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Politics

‘The Prices of More than 1500 Products are Expected to Be Lower in March,’ Greek PM Says

February 29, 2024

ATHENS – The issues to be addressed by Thursday’s cabinet meeting also concern the government’s overall effort to improve the daily life of citizens, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in his opening remarks to ministers, at the start of the meeting.

“Dealing with high prices and measures for the support of our agricultural products, upgrading public healthcare and security issues within and outside our borders,” Mitsotakis said, listing the key items on the agenda, saying that these are the three main priority of the government on both a legislative level and in the practical implementation of its work.

He noted that ongoing action had been taken in recent months to help lower prices at a retail level, against persistent inflation, especially for certain types of products. He noted that the results of the measures will gradually become apparent as they were “deep structural interventions in the way the market operates.”

“The initial messages are encouraging and we hope that the initial prices for more than 1,500 products will be lower from early March, while the final prices will be determined on the basis of these initial prices,” he said.

“We are [also] continuing our dual battle for the support of available income, with permanent increases in wages and pensions,” Mitsotakis said, adding that the next cabinet meeting will decide on the final increase in the minimum wage that will go into effect from April 1. “Of course, we also need targeted measures that respond to current needs,” he added, while stressing that the government does not underestimate the long-term distortions in market functioning and was taking measures on this level as well.

Mitsotakis then referred to the other issues on the agenda, such as the rural development and foods ministry’s draft bill on protected designation of origin and protected geographical indication products and a stricter framework to prevent imported products being classified as Greek. Apart from milk and feta cheese, he said inspections will be extended to oils, honey and to fruits and vegetables, saying this would build on steps already taken to support farmers, such as electricity discounts and a return of taxes paid for farming diesel from 2025.

The prime minister said that 19 Greek technical proposals relating to farmers have already been submitted and adopted in Brussels, adding that it was important to highlight Common Agricultural Policy problems, and that farmers should know “who will push and fight for their just demands”.

He pointed out his pledge to meet Thessaly farmers soon to “see what more can be done and how much faster we can move on compensation issues and on restoration after Storm Daniel,” as well as to examine a report prepared by a Dutch team on restoring Thessaly that will be presented the following week.

Referring to public healthcare, Mitsotakis said the government’s plans could be summed up in the phrase “The national health system is changing”, pointing out that the changes will be on many different levels. He spoke of renovations of hospitals and health centres and the start of afternoon surgeries, pointing out that the last reform was first discussed and established 20 years ago “without having been implemented”.

Regarding a defence ministry bill on research and innovation in the armed forces, Mitsotakis said it was “interesting and innovative” and harmonised the Greek armed forces with the demands of the times, while also referring to cybersecurity issues.

He concluded by repeating the areas “on which we must be steadily focused: matters that have to do with available income, health, insurance but also something more. Here, we are discussing strategic directions but we know very well that once we decide whatever we decide and vote whatever we vote on, a lot of work remains for the implementation of all the things we decided….it means a lot of daily, dogged work so that the results of our policies become apparent to the citizens. Reforms are not an abstract political concept but a active intervention that must, ultimately, improve the daily life of the citizens…”

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