Alternate Labour Minister Rania Antonopoulou on Monday announced that she has already initiated a process for reimbursing the money she was given as a rent subsidy for her Athens apartment and asked that voters judge her for her work. In any case, she stated, she remains at the prime minister’s disposal.
Antonopoulou referred to Law 4336/2015, which “entitles non-parliamentary members of the government to receive a residence allowance if they do not have a privately owned residence in Athens”, and on this basis, “I have requested and received a significant amount as a rent subsidy. All deputies living outside Athens have made use of the provision since 1994 without any other income conditions.”
“As of August 2017, when the period for which I applied for the grant ended, I stopped receiving it because I did not file a new application. Since the corresponding provision has applied since 1994 and is still followed without ever being questioned, and since all my actions were in accordance with the law, I did not understand that there was anything controversial or doubtful about my choice, as the subsidy is part of my payment,” she argued.
“It was never my intention to scandalise public opinion, nor to offend the Greek people. I am fully aware that my fee for the services I provide comes from their labours. Especially in this period of crisis, when thousands fear for their homes, incomes and loans, I realize that every benefit is considered outrageous, even if it’s legal. I also understand that my financial situation, as shown by the wealth statements I have made, has strengthened people’s indignation,” she added.
“Three years ago,” she added,” when Alexis Tsipras proposed me as a state deputy and then as a minister, I accepted the honour without a second thought about what I would leave behind.”
Antonopoulou said that she remained at the Prime Minister’s disposal, underlining that “Since I did not come to Greece to become richer and because my sole concern was always to serve my country’s effort to overcome the economic crisis, I say that I have already initiated the reimbursement process.”
“I am asking all citizens to judge me for my work, as reflected by the decline in unemployment, not just today but especially during the first two difficult years of our governance,” she underlined.