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Politics

Tsipras: Opening of Retail Does Not Eliminate Need to Help Businesses Stay Afloat

January 18, 2021

ATHENS — Reopening the retail sector should not be used as an "excuse" for not taking measures to support businesses, main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said in a social media post on Monday.

The main opposition leader proposed four specific measures that the government can take, including: the conversion of the repayable advance into a non-returnable grant; covering the social insurance contributions of employees in order to protect jobs in the period after the lockdown; generous debt settlement schemes for private debt generated during the pandemic, including partial debt haircuts; and the final withdrawal of the government's new bankruptcy law, whose implementation it had now repeatedly postponed and which, in a time of crisis, would ensure only mass foreclosures and the bankruptcies of businesses and households.

He also welcomed the opening of shops as a "first-class opportunity to support our local shops and small businesses, while observing the necessary protection measures" and appeared confident that the market would get some much-needed relief "in spite of the drastically reduced purchasing power of the citizens".

He warned, however, that many of these were now seeking a lifeline to stay afloat and not sink under the weight of debts and other accumulated obligations, adding that many will be forced to close for good – leaving thousands without work – unless the government takes active steps to support them.

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