“It is now well known that the second wave of the pandemic is still raging across Europe. The cases have exceeded 15 million and the number of dead is around 250,000 every day,” government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Monday, during a press briefing held via video conference.
“In the maps released by the ECDC on Thursday, the entire EU is in the red with few exceptions, such as some parts of Greece,” he added.
“In our country, based on the latest data, the age group of 40-65 years, consistently shows the greatest impact. And then comes the age group of 19-39, which shows signs of stabilisation,” he said.
“Right now across Europe, health systems, as the prime minister underlined, are facing serious challenges, while in some countries, such as Switzerland, for example, they are sending patients to their neighbouring countries. The national health system in our country is already under great pressure, a fact that heralds another extremely difficult and critical week,” the government spokesperson underlined.
“The government continues to support the national health system. Already throughout the country, more than 1,230 ICU beds exist today compared with 557 left by the previous government,” Petsas said and added: “However, both the hospitals of Thessaloniki and the medical staff have reached their limits.”
“In a comprehensive plan, based on the equitable sharing of burdens between the state and private shareholders, the government will support Aegean, the largest air carrier in our country, which is impacted by the effects of the pandemic on social and economic activity and in particular travel and tourism,” the government spokesperson said.
“The state support plan of the airline sets as an integral part the capital increase of Aegean with the participation of its shareholders. It is already being evaluated to ensure formal approval by the competent authorities of the European Commission. It is noted that the decision of the government is compatible with the European framework of state aid to companies and sectors affected by the pandemic, such as the aviation sector,” he added.
He pointed out that “this is essentially a plan to strengthen the largest domestic airline, which resembles cases of state support of other major European airlines with the contribution of the state, but at the same time ensures the significant participation of private funds. At the same time, the Greek State will receive special options, in the form of warrants, for the purchase of shares in the company, which it will be entitled to exercise under specific conditions and for a certain period of time.”
As he said, the total amount of state support is expected to reach 120 million euros, an amount much lower than the support, worth more than 32 billion euros, which other European aviation companies have received or are about to receive. In addition, private participation is foreseen to be equal to half that of the state aid, ie 60 million euros as opposed to the 120 million euros from the state, which will come from the shareholders of Aegean.
In the first phase of the pandemic, the company took advantage of the horizontal measures adopted by the government for all sectors of the economy and the support of the world of employment.
Petsas also referred to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ programme and specifically his participation in a teleconference to be held at 17:30 for the presentation of the Development Plan for the Greek Economy, by the Pissaridis Committee.
The measures taken by the government to support the economy, in conditions of unprecedented health crisis, are recognised by our European partners as moving in the right direction, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Monday.
According to the budget, the total spending on measures to address the economic repercussions of the pandemic is expected to reach 31.4 billion euros, as an additional amount of 7.5 billion euros are foreseen in 2021.
As a result of the severe recession caused by the health crisis, the deterioration in the unemployment rate this year was unavoidable, as well as in the indicators related to the primary deficit and public debt as a percentage of GDP. However, the increase in unemployment in 2020 in Greece is smaller compared to other European member-states, thanks to the government’s successful health management policies. Unemployment is expected to fall relatively close to 2019 levels by 2021.
In the above context, the trust that our country enjoys both in the international markets and between its partners and creditors, as well as in the global investment community is underlined, a fact that is reflected in the continuing reduction of borrowing costs across the spectrum of the bond yield curve, he noted.