Dimitris Katsikas, Head of the Crisis Observatory, was interviewed by George Findikakis for the site Liberal.gr on Greek growth prospects and the performance of the Greek labor market.

Dr. Katsikas discussed the solid growth rates of over 2% the Greek economy has been experiencing in the first three quarters of the year, undeniably a positive development. Certainly, pending privatizations and incomplete reforms remain areas of uncertainty. The performance of the Greek labor market continues to lag behind its European counterparts. For example, 2018 employment rates in the age group 20-64 in the EU was 73% of the total population, while the same rate in Greece reached only 59.5%. Furthermore, the gap between the skills that employers seek and the skills that are offered by the Greek educational system is substantial, limiting the growth potential of Greek businesses.

Dr. Katsikas also made references to three key groups within the potential labor force: women, young people that are under-employed, and the brain drainers that left the country during the crisis and haven’t returned. As a result, more than 1 million employees are missing from the Greek economy, therefore undermining any attempt for a strong and sustainable recovery.

Another point made in the interview was the necessity of regional development through enhanced local administration. “Comparing Greece to other countries, one can observe that here the local authorities have a limited mandate, while elsewhere even aspects of education and health are run by local authorities,” explained Dr. Katsikas. Municipalities should become an integral part of the development process through enhanced powers and responsibilities, tightened supervision, and more financial resources.

You can read the interview in Greek here.