ATHENS — Greece's economy is in deep trouble and the recession started before the pandemic, main opposition SYRIZA MP Euclid Tsakalotos asserted on Thursday, commenting on figures showing that the Greek economy had shrunk by 15.2 pct in the second quarter of 2020. Tsakalotos, who is responsible for economic issues for the party, said that this was "the worst quarterly performance historically for the country and one of the worst in Europe."
"The economy is collapsing. Will the government finally stop turning a blind eye," he said, noting that all key indicators were crashing, including consumption and investments. He said that SYRIZA had warned the government early on and "had fortified the country so that we would not have to see these numbers. We made specific, realistic proposals to avoid this disaster. The government's economic team turned a blind eye. At the start of the pandemic, it tried to convince us that the year will end without a recession."
He was pessimistic regarding the third quarter results as well, saying there was little indication that there will be a v-shaped recovery in 2021. Accusing the government of allowing the economy to go into free fall, he warned that the problem was not so much the fall but the final impact and said the government needs to change its tack to avoid this.
"The economy, the workers and businesses need immediate support. The rationale of curtailing the rights of workers that ND obsessively chooses deepen the recession," said the MP, while he also slammed the draft bankruptcy law for promoting liquidations over protection.
The country would now need a far more generous programme than at the start of the pandemic, in the form of ready cash and not loans, and direct subsidies paid to workers, vulnerable groups and smaller businesses that will avert a new debt cycle, he added.
"We are already in a recession, for which ND is responsible from before the pandemic. The recession is already extremely deep. The question is that it should not also become extended," Tsakalotos said.