State help for low earners

The government is planning to give out gratuity payments of up to 200 euros to about 2 million Greeks under a plan to reinforce low-wage-earners’ incomes, while at the same time seeking ways to cushion the tourist industry from the effects of a protracted war in Iraq, sources told Kathimerini. The allowance is the result of the fallout from the international global recession, rising inflation and the consequences of the bad weather that afflicted most of the country earlier this year, destroying crops and livestock and causing severe damage to the rural road network. A leading Finance Ministry official said the gratuity would be in the form of an allowance. The ministry is considering giving the allowance to pensioners with the OGA farmers’ fund, the long-term unemployed, low-income earners and pensioners at the lower end of the pension scale who already receive the special Social Solidarity Allowance (EKAS) to supplement their meager monthly revenues. The General Accounting Office has already drawn up a list of those entitled to the new allowance, which is expected to go to 2 million low-income pensioners, 400,000 unemployed, 200,000 retired farmers, and certain groups of individuals residing in border areas. The allowance will be issued in two installments. Meanwhile, government tourism officials are thinking of launching an advertising campaign based on Greece’s hosting of the 2004 Olympics in order to contain the damage to the country’s tourist industry in the event of a protracted war in Iraq. Sources say the Greek National Tourism Organization is thinking of a campaign based on the slogan «Truce – Olympic Games 2004.»

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