Greece will be a stronger and better country post-pandemic: PM

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took the opportunity on Monday to praise the Greek public for their co-operation during the crisis, whilst relaying a message of hope for the future.

"The crisis may hurt us but it will have armed us also with valuable experiences in order to build a stronger and more modern state," Mitsotakis said, calling on the people to continue observing the restrictions in order to think strategically of the future. After drawing a parallel between Easter Week, he said that persistence and courage will lead the country to a resurrection.

In a brief but succinct message, the PM warned that losses in lives would have been greater if the government had followed any other policy. He said he will persist in the policy dictated by medical and other specialists in the field so that life may return to normalcy gradually. "Above all, we will continue for a long time to protect older people and all those suffering from serious and chronic illnesses," he said.

Greeks will have a different attitude toward each other after the pandemic and will appreciate each other more, especially the people at the front lines of the disease, he said. "This will be the face of a future Greece, of wellbeing and solidarity."

From the very start, he noted, the government took measures to support incomes and allocated over 14 billion euros to support workers and businesses, and is also accessing another 10 billion euros in liquidity and European funding. "Already, 750,000 workers are collecting the supplement of 800 euros," he said, "while nearly 200,000 unemployed people got an extension of their benefits. In more than 500,000 businesses, all tax and insurance obligations have been suspended, while 85,000 scientists have signed up for subsidized online trainings."

He also announced that 155,000 of long-term unemployed would receive an emergency supplement of 400 euros.

At the same time, Mitsotakis warned that the economy would face a recession in 2020, as a repercussion from the pandemic, but that recovery would be strong in 2021. "The recession will be great, but the recovery could be much greater in 2021." The burden of the crisis will be shared in a fair manner, he asserted, "so that everyone shares in the blast of growth that will follow."

In addition, he spoke of a National Health System being built under emergency pandemic conditions. "In just five weeks, things were accomplished that had not been done in decades," he said and reiterated his goal of increasing the number of beds in intensive care units of hospitals to approach the EU average. This will help in the likelihood that the pandemic returns in the winter, he underlined, while he also noted the preparedness includes procedures such as prescription writing which have moved online.

*Image Credit: iLarissa