THESSALONIKI – Greeks struggling to deal with across-the-board price hikes in everything from food to heating oil to gasoline during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic will be further helped, said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Coronavirus is cutting into his New Democracy government’s hopes to speed an economic recovery after the end of a nearly decade-long financial crisis worsened by austerity measures hitting workers, pensioners and the poor.
He said his administration would “exhaust all available resources” to support households and businesses whacked by the soaring costs, after reports it was contemplating reducing the 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food.
“Although this government has devoted a great deal of energy to the management of all these external crises, it has not made the slightest concession to the implementation of our government program,” he told party members in a meeting in Greece’s second-largest city as inflation is the highest in decades.
“We managed the crises with responsibility, seriousness and honesty and despite the great difficulties we turned them into opportunities,” he added, reported Kathimerini of going to a party stronghold to meet them.
When COVID hit in 2020, his government poured more than 17.5 billion euros ($19.33 billion) into helping workers laid off during lockdowns of non-essential businesses as well as their companies.
The European Union has supplied 32.5 billion euros ($35.9 billion) in loans and grants but there’s been no report where that has gone while state coffers are benefiting from a return to economic growth.