ATHENS – Greece’s New Democracy government is looking at continuing price caps on essential goods whose prices skyrocketed after floods that wiped out much of the country’s agricultural heartland and supermarkets raking in profits.
Despite 5.9 percent growth in 2022 and another 2.3 percent expected this year, which Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said was enough to cover the 2.15 billion euros ($2.3 billion) disasters cost, he hasn’t moved to reduce a 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food.
Development Minister Kostas Skrekas said at the 87th Thessaloniki International Forum that a law limiting profits on covered goods could apply in 2024 if inflation goes on, the government trying to rein in so-called “Greedflation.”
“We are in favor of the free market, not the unaccountable market … anyone seeking to profiteer at such a difficult time for the country will pay for it dearly. We will be merciless and this is not confined to Thessaly,” he said.
The fines imposed on shops that unjustifiably increased prices in the flooded regions of Thessaly will be announced soon, he said, and inspections of markets will continue, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA.
Skrekas said the government was monitoring prices in relation to Europe also and would step in if things appeared to be “getting out of hand,” and said there’s no shortage of food yet.
Despite all that, there had been accusations of dairy companies working together to keep prices high – milk especially – and supermarkets haven’t generally lowered their prices, with huge increases in goods such as coffee, olive oil and tuna.