Mitsotakis and Tsipras meet online to discuss pandemic strategy for Greece

Mitsotakis and Tsipras
Mitsotakis and Tsipras
*Image Credit: EUROKINISSI

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held an e-meeting on Monday evening with former Prime Minister, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to discuss government strategy in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Both Mitsotakis and Tsipras agreed to restricting movement especially in transportation and in crowding.

During the e-meeting, the Prime Minister encouraged the leader of the Opposition to put forward suggestions to combat the pandemic and the impending economic crisis.

Tsipras stressed the importance of strengthening the public health system and encouraged the Prime Minister to use some 35 billion euros 'safety pillow' that the SYRIZA government handed over to the New Democracy government following its election.

"I proposed that the Prime Minister should pursue a cut in primary surplus targets by 1.5% of GDP this year, around 3 billion euros," set by the country's creditors, and urged that a coronavirus crisis budget "spending of at least 1% of GDP, or 2 billion euros, be exempted from the budgetary targets. This way, a total of at least 5 billion euros (will be available) to finance the crisis."

Tsipras also urged Mitsotakis to "add new ICU beds, and immediately announce the hiring of 4,000 permanent medical and nursing staff."

In addition, the SYRIZA leader also stressed that the government should "cover all the wage and insurance costs for businesses which must close as a measure against the coronavirus," and that there should be no redundancies at present.

He also underlined that the payment of freelancers' tax liabilities should be suspended.

On what the banking system could do to help during this time, Tsipras said that "I asked him to intervene so that banks suspend mortgage and business loans for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, and that they should also extend the protection of loans taken out on people’s primary residence equity."

Following his e-meeting with Alexis Tsipras, the Prime Minister had similar meetings with the leaders of other opposition parties.