It’s official! Almost…. or something like that…. According to EUROSTAT, “Greek primary budget surplus for the year 2013 is 3.4 billion euro,” Greek media hail on Wednesday. In its annual report the Eurostat does not refer to primary surplus, but Greek government and the media came to this conclusion after adding and subtracting from the sentence:
“The general government deficit was 23.109 billion for 2013 including the impact of banks, which according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority was 19.272 billion in 2013. Excluding this impact, the fiscal deficit – always in terms Eurostat – stands at 3,837 billion euro.” (capital.gr)
Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said that “primary surplus for 2013 is 3.4 billion euro” but that “according to Troika calculations, it is 1.5 billion euro.”
Whether €3.8 billion or 1.5 billion, even a 100-euro banknote primary surplus would be welcome in my very own and private budget.
Nevertheless, the primary surplus is the good news.
The bad news is that in the same report, the EUROSTAT confirmed that the total Greek debt pile reached 175.1% of Gross Domestic Product in 2013, reaching 318,703 billion euro.
In its annual report Eurostat stated further that Greece has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the 18- nation single-currency bloc.
Encouraged by the Eurostat news, the Greek government is expected to put the issue of Greek debt relief on the table with its euro-partners.
Greece has received 240 billion euro in bailout since 2010.
PS I leave it up to you to solve the Greek primary surplus puzzle, as my mathematics knowledge is limited to the four basic arithmetic operations for the daily practice and thus for numbers up to 100.
I am more this type of mathematician…