NEWS

PM says any aid to help households tackle energy prices will be targeted

PM says any aid to help households tackle energy prices will be targeted

The measures to relieve Greek citizens of the sudden rise in energy bills will be targeted rathen than across the board, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says in a wide-ranging interview covering spiking energy prices, a government pledge to raise the minimum wage and football violence which was broadcast on Skai TV on Saturday morning.

“No [support] measures without assessment. We have certain budgetary targets. Those who announce measures without having any idea how to implement them are out of place. There will be no indiscriminate handouts. Only targeted measures for the weakest,” he told Skai.

“We will continue to provide this support for as long as the upheaval in the energy market continues, which we hope will be temporary.”

Mitsotakis said he expects a deescalation of the steep cost by May, while he justified announcing measures month by month “because it is a technical issue – every month we must check the limitations of the system so that we can provide targeted support. There will be support in March and April, and we hope that by spring we will have a significant deescalation of energy prices.”

He also announced that solidarity fee deductions on pensioners’ and civil servants’ monthly checks will be abolished as of 2023, and will gradually be applied to every Greek within that year.

Concerning the minimum wage, he said it will be applied as of May 1. “I cannot tell you by how much, but the increase of the minimum wage will be much higher than the 2% we already provided, which is a low rise. My wish is to go as far as the small and medium-sized enterprises can handle,” he said.

Mitsotakis also addressed sports violence in the wake of the heinous murder of a young football fan in Thessaloniki by members of an opposing club, he said there will be no suspension of sentences for those who are convicted in such cases. In addition, organized football fans will only be able to attend games with seasonal tickets. 

“If we do not resolve the issue of violence now, we never will,” he said, adding that his government will have “explicit announcements by related ministries, and the legal framework will become stricter in order to be able to deal with such phenomena of violence.”

He also warned professional football clubs and opponents of the new measures that legislation will become stricter. “The football clubs are also responsible: there is a stricter framework in place since 2019, but we saw that a lot of fan clubs operate without rules. This will change. There is a legislative framework, and if some few hooligans are outraged, too bad. I am sorry, but this is not what Greek football is about, these are not Greek football fans.”

Asked about the possibility of early elections, Mitsotakis reiterated that they will take place at the end of the term while rejecting the possibility of changing the electoral law. “We have an electoral law and with it we will go to the polls and I believe we will win them,” he said.

[Kathimerini, AMNA]