(Greece) – The Greek Finance Ministry has released data that shows that the government beat its original surplus target for the first half of 2016. At the beginning of the year, Greece predicted that it would have a surplus of just 566 million euros. However, the actual figure showed a surplus of 2.26 billion euros, which well exceeds the country’s original target.
Essentially, this means that Greece’s current government has done exactly what the international creditors have demanded – lowered government spending. However, the information only includes data reported by local administration and also social security organization. The target rate for government spending was to create a budget deficit of 820 million euros from January to May of 2016. This figure excluded Greece’s loan payments to the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Most financial experts agree that Greece has been in a recession since 2009. However, the country was hit hard by the global financial crisis that took place in 2007 and 2008. They recently secured their third wave of bailout funds after the Greek government agreed to a series of austerity measures. The international creditors have always said that Greece needs to lower government spending and increase revenue. From January to May of 2016, revenue from taxes totaled 17.25 billion euros, which was 759 million euros more than what was predicted. Government spending was 2.36 billion euros less than the government expected.
This essentially means that the current Greek government has done exactly what the international creditors have wanted them to do. However, these austerity measures have been highly controversial amongst the Greek people, who have been experiencing salary reductions, pension cuts, and higher taxes. Many believe the austerity measures are too strict and won’t promote economic growth. The government, however, feels that it is doing the right thing because it believes that this is what is necessary to get the country back on track. The first payment for this third wave of bailout funds is due to arrive next week.