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Economy

Greek Finance Chief Says Ready for Any Pandemic Cost Fallout

ATHENS – Greece's New Democracy government, after pouring more than 41 billion euros ($48.98 billion) into subsidies for workers and businesses during COVID-19 lockdowns, says it has a ready reserve if the tide turns again.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said that some 4.5 billion euros ($5.38 billion) has been set aside as part of a contingency plan if there's a resurgence of the Coronavirus in the second half of 2021.

“We are prepared, at any given moment, even for the most extreme scenario,” he told state broadcaster ERT.

While nearly one-third of Greece's population of some 10.7 million people has been fully vaccinated – 70 percent is needed to beat back the pandemic – he said the government is ready if there's another wave of COVID-19 in the autumn.

He said the money wouldn't be distributed across the board as earlier, but targeted to the most affected sectors if needed. 

“We have the fiscal leeway and this will be extended into 2022 as well. We will start coming into fiscal balance in 2022 and 2023,” Staikouras added, Greece aided by 32 billion euros ($38.23 billion) in European Union loans and grants.

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