Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced twelve new government support measures to support Greece’s businesses and workers who are still recovering from the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.
The measures, which include tax cuts, employment subsidies and extension of reduced VAT on transport and travel packages, total 6.8 billion euros.
Speaking during the Thessaloniki Helexpo Forum on Saturday, the Greek PM referred to the measures as “12 steps of confidence”, underlining that four are aimed at supporting employment, three at boosting the liquidity of businesses and five at supporting the income of vulnerable groups.
“These are twelve steps of confidence that form a roadmap for the coming months, but also for 2021, so that the economy stays standing for further reorganization and development,” Mitsotakis said.
1. The insurance contributions of employers and employees of the private sector in 2021 will be reduced by three units, to 36.7 percent. (An employee with a net salary of 1,016 euros will have an annual benefit of 158 euros. The company will benefit by 301 euros.)
2. The so-called solidarity levy will be suspended for a year for private sector employees, the self employed and farmers. (An employee with a salary of 2,000 euros will benefit 361 euros.)
3. A subsidy program for 100,000 new job positions will be established. For each new employee hired, the state will cover the insurance contributions of the employee and employer, provided that no jobs are cut. A company that will hire a long-term unemployed person will have a subsidy of 200 euros.
4. The Syn-Ergasia employment program for businesses will be extended until the end of 2020. The possibility of temporary suspension of employee contracts in the sectors of food and beverage, transport, tourism, sports, culture, artists and tourist guides will also be extended for October.
5. The third phase of the repayable advance measure, which will reach 1.5 billion euros, will open mainly for small enterprises (that do not have cash registers) active in the fields of food and beverage, tourism, transport, culture and sports. A fourth phase will follow in November worth 600 million euros.
6. Introduction of an over-depreciation measure for 3 years (2021-2023) at 200 percent for digital and green fixed capital investments.
7. Retroactive pension payments of 1.4 billion euros will take place in October, while 460 million will be paid to beneficiaries in December due to Greece’s new way of calculating pensions.
8. The unified property tax (ENFIA) will be abolished from 2020 for 28 small Greek islands, including Kastelorizo, Ai Strati and Gavdos.
9. Suspension of debt payments (tax, insurance contributions) until April 2021 for those employed in affected sectors affected during the crisis.
10. The reduced VAT on transport (train, metro and tram, city and intercity buses, airplane, ferry), coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, cinemas and tourism services (travel packages) is extended for six months.
11. Auctions of main residences of vulnerable households will be suspended until the end of 2020. As of January 2021, vulnerable citizens will have the opportunity to join a new debt settlement scheme that will be announced.
12. All unemployment benefits that have just expired are extended for another 2 months and the number of stamps (ensima in Greek) required for the granting of the aid is reduced to 50, instead of 100. The measure includes seasonal workers.
“This action plan addresses the complex problems that the coronavirus has caused on both the economy and society,” PM Mitostkais said, adding that it combines the extension of previous effective measures with new ones that respond to the current conditions.