth. We need something more. Something more like specific programmes in order to end the unemployment situation.”

Economists are tentatively talking about signs that Greece’s economic decline is slowing. GDP is expected to shrink a further 4.5 per cent this year and possibly even grow by 0.6 per cent next year, albeit from a very low base.

Mr Venizelos, who is also Foreign Minister and leader of the Pasok socialist party, declared that London, not Switzerland, is now the biggest destination for his country’s tax avoiders.

Having himself been criticised in the past for not doing enough to prevent tax avoidance, he said that he had negotiated an end to Swiss banking secrecy and that, for wealthy Greeks seeking to avoid taxes “now it’s not Switzerland [that is] the first destination. The first destination is always London.”

Greek millionaires have made up a large proportion of foreign investors buying properties in Belgravia and other expensive areas of the capital, while they have also been using the City’s banking services.

Meanwhile, the Greek government has come under criticism for its failure to catch wealthy tax avoiders.

The former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou is facing trial after allegedly removing the names of relatives from a list of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts handed to officials in the country by France.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Sales Team Leader - Wakefield, West Yorkshire

£21000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged b...

Ashdown Group: Head of Client Services - City of London, Old Street

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders