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Greece at the helm: Challenges and opportunities for the Hellenic Presidency of the EU Council


29 Apr 2014


Euro & Finance
ACCA President’s Debate shows that seeking long term prosperity requires joined forces and strong mutual commitments

Recent figures in the EU show that competitiveness is on the up and the deficit has fallen. There can be an agreement that challenges and fluctuations still lie ahead, however, alongside with opportunities.

These prospects were discussed at the recent ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) President’s Debate, held in Athens. Supported by SOEL (the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Greece), distinguished experts exchanged views on the issues set to dominate Greece’s six-month term at the helm of the EU Council: promoting growth and employment in the EU, strengthening economic governance in the Eurozone, completing the Banking Union, developing maritime policy.

The debate was framed around the view that the European project should strive to evolve further into a community of shared values with a "common destiny" for all its citizens. In order to do so, social, economic and fiscal policy clearly has to play a big part in this process. Common goals cannot be reached without making brave policy and governance decisions. New rules need to be put in place to underline the responsibilities of member states and enhance the benefits of euro membership. The effort must be maintained towards enhancing sound financial management and facilitating SMEs’ access to finance, as well participating in the tax good governance debate.

At a crucial juncture for the Greek and EU economies, a host of leading European and Greek policy makers, business and employer’s representatives, the accountancy profession and ACCA members debated on what needs to be done to assist the economy and achieve growth in Greece and the EU.

The EU recognises the need for close supervision of financial institutions, both at the national and European level, which brings to the issue of budgeting. Martin Turner, President at ACCA said: “In ACCA’s and my view, it is not just the content of budgets that need to change, but the way the budgets work in the first place. The EU budget needs to be more strategic, coherent and flexible in its nature. And national budgets need to be better co-ordinated at the European level. We need budgets with a co-ordinated purpose and a plan. A coherent flexible strategy is needed, and undertaken with teamwork”.

“As a global professional body, ACCA believes that Europe needs to continue to build relationships across boundaries and continents. This would not just be beneficial to Europe’s economic growth, but to help make it a more rounded and adaptable Continent in an ever-changing world,” added Martin Turner.

“Being a member of the European Union can bring great benefits, but it also implies a shared sense of responsibility and commitment to each other. This doesn’t mean national interests should be entirely ignored, but rather placed in the context of the interests of the wider community,” argued Martin Turner.  

“It is only by working together, supported by strong fiscal, social and economic policies, that improvements and progress can be made. The EU is a project which is built on working together towards common interests and the common good. Now, more than ever, the EU is needed to continue to fight the task of recovering from the financial economic crisis,” concluded Martin Turner.


For more information, please contact:

Vikte Andrijauskaite -

Direct: +32 (0) 2 286 11 37

Twitter @ACCANews

Notes to Editors

1.     ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

2.     We support our 162,000 members and 428,000 students in 173 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of 91 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

3.     Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. 


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