The government will announce its additional support measures against the impact of the pandemic next week, if deemed necessary according to health data and the condition of enterprises.
At this stage the measures under examination mainly concern the extension of furloughs and not any additional financial support for businesses.
Finance Minister Christos Staikouras did not rule out any extra measures on Monday. Speaking on state radio, he said the ministry is ready to announce measures in line with the decisions to be made by the health experts and authorities at the end of this week. “The Finance Ministry will act according to the extent of the problem. When we have more data, by the end of the week, we will assess more sectors and act accordingly,” he stated.
The contract suspension measure for workers is currently in place for January, concerning businesses that have been forced to stop playing music and close at midnight. Its possible expansion will likely concern the sectors of food service and culture, if they are found to have suffered according to their online transaction statistics.
Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis stated that the new support measures will be “particularly targeted and rationed,” and if it becomes possible to lift the existing restrictions on January 16, as has been announced, the government will cover the businesses proven to have suffered from the restrictions.
“I cannot possibly rule any measure out as long as there is uncertainty on the health front. We will decide how we will respond based on developments and the fiscal strength of the country,” said Staikouras.
His alternate, Thodoros Skylakakis, stressed the need “to be more cautious this year” on the fiscal front, speaking on Open TV. He noted that “after spending 40 billion euros on [tackling] the pandemic, we ought to be cautious in order to keep the economy on track, which we are.”
Skylakakis went on to explain that after two years of major fiscal deficits, the next stage has got to be more sensible in fiscal terms. This year the deficit will be smaller and next year there should be a primary surplus.