New Democracy Will Give Baby Bonus to Boost Population

A man kisses a woman as they walk down the Lycabettus hill, in Athens. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government is going ahead with his pledge to create a baby boom by offering a baby of 2,000 euros ($2211.75) for every child.

The Labor Ministry will bring a bill to Parliament by the end of the year for the birth benefit, adjust the residence permit criteria for non-European Union citizens who also qualify for child and housing benefits, and exempt the benefit for low-income households in mountainous and disadvantaged areas from taxes while also protecting it from confiscation.

The birth benefit payment will be staggered with 1,500 euros ($1651) paid out immediately after the child is born, and the remainder within the first six months, said Kathimerini in a report.

Deputy Minister for Social Affairs Domna Michailidou said no benefits would cut and that the birth benefit will apply to every child born as of Jan. 1, 2020.

The bill, which will soon be put up for public consultation, will toughen up the criteria for eligibility for the new benefit, as well as those for child and housing benefits for migrant citizens who will have to have been permanent residents for the last 10 years to qualify.

The child benefit will also be granted to the parents of children attending obligatory education in Greece.

Before unseating the Radical Left SYRIZA in July 7 snap elections, Mitsotakis campaigned on the promise of the baby bonus as the country is faced with a rapidly-aging population and  a lagging social security system.

He said parents will get the baby bonus to help increase the population and that the tax ceiling would be raised by 1,000 euros ($1131.80) for every dependent child, that he would restore the subsidy for large families to pre-2018 levels and ensure that all parents have access to kindergarten services and other benefits.