FINANCE

No room for new handouts now

no-room-for-new-handouts-now

Finance Ministry sources speak of new budget spending on covering the needs of the public health system due to the fresh wave of the pandemic, which further limits any scope for the so-called “social dividend,” ahead of the final draft of the 2022 budget, to be submitted by November 20.

Additional needs for doctors’ overtime and emergency shifts, replacing unvaccinated health workers and increased laboratory testing require extra spending of around 150 million euros in the last quarter of the year, according to estimates at the State General Accounting Office. This will be added to the €360 million for the subsidies to power bills in the same quarter, and the €200 million toward the heating subsidy.

“We have no room for any additional measures,” say ministry sources, adding that the government has to be cautious ahead of the start of discussions on the revision of the European Union’s Stability Pact. 

It must act prudently so as to strengthen its arguments in favor of flexibility and more moderate fiscal targets when the exemption period ends.