Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras visited the high street in the Piraeus district of Korydallos on Friday and spoke with passers-by and shop owners about the sharp price increases and the high cost of energy, fuel and supermarkets.
As he highlighted, this has resulted in drastic reduction of incomes and turnover, the increase of private debt and the hugely increased cost of mortgage and loan repayments, under the looming threat of mass-scale foreclosure auctions of even primary residences.
"This Christmas will be, unfortunately, one of the most difficult in the last 10 years for a majority in Greek society. The hike in prices devastates incomes, households and enterprises are in despair, while at the same time certain big business groups are profiteering," Tsipras said.
"The government gives them the opportunity to make billions in excessive profits while they hand out pin money to the vast majority of the people," the party leader added.
Tsipras explained that his party's programme will not resolve all the problems but it will give society some relief and restore justice.
"I wish that this Christmas will be the last that finds the Greek people sunk in the mire of injustice, inequalities, exploitation and corruption and that hope will soon be reborn," he concluded.
Elsewhere, The government is almost doubling the amount allocated to subsidising electricity rates in January to 840 million euros, Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas announced on Friday. The minister repeated that the government will continue to support households and businesses for as long as the crisis lasts.
The amount of the subsidy is January starts at 0.33 euros per KW hour for monthly consumption of up to 500 KW hours, irrespective of income, covering nine in 10 households and 87 pct of the hike in prices.
The amount of the subsidy will then drop to 0.28 euros per KW hour for consumption levels between 500-1000 KW hours and then drops again to 0.19 euros for consumption levels exceeding 1000 KW hours.
In the higher consumption brackets, the subsidy will increase by an additional 0.05 euros if consumption levels decrease by at least 15 pct relative to the previous year.
The subsidy for Social Residential Tariffs is higher at 0.378 euros, while for businesses it is 0.292 euros for up to 2000 KW hours and 0.134 euros for higher consumption.
For natural gas, the subsidy of 20 euros per MW hour from DEPA will continue.
The minister also commented on the price cap agreed by the EU energy ministers' council, noting that this provided an essential solution. According to Skrekas, if the mechanism had been adopted earlier, the cap would have been imposed more than 30 days in the last year, saving huge amounts that were spent on natural gas.
"Europe proved - once again - what solidarity means in critical times. It means unity, by overcoming disagreements and individual goals. Dialogue and negotiation are today the great weapon of United Europe for common action, common decisions and common policies," Skrekas said.
He also noted that Greece and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis were taking the lead in Europe with specific and realistic proposals, with the Greek prime minister being the first to write to the European Commission president to propose a cap on natural gas prices in Europe.
On the financing of the subsidies in Greece for January, he said the funds will come from taxing the excess profits of power producers and providers and revenue generated by carbon auctions.