ATHENS – "We are in a pleasant position today: we have successfully passed the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic thanks to the efforts of all Greeks," government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Thursday during the daily press briefing.
He stressed that "we have all shown individual responsibility and collective maturity together and we have listened and are listening to the instructions of the experts," thanking the citizens for their efforts.
Quoting a statement by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Petsas said that Greece was currently in a position to "cross the bridge that takes us from the defence of the health to the attack toward progress."
Valuable weapons in this effort, he added, will be the trust that was built up between citizens and the State but also the pace of society "with a comprehensive government plan as its guide," and he referred to the plan unveiled by the government on Wednesday to support labour market, reduce taxes and stimulate entrepreneurship.
Petsas also stated that "in order for the private sector to be able to survive, it is not enough just to support the labour market. It is necessary to reduce tax burdens and provide liquidity. And the government is doing both of these things."
On Tourism, Petsas pointed out, the government's plan sets five priorities:
1. Employee safety.
2. Respect for Greece's visitors.
3. Strengthening health infrastructure in tourist destinations.
4. Business support.
5. Cooperation with society, stakeholders and the global community.
The government spokesperson also commented on the publicaiton of the European Commission's 6th Enhanced Surveillance Report on Greece, noting that "this had the least publicity, compared to previous reports."
"This proves that we have left behind the 'Greek crisis' of the previous decade. And now we are focusing on dealing with the consequences of the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic," he said.
Petsas stressed that "the 6th Report, published in the midst of an unfavourable global economic environment, is considered particularly positive for Greece. It recognises the timely and responsible attitude adopted by the Greek government towards the coronavirus pandemic and its economic repercussion. It reaffirms the speed and adequacy of the government's financial support measures to support employment and boost liquidity in the economy. It emphasises the contribution of measures for a faster restart of the economy, the protection of jobs and the viability of businesses.
"It predicts, after the significant recession that will be recorded this year, mainly due to the large participation of tourism in our GDP, a strong recovery in 2021. It reflects the positive course in the implementation of important reforms, despite the unfavourable situation of the last period. It gives the green light for the disbursement of the third installment of the profits of the European central banks from the Greek bonds, of the well-known ANFAs and SMPs, amounting to 748 million euros. It is reminded that this will be the second installment that will be released during the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, within a year."
In conclusion, he underlined that "the efforts of the Greeks, with a responsible government, are bearing fruit."