Greece announced that it will take additional steps to financially support its tourism sector, according to Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, who noted that that support measures will be maintained for as long as necessary and will begin to be withdrawn when conditions return to normal.
In his statements, he stressed that "we are expanding by as much as possible targeted restart measures in the sectors that really need even more support. We are planning some additional interventions. We are trying to find the relevant funds and when we are ready we will announce the moves."
At the same time, he said that "when the market returns to normal, then the support measures will begin to be withdrawn. The measures cannot be withdrawn tomorrow morning and must not be withdrawn. This is a key issue and priority of our country in the European forums where we discuss relevant interventions."
He added that this year and in 2022 there will be fiscal flexibility, but as long as we "leave the health crisis, the support measures should be gradually withdrawn, after ensuring the recovery of the economy, so that there is a fiscal adjustment".
Asked about the unfavorable scenario for the economy, he said that "there is an optimistic scenario for even greater growth of tourism beyond 45 percent of 2019 revenues which is the basic scenario. But it is obvious that as the Ministry of Finance we have adopted the unfavorable scenario, we have taken into account various factors of uncertainty which do not create a problem in the country in terms of funds available. We are building cash reserves to make sure we can be close to society."
Regarding the course of GDP, he stated that "based on the data we had from 2020, it seems that the market sense from the studies that have been published is that it will be above 4 percent in 2021. Europe also converges on these estimates without taking into account any positive side effects from the Recovery Fund.”
Restaurants to open after Easter
Given the current course of the pandemic, restaurants in the country will open for business again after Easter, said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
In comments to parliament, the Greek premier said that none of the businesses in the catering business will miss out on financial aid being offered by the state to get through the pandemic.
As he stated "in the catering sector, 6 out of 7 companies received a repayable advance payment. Despite the great financial difficulties and given the magnitude of the recession, the government moved quickly and largely met the demands of small and medium-sized enterprises. This does not mean that the recovery the next day will be automatic. It will need reinforcement the next day as well. My estimate is that restaurants will open after Easter based on the current epidemiological data."