ATHENS – After refraining from criticism as the New Democracy government worked to contain the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, major opposition Radical Left SYRIZA leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras outlined his ideas for an economic comeback.
Tsipras, who ruled for 4 ½ years before being ousted by the Conservatives and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in July 7, 2019 snap elections, told a Leftist crowd at Zappeion Hall his scheme is focused on pumping in 13.4 billion euros ($14.68 billion) to households.
He also said he would help workers, the unemployed and independent business owners who had suffered under austerity measures his government imposed after he broke his word that he wouldn’t implement any.
“There is no one in the world who believes that recovery is easy or simple. And there is no serious economist, regardless of ideology, who believes that recovery can come without injecting money into the market,” he said of his Menoume Orthioi II plan (Greek for We Remain Standing) reported Kathimerini.
The program includes the introduction of an emergency wage that was unspecified, a cut in the Value Added Tax (VAT) in the food sector to 6 percent – his government raised it to 23 percent – a reduction of pre-paid tax for businesses by 50 percent, special loan-guarantee tools through the Development Bank, and a subsidized program for domestic tourism for three million Greeks.
He didn’t say why he didn’t do that while trying to bring an economic recovery during his term during which he sought – after saying that he wouldn’t – a third bailout of 86 billion euros ($94.23 billion) from international creditors that came with brutal austerity he swore to reject but then implemented while saying it wasn’t his fault because he had no choice.
Nor did he mention that New Democracy had already put 17.5 billion euros ($19.18 billion) into supporting workers laid off during a lockdown that began March 23 and started being lifted weekly on May 4 with additional openings of businesses that also received financial aid.