Additional crisis package unveiled


TAGS: Economy, Politics, Coronavirus

Remarking that Greece “is in uncharted waters” and in the midst of an unprecedented crisis with dramatic pressures on growth, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday presented additional measures centered on jobs and support for business.

Responding to a question in Parliament by the leader of the Movement for Change (KINAL), Fofi Gennimata, he added that after the first “defensive” moves to deal with the crisis, the government now has a plan to promote growth-spurring initiatives.

“I do not claim that during this phase of the economy we can create new jobs. This is something that should concern us in the near future. That is why the government is considering introducing an innovative program which will subsidize the creation of new jobs, in addition to the effort we are currently making to support existing jobs,” he said.

The additional five-pronged plan includes a zero advance tax for businesses whose first-half turnover has dropped by 35% compared to the first half of 2019 (a reduction of 30-70% for the rest), as well as for seasonal companies.

Secondly, a third cycle is starting for returnable deposits while, thirdly, the 60% subsidy from the state for all employer contributions to the Syn-Ergasia program is being extended until October.

Fourthly, seasonal companies will not pay any employer contributions for the July-August-September quarter.

Finally, the possibility of suspending employee contracts will be extended throughout the range of tourism businesses.

“We know that the impact on growth, both in the second and third quarters, will be dramatic. Things will go very badly. We are experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis. We never hid it,” he said, adding, however, that the government has not been inactive. “Our interventions are dynamic. We have kept ammunition so we can use it when we are sure we have the ability to do so and when circumstances dictate,” Mitsotakis stressed.

In response, Gennimata asked what was the point of saving ammunition “when we are surrounded by ruins.”

The exchanges between the two, which were at times acrimonious, were seen as surprising by political observers given the will recently expressed by both sides to find common ground in the midst of the crisis. Mitsotakis pushed back against Gennimata’s accusation that the government was not listening to the proposals of the opposition.

“We are also adopting some of your suggestions,” he said, and went on to remind Gennimata that they both served under the coalition government led by then prime minister Antonis Samaras.