|Posted by moodhacker on December 9, 2016 at 1:20 PM|
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on Thursday, December 9, an extra benefit for low income pensioners and the suspension of an increase of the VAT on the islands of the northern Aegean while the refugee crisis continues.
Speaking in a televised address on public broadcaster ERT, he said the government will redistribute 617 million euros to 1,600,000 Greeks who receive a pension lower than 850 euros per month. Concerning the VAT whose increase forms part of an already agreed batch of measures with the creditors, he said the government intends to respect a deal with the institutions to increase the tax.
“With the sacrifices of the Greek people, Greece is shouldering the weight of the refugee and economic crisis for Europe. And the time has come for Europe to recognize that,” he said.
“It has been the government’s pledge to redistribute every euro of surplus from available sources to our weaker citizens. Today, staying true to this pledge, we decide the immediate redistribution of the outperformance of 2016 revenues to low-income pensioners,” he added.
As it has been publicly revealed some hours later, European creditors were not previously informed for such a distribution Government officials say that such a benefit is consistent with the summer 2015 MoU.
Speaking to Kathimerini, a European official said the IMF usually opposed such moves. While Greece remained within its targets and the extra provisions would be funded through the surplus, the state had still to pay off a series of expired debts to third parties.
The day Alexis Tsipras made the announcements, protests had been earler held in cities around Greece, and a 24-hour strike had paralyzed daily life. More than 7,000 demonstrators marching in the capital of Athens and 5,000 in Thessaloniki, the country’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki.
One in two Greeks are assumed to be unemployed today — with most no longer receiving any state benefits, and in most Greek families , the pensioners supports the loss of income and the constant , unstoppable payments every household is condemned to in taxes, loans and bills.