Salem Radio Network News Monday, September 26, 2022

World

Greek PM says pensions to rise for first time in more than a decade

By Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) -Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday the minimum wage would rise again next year and pensions would increase for the first time since the financial crisis erupted more than a decade ago.

The euro zone’s most indebted country received more than 260 billion euros of international loans between 2010 and 2015 in return for tough austerity, which included a series of pension and wage cuts.

After emerging from its third bailout in 2018, Greece exited its creditors’ so-called enhanced surveillance last month, giving it greater freedom in implementing economic policy.

“After many years, pensions will increase for 1.5 million pensioners,” Mitsotakis said during his annual economic policy speech from the northern city of Thessaloniki.

Mitsotakis, a conservative who faces a parliamentary election in 2023, said the rise in pensions will be indexed to GDP growth and inflation.

The minimum wage which, the government raised to 713 euros ($716) a month earlier this year, would go up again in May, he added, without giving a new figure.

His government will also abolish a so-called solidarity levy on private and public sector workers, a legacy of Greece’s multi-year debt crisis, he said.

Mitsotakis also promised further funding to cushion the impact of the energy crisis and soaring inflation on the nation’s households.

Greece has already spent about 8 billion euros ($8 billion) in power bill subsidies and other relief measures since last year.

Mitsotakis said the support will continue, with low-income earners getting a 250-euro handout each in December.

Some 1.3 million households will also be eligible for higher financial aid for heating over the winter, while those who opt for oil or other fuels for heating instead of gas or electricity will see that benefit doubled, he added.

All the measures he announced for this year and next will cost a total of 5.5 billion euros, he said.

Helped by strong growth thanks to better-than-expected tourism revenue this year, the government has decided to use any additional fiscal room to continue funding power bill subsidies.

Mitsotakis said Greek economy is seen growing by more than 5% this year, higher than a previous government forecast for a 3.1% GDP growth.

($1 = 0.9961 euros)

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki KoutantouEditing by Helen Popper and Andrew Heavens)

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