With the price of unleaded fuel soaring steadily above 2 euros per liter in cities and close to €2.50 in Greece’s provinces and islands, the government is mulling the inclusion of a subsidy for gas in its new support package for households and businesses that will be presented next week.
However, even in the case of petrol and diesel, consumer support will be targeted, meaning that there will be no horizontal reduction of a tax, due to budgetary costs, but instead targeted measures for the economically vulnerable.
Speaking after the conclusion of a two-day summit of European Union leaders in France on Friday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis insisted “we have to intervene in smart and not horizontal ways.”
Echoing the same sentiment, a government source told Kathimerini that the idea is to support those who actually need it. “We don’t want someone driving a Cayenne in Ekali or a Ferrari in Glyfada to benefit,» the source said, referring to two affluent Athens suburbs.
Speaking to Skai TV late last night, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the government is aware of the reality. “We have an idea of how much households are burdened and we are trying to find and exhaust the fiscal space and there will probably be other measures and other interventions,” he said.
The government also intends to maintain reduced value-added tax on food and drinks services and on transport in the second half of the year, which will cost an additional €250 million in the budget.
What’s more, the government wants to maintain the abolition of the solidarity levy in the private sector and extend it to the public sector as well, so as to maintain reduced social security contributions in 2023. This will bring an additional cost of €2.1 billion next year.
Meanwhile, Mitsotakis expressed Greece’s opposition to a ban on Russian gas imports, stressing that it is not possible, “from one moment to the next,” to slash the imports of fossil fuels from Russia to zero.
Greece, Mitsotakis noted, has a “very important role to play” in finding alternative gas suppliers, both as a gateway for liquified natural gas (LNG) imports and as a country with deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean. What’s more, he referred to the fact that “Greek shipowners control more than 20% of the LNG transport fleet worldwide.”