Greece to Take Further Action to Mitigate Rising Energy Prices
(Bloomberg) -- The Greek government announced further measures to support consumers as surging energy prices burden households and businesses.
“The new protection measures concern households, businesses and farmers and cover electricity bills, the cost of heating from electricity, gas and oil, as well as regulated network charges,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told lawmakers ahead of a vote on the country’s 2022 budget.
Greece already allocated support worth 620 million euros ($697 million) that ran until the beginning of December. With a decline in energy prices now seen coming later than initially expected, the government will extend help through December and into early 2022 if needed, the premier said.
New measures include higher state subsidies for covering the rise in power charges, and a bigger reduction in natural gas bills, Mitsotakis said.
Despite pressure from energy prices, Mitsotakis said the government’s estimate for growth of 6.9% in 2021 was “conservative,” with current economic expansion already above the pre-pandemic level.
At this week’s European leaders summit, Mitsotakis urged the European Commission to examine all options to address rising prices. In October, his administration also called on the European Union to tap the bloc’s carbon market for extra revenue.
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The Greek government is under pressure after the publication of a study, co-signed by the head of the country’s health committee to fight the pandemic, which says that mortality of severely ill Covid-19 patients is being adversely affected by a high patient load.
The opposition says that Mitsotakis isn’t doing enough to tackle the problem, and opposition leader Alexis Tsipras called on him to resign and to hold a general election.
“If there is one politician in the country today who would really benefit from an election, it would not be you, but me,” Mitsotakis told Tsipras, adding that a national ballot will take place at the end of his term and not before.
Separately, Mitsotakis said Greece will take delivery of the first Rafale fighters in January and will sign the final deal to buy three French Belharra frigates in the coming weeks.
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