Kyriakos Mitsotakis gave the impetus for the start of the next stage for dealing with the crisis of the colon, which is that of stimulating the economy with constant health care, in the speech he addressed on Wednesday afternoon, announcing measures that raise their level. state interventions at € 24 billion. Job support, tax cuts, entrepreneurship boosts, are the three pillars of the program.
The Prime Minister noted the need for the country to be an example in the defence against the virus, and to become a model state for the return to prosperity. As he underlined, “I never hid the fact that the battle for life will have a heavy economic impact” while noting that especially for Greece the risk is perhaps greater, “not only because the crisis is hitting key areas such as tourism and catering.” But also because the pandemic stopped the course of the country at a time when it was rapidly entering a path of development “. He stressed that the autumn plan for how to return to the path of strong development will be followed, “so that in 2021, an emblematic year for our country, the country will move steadily towards its optimistic future.” The whole speech of the Prime Minister:
“My fellow citizens, I will contact you again at the end of the first round of the match with the pandemic. But also at the starting point of a new era, focusing on the economy and society. Because today I will present to you the government’s plan for the coming months. I will talk to you about how to protect the world of work. What tax deductions will be launched. How to increase liquidity in the market to support all businesses, small and large. And I will also tell you what we will do to stimulate the tourism industry, which is so vital to our country. To date, we have been able to reduce the spread of the virus. We shielded public health and reduced losses. We supported the income of the citizens and kept our businesses afloat. We have set an example for our country to deal with in the face of the health crisis. And we all did it together. Thank you for staying responsible even now, as the restrictive measures are gradually being lifted. With the same maturity and discipline, we are called to turn the coming months into a bridge, which from the defence of health will lead us to the attack on progress. To gain, then, the time and land lost in the storm. I never hid the fact that the battle for life will have a heavy economic impact. All over the world, after all, the cost is already huge: Unemployment in America exceeds 30 million. In Europe, too, production and demand are collapsing.
We are talking about a global economic crisis, the like of which we have not seen for three generations. Especially for Greece, the risk is perhaps greater. Not only because the crisis is hitting key areas, such as tourism and catering. But also because the pandemic stopped the course of the country at a time when it was rapidly entering a path of development. January and February were great months for the economy. But they already seem so far away. We must, therefore, re-seize the thread of progress, so that from country-example to defence against the virus, we can become a model state for the return to prosperity. Our valuable weapons will be the trust that has been built between citizens and the State. But also the pace of society, guided by an organized government plan. We will thus pass from the stage of the health proposal with the support of the economy, to that of stimulating the economy with constant vigilance in health. To follow the autumn plan on how to get back on the path of strong growth. So that in 2021, an emblematic year for our country, the country will walk steadily towards its optimistic future.
My fellow citizens, The program of transition from today’s uncertainty to tomorrow’s security will raise the level of our interventions to 24 billion. And it is based on three pillars: job support, tax reduction, business stimulation. In other words, it has the following characteristics: It strengthens the cohesion of society, protecting jobs. It relieves households by reducing their daily expenses. And it makes it easier for the world of the market to mobilize again. In other words, this set of measures also has a social stamp and a development signature. However, it is adapted to the needs of a specific period. The key to planning is an extraordinary and temporary SYN-WORK program for employment. As its name implies, it is the partnership of the state and all the forces of production, so that jobs are not lost in this difficult time. I would like to remind you that so far in Greece the number of redundancies has been lower than in other European countries. Almost all workers and professionals in the country have been paid higher wages. While the state fully covered their insurance contributions. This favourable regime extends not only to May but also to June and July for the most affected sectors. From now on, however, the subsidy work subsidy will be combined with real employment financing. I met hoteliers who asked me how they would employ all their staff when this year the number of customers will be much less than those who usually host. The same problem is faced by catering professionals, who reopen on Monday when their stores arrive after three months. They are right. I listened to them and I answer them:
Businesses that have seen their turnover disappear and are now facing lower demand will be able to adjust their employees’ working hours by the end of October. The latter, however, if they need to work less, will continue to be paid almost the same salary. And with their insurance contributions fully covered. In what way; Because the COOPERATION program will cover most of the difference in pay. And, of course, the basic salary will remain the security limit. While all unemployment benefits are extended so that no one is left unprotected. In short, this mechanism of boosting employment, on the one hand, allows businesses that have been hit to breathe, reducing labour costs and allowing them to be flexible in their staffing. On the other hand, it shields employment, excluding any dismissal of an employee entering this context, and protects wages. In the dilemma, therefore, of “unemployment benefit or labour aid”, I choose labour aid. It is the only responsible and realistic answer to the padlocks that now threaten all economies. I reiterate that this is a temporary intervention. This path is followed by countries such as Germany, France and Austria, in order to stop the attack on unemployment.
