Measures to Tackle Coronavirus Should Be Exempted from Fiscal Targets, Greek Gov’t Spokesman Says

March 16, 2020

ATHENS – Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas, in an interview with public broadcaster ERT1 on Monday, spoke of the Greek government’s goals in Monday’s Eurogroup, the measures to support workers and businesses, the measures to strengthen the health system and the prime minister’s communication with the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos concerning the application of precautions against coronavirus in churches.

On the Eurogroup meeting, he said: “We are asking for two things: the first is to exclude all the measures needed to tackle coronavirus and have fiscal costs from the budget targets imposed on member-states, either these are part of an enhanced surveillance programme, as in Greece, or the Stability and Growth Pact that applies for other countries. The second is – because the economic disruption will be severe and GDP will fall sharply in the second quarter or even from the start of the first quarter of 2020 – that there will be a reduction in targets. I think there will be a decision for both these things, in their general context, at the Eurogroup today, and tomorrow we will be able to specify the measures we will take to support the Greek economy on two levels. The first is boosting liquidity and the other is job protection.”

Petsas reiterated that there was communication between the prime minister and the archbishop about the functioning of churches. “We are awaiting the decision of the Holy Synod today. But I think the message to everyone is clear: the government will do whatever it takes to protect public health.”


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