ATHENS – Adding to 17.5 billion euros ($20.69 billion) in subsidies to workers laid off during a lockdown and idled companies, the New Democracy government said it will pour another 10 billion euros ($11.82 billion) into an economy hit hard by COVID-19.
Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the money will be used in support measures that weren't specified but which he said would help prop up the economy as the government hopes to kick start what had been a slow recovery.
Speaking on Real FM radio, he warned however that "the longer the crisis lasts on a global, European and national level, the more difficult the task will be to achieve the goals of the previous period in such a short period of time."
Staikouras said that while the Greek economy will shrink significantly that the country is better off than some others even though its biggest revenue engine, tourism, had a terrible summer season with people afraid to travel yet.
“Travel revenue was 680 million euros ($803.93 million) in the first half, 800 million ($945.8 billion) in July and around 1.5 billion euros ($1.77 billion) in August. This means that there are enough revenues from tourism," he said.
He didn't explain why those dismal numbers would help after a 2019 record saw 33 million visitors spend more than 18 billion euros ($21.28 billion) and with a number of hotels not opening this year, many likely to never do so again.
State budget revenues were up compared with initial targets and "based on current data we stick to our forecast for an eight percent economic recession this year." he added even though the Coronavirus is in a second wave and the effect on the economy won't be known for some time this year.