Staikouras announces financial support measures during second lockdown

The Greek government on Thursday announced a 3.3-billion-euros package of additional support measures for enterprises and workers hit by the introduction of a second round of a lockdown in the country beginning Saturday.

These measures include a one-off financial support of 800 euros for workers put in suspension during November, expanding a fourth round of state loans to enterprises reaching 1.0 billion euros, the immediate return to property owners of 50 pct of damages because of the mandatory reduction of rents, expanding unemployment benefits by two monthsand offering a 400-euro financial support to 130,000 non-subsidised long-term unemployed people.

Presenting the measures after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had announced earlier in the day a lockdown in effect Saturday, Staikouras also announced a new plan to extend payment of bank cheques.

The minister said the government and its economic team must be and are in constant state of “war readiness”, reacting quickly and safeguarding the ammunition needed for this battle.

He said that the country’s cash reverses, totaling 37.5 billion euros, must be exploited prudently and responsibly and stressed that developments confirmed that the country must maintain an adequate “arsenal” since a return to normality will be late in coming.

He also noted that although fiscal measures taken in Europe to deal with the impact of the pandemic reached 4.0 pct of GDP on average in 2020, in Greece these measures have already surpassed 6.0 pct of GDP.

The lockdown was announced by the prime minister on Thursday and will be effective to the end of November.

Gov’t to extend and expand the support package

In comments to the public broadcaster ERT, Staikouras underlined that the support measures will move on four axes: support of workers, businesses liquidity, suspension of tax obligations and the reduction of rents.

The minister estimated that a full lockdown will cost over 2.3 billion euros while the final draft of the 2021 state budget will include a revised forecast for a deeper recession this year. He clarified, however, that in 2021 there will at least be no fiscal rules and targets in Europe, which will mean there is fiscal flexibility.