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Economy

Greece’s Beleaguered Consumers Will Get More State Energy Aid

ATHENS – Greek households struggling to deal with a near-doubling cost of electricity bills will get more state assistance in May at the same time the New Democracy government is handing out aid for rising gasoline prices.

There could also be a ceiling imposed on the bills, said Kathimerini, although that would cut into state coffers to make up the difference as the government is trying to speed an economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras also told SKAI TV that the fuel subsidy will continue for now with the government later this year heading into a pre-election period before 2023 elections, unless there are snap polls sooner.

The major rival and former ruling SYRIZA has continued to snipe at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government over rising energy costs and his handling of the pandemic and economy but failed to make a dent in surveys.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upset world markets and added to soaring energy prices as well as rising food costs and potential shortages of commodities such as sunflower oil and flour.

Preparing for the worst, the government is making calculations for a supplementary budget to be sent to the European Commission by April 30, said Kathimerini, Greece still under supervision of its EU creditors over the remainder of 326 billion euros ($352 billion) in three international bailouts.

After setting a growth estimate of 4.5 percent in a comeback during the pandemic, there are now concerns there could be a dent of up to 3 billion euros ($3.24 billion) over the cost of the Ukrainian invasion.

State support “will obviously continue into May, but we will see what form it will take in relation to the resilience of the budget and what we ought to do in the coming period,” said Staikouras

If there’s a cut in the 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food it will take another 250 million euros ($270 million) out of the budget, adding to the weight on trying to bring back the economy.

Then in 2023 the government, reaching out to voters, will need another 2 billion euros ($2.16 billion) to extend the temporary reduction of social security contributions and the suspension of the solidarity levy and expand it to concern also the public sector and pensioners, the paper said.

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