Greece passes 2024 budget forecasting higher growth

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece approved its 2024 budget on Sunday, forecasting a rise in economic growth to 2.9% from 2.4% this year as a result of robust tourist revenues and EU funds helping investment.

The budget was approved with 158 votes in favour, which is the majority of the conservative government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in the 300-seat house.

Athens will target a primary budget surplus – which excludes debt-servicing costs – of 2.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) next year, up from a surplus of 1.1% this year.

Greece, the euro zone’s most indebted nation, has recovered strongly since it exited international bailouts worth more than 260 billion euros in 2018, marking the end of a decade-long debt crisis.

The country, which regained its investment-grade status in 2023 after 13 years, needs to maintain primary budget surpluses to make sure its debt is sustainable.

About 1.4 billion euros in spending is earmarked to boost income, including pay rises for civil servants for the first time since 2010.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alexander Smith)