ATHENS – Government spokesperson Yiannis Oikonomou, commented on the early repayment of Greece’s IMF loans, on Tuesday noted that, in spite of current difficulties, “our country’s steady course and prudent economic management throughout the preceding period, allowed us to bring to a close a chapter that none of us remember with bright colours.”
Speaking to radio station Parapolitika 90.1 FM, Oikonomou said this was the end of a time of great economic and social hardship, which had inflicted wounds from which the country had yet to fully heal. It was a grim chapter, he added, from which Greece must keep only the lessons it had learned and remember those who promised easy, ‘magical’ solutions or tried to exploit the situation to build careers.
“What would it mean if we were outside the euro today? What would it mean if we were outside the EU during the pandemic, with the vaccines provided to all countries under the EU umbrella? What would it mean geopolitically,” he asked.
Commenting on the general strike on Wednesday, he said the government was doing everything in its power to alleviate the repercussions of the economic crisis and will use every last euro to support society, without excluding any social group.
He noted that the increase in the minimum wage from May 1st will be “generous” and that the government will continue to support society and consumers as long as price hikes in energy are at such levels, including backdated support for electric power used by small and medium-sized enterprises.
At the same time, he repeated that the government could mitigate but not fully counteract the price hikes, targeting support to those with the greatest need but always within the limits of what the economy can withstand financially. He again cautioned against horizontal cuts in indirect taxation, noting that this money would create a gap in the state budget without necessarily having the desired effect of lowering prices.
Oikonomou also gave assurances that there were no problems with the supply of goods in the Greek market for the near future, adding that the limits on certain purchases by some supermarket chains were “pre-emptive” to ensure that no shortages arose.