Across-the-board support coming to an end

Across-the-board support coming to an end

As the economy prepares to gradually break free from the shackles imposed by the coronavirus restrictions, the government is drafting the transition from a generalized support system, focusing on the 800-euro allowance to employees, to targeted measures to boost corporate liquidity.

The relevant announcements will be made on Monday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The new cycle, as Finance Minister Christos Staikouras described it on Friday, will mean the cessation of the 800-euro allowance for workers returning to work as businesses reopen.

Speaking on Thema FM radio, Staikouras said the amount of the allowance will be adjusted, depending on when the companies will open and how many days the employees will be employed. 

He stressed that in the cases of companies that have suspended operations but are already asking their staff to return, “the state cannot give the employees 800 euros.” 

Support for businesses that remain closed will continue, he said.

The finance minister said that in the initial phase of the crisis “the state lifted the burden of the whole economy,” but added that in the second phase state support cannot take the same form “because it would far exceed the country’s fiscal resilience.”

In the second phase, businesses will be supported, provided they retain workers’ jobs.

Moreover, in addition to the sectoral measures that will be announced (for tourism, shipping etc), support will include the payment of interest by the state for three months on loans that are being serviced, a continuation of the refundable down-payment scheme as well as loans from the Development Bank.

What's more, support will also be available, stemming from the decisions taken by the Eurogroup.

According to Staikouras, about 1.5 billion euros is expected to be collected by Greece from the European Commission’s SURE program to boost employment, while European Investment Bank loans are also being looked at. 

What the government wants to avoid, Staikouras said, is using the 15.7-billion-euro ESM-supervised cushion.

A cushion of 20.9 billion euros, which is available to the general government and the central administration, has been allocated to meet the needs created by the pandemic. 

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