The Greek Finance Ministry announced on Thursday, a new 3.8-billion-euro round of support measures aimed at easing the burden of the economic slowdown which has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing the nation on Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said a total of 10 billion euros had been channelled into the economy to support it in the aftermath of Covid-19.
Greece has so far introduced three rounds of aid measures to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said that new wider measures were being examined on a day to day basis depending on the needs and conditions with the aim of offering equally distributed support to the society and to the economy.
More specifically, the third round of support measures focuses on employees and businesses, laid-off staff, the Easter bonus, bank measures, and budgetary planning.
Measure 1 – A total of 1,400,000 employees from Greece’s private sector – that have been or will be suspended from their employment contracts until April 30 by businesses affected by the health crisis – will receive an 800-euro subsidy out of a 2-billion-euro emergency fund. Self-employed professionals are also eligible for the benefit.
Measure 2 – Employees who were laid off or were forced to quit between March 1-17 are entitled to 800 euros of aid.
Measure 3 – The annual Easter bonus will remain in full and paid by all businesses to all employees. In view of the extraordinary situation, employers have the right to pay the Easter bonus by summer without penalties.
Measure 4 – Banks and loan managers will also support individual borrowers affected by the Covid-19 health crisis by offering a suspension in payments on their performing loans. Employees and the self-employed receiving the 800-euro handout will be given a three-month suspension of debt payments.
Measure 5 – A supplementary budget to include the finance ministry’s reserve increase by 4 billion euros will be tabled in the coming days.
The ministry has announced the special Activity Code Numbers indicating which industries are covered by the measures. The minister noted that the list of impacted industries is set to change as the pandemic unfolds.
Staikouras said he expects restricted growth for 2020 to 0 percent from an earlier pre-coronavirus projection of 2.8 percent.
Meanwhile, Greece’s borrowing costs dropped sharply after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced its decision to include Greek government bonds in an emergency assets purchases program this week.
This is the first time after 10 years of economic crisis that Greek government bonds – removed due to their low credit rating – will be included in the ECB’s purchases.