The government’s focus is the “systematic increase of per capital real income, in order to gradually bring it in line with the European average,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said in Parliament on Tuesday prior to a plenary vote on the 2021 draft budget.
The prerequisite for this, he stressed, is a rise in employment, a reduction in unemployment, the support of productivity in work, a rise in productive capital, new investments, and the integration of new technologies and innovative production methods.
Staikouras said that despite the pandemic, Greece “did comparatively well, at all levels and areas, and society showed strength and resilience.”
Greece, he said, had comparative advantages and a well-trained human capital that the government’s policies sought to highlight and support. He refuted charges of the main opposition SYRIZA that the budget was not strengthening social cohesion, and provided supporting actions initiatied by the government for the unemployed, low-income earners, and vulnerable families, among others.
In addition, unlike Greece, most countries in Europe – including Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden – provided only partial support for workers, calling on business owners to provide the rest.
The Finance minister said that the priorities for 2021 included: 1. Support for businesses and employers, 2. Strengthening of the Armed Forces with higher expenditures, 3. The completion of a realistic and amibitious development plan, including reductions in taxes and insurance payments, and 4. Funding social support measures and innovative businesses, including the cyclical economy and the fair transition from lignite dependency, among others.