The SYN-ERGASIA program is funded by the European SURE program. In the first phase, it will cost 1 billion euros. And of course, we have not yet taken into account in our plan the European funds that we will receive from the European recovery fund. The joint initiative of France and Germany, announced a few days ago, is an important step towards a real Europe of solidarity. My fellow citizens, the second part of the plan concerns the tax relief of citizens and businesses. Especially in tourism, transport, catering and culture. Thus, for the next five months, the VAT is reduced from 24% to 13% on each type of ticket on public transport. I know the importance of the cheapest travel by bus, ship or plane. And I want those who move and go on vacation in the summer to do so at the lowest possible cost. Soon, support programs for domestic tourism will also be announced for our weakest fellow citizens. At the same time, we reduce VAT on coffee products and non-alcoholic beverages. But also in the tickets of the summer cinemas. People of art and culture are also included in the new program. And they will be further strengthened with special provisions in the coming weeks. These are cuts that rejuvenate consumption. They stimulate purchasing power. But they are also increasing the turnover of tourism and catering professionals. For them, the rent reduction by 40% is extended for the whole summer. And one thing, I think, that’s crucial: Tax advancement is finally declining. Indeed, it is unfair to be required to pay taxes on the basis of any profits in one year, when these – especially this year – will be much less. The tax advance, then, will be bravely reduced. And the exact percentage will be announced soon, after a study. I will note, however, that tax cuts on consumption will be temporary. They are, as I explained, bridges to cross the recession side of the development bank as painlessly as possible. Third pillar: Strengthening business liquidity. The second phase of the refundable advance is launched in May. In fact, it extends to companies that may not meet the criteria of the first stage. Another 1 billion will be allocated for this program. The Business Guarantee Fund is also being activated, mobilizing 7 billion by 2020.
Businesses will thus have the opportunity for quick and easy financing, with the State guaranteeing up to 80% of the loans. And finally, by September, the payments of bankruptcies and loan instalments that companies of specific sectors have been suspended. The details will be analyzed shortly by the competent Ministers. And there will be a special reference to tourism. The tourist season starts on June 15, the date from which seasonal hotels can open. And from July 1, the direct foreign flights to our tourist destinations will gradually start. Our visitors will be given sample tests and our general health protocols will be observed, which will not overshadow, however, either our bright sun or the natural beauty of Greece. Our weapon is the passport of security, reliability and health that our country has won. Her great fame. The sanitary shield, in every place of hospitality. And of course, the passion of the Greek who is always inspired by Xenios Zeus. But let’s face it – in April and May, tourism was on the rise. So, what we achieve this year will be a profit. And I will say it again: The priority is to protect jobs. And to help industry professionals prepare their big counterattack in 2021. Because defending employment is a prerequisite for a return to growth. And massive job losses mean nothing more than an increase in inequalities.
My fellow citizens, As we won the battle for health, we will win the war on the economy. However, we must show the same discipline, the same adaptability and the same solidarity that caused the global admiration for Greece. My mission is to see the big picture and to share the burden of the crisis as fairly as possible. Yes, we are in uncharted waters. But we have proved, as a people, that we are not afraid of difficulties. Most of all, we are not afraid to change. How many stereotypes have not collapsed these months? The Greek, who some said thought individually, became a conscious part of a collective effort. And the state, which often made reasonable complaints, became a shield for us when needed. It didn’t just work, but it was modernized and made more efficient. Trust has taken the place of the old suspicion. We trusted each other. And all together, we believed in the State. I am sure that these relics will not become castles in the sand that will be extinguished by the summer wave. But that depends on all of us. I know that for many of you, hope and fear coexist. Let’s keep positive emotions as ammunition for the coming battle. Personally, I feel stronger, have faced in a few months – and almost at the same time – the challenge of the economy, the storm of immigration and the threat of a global pandemic. Everything was difficult. But we did well. That’s why I’m optimistic about the next day. Because my goal remains one: Greece to maintain its right to change and become better and better! At the beginning of the bridge we have to cross, then, I ask you to make an epilogue to the crisis this summer and a prelude to the rebirth. With renewed pride and faith in our strengths. And as always, with a compass the realism and with our map the studied plan. And rest assured, we will do it together again! ”