Greece is ready to spend part of its cash reserves to support its armed forces, the country’s Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Monday.
“The Prime Minister’s mandate is to reduce taxes as much as possible, to be close to the lower classes and to strengthen the the armed forces’ prevention force,” Staikouras said during an interview with Alpha TV.
During its decade-long debt crisis, under the terms of three international bailouts, Greece slashed its defence spending. The country emerged from its third bailout in August 2018.
“We have all the options to support the Armed Forces – and not just armaments programs,” he added.
His comments come as tensions between Greece and its NATO Turkey continue to escalate.
Greece has created a cash buffer of €34 billion from unused bailout funds and money raised from markets. The country was looking forward to an economic recovery this year but the coronavirus pandemic has turned its expectations upside down and the government now sees its economy shrinking up to 10%. ($1 = 0.8372 euros)