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SYRIZA Blasts New Democracy COVID-19 Recovery Plan, Offers None

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SYRIZA Headquarters in Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

ATHENS - After mostly steering clear of criticism of the ruling New Democracy as the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic struck, the major opposition Radical Left SYRIZA now said the government’s plan for an economic recovery doesn’t help workers.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ administration had given workers laid off from work during a more than six-week lockdown an 800-euro ($872.12) benefit as part of a 17.5-billion euro ($19.08 billion) economic injection.

He said the recovery plan would focus on restarting tourism and include a cut to 13 percent in the Value Added Tax (VAT) SYRIZA raised to 24 percent, the reduction in areas that are tourist dependent especially.

SYRIZA, which didn’t offer any plans, said the government’s scheme “ regularizes the suspension of labor contracts, effectively subsidizing unemployment.” While in power for 4 ½ years, the Leftists diluted workers rights, cut the minimum wage before partially raising it ahead of 2019 elections and reneged on anti-austerity promises.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the criticism “flippant, irresponsible and false,” and said the administration wanted to reduce the effect of the pandemic on the economy and jobs by allowing greater flexibility, said Kathimerini.