ATHENS – Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras visited the shopping high street in the Athens district of Egaleo on Thursday, where he spoke with shop owners and consumers about the explosive increase in prices in the last seven months, combined with shrinking incomes and the strong state intervention that is needed to address the problems.
In statements afterward, Tsipras claimed that Greeks have in the last seven months been subjected to the “Mitsotakis price hikes” as a result of the government’s tolerance of energy cartels. He stressed the need for an emergency plan to deal with high prices through state intervention in the market, noting that this can only be done by a progressive government.
“For seven months now we have been crying, reporting, that there is profiteering and a cartel in energy. Mr. Mitsotakis is lying, displaying tolerance of cartels and calls us populists,” Tsipras said.
Whereas a month ago in Parliament, the prime minister had claimed that there were no excess profits, on Wednesday he was forced to admit that these existed “but we don’t know where to find them” after the European Commission’s decisions and directive to that effect, the main opposition leader noted.
This amounted to 1.5 billion euros and was responsible for rising prices for basic goods, with inflation climbing to 7 pct, Tsipras added.
He also repeated his belief that the repercussions of the war in Ukraine have not yet become apparent in the market and that an emergency plan to support society and small businesses cope with the unprecedented wave of price hikes is essential. This must include cuts to the Special Consumption Tax for fuel and VAT on food, an increase of the minimum wage to 800 euros and a cap on the wholesale price for energy, as well as taxation of windfall profits, Tsipras concluded.