Greece’s economy is expected to return to growth next year, a draft budget presented in parliament showed on Monday.
Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the economy - which has shrunk by about a quarter since its peak in 2007 - will grow by 0.6 per cent next year, compared with a 4 per cent contraction this year. Unemployment currently stands at 27 per cent.
The government also expects a primary budget surplus of 1.6 per cent of national output next year. Athens is keen to obtain a primary surplus, excluding debt servicing costs, so that it can secure additional loans from its international lenders.
Greece has avoided bankruptcy through international bailout loans from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in exchange for implementing tough austerity reforms, including pension and salary cuts and tax hikes.