A little more than a year ago the first coronavirus case was reported in Greece.
The country entered a first strict lockdown in the spring of 2020, opened up for tourism in the summer and entered a second tough lockdown at the end of year.
The Greek government has spent about 27 billion euros so far to ease the impact of the pandemic crisis on businesses and households.
The main measures taken are:
- Refundable “Advance Payment”. In practice it is a a refundable financial assistance that has disbursed 6.8 billion euros so far to 544,591 companies and self- employed. Part of the funds received will be paid back to the state
- Special Purpose Allowances. € 500 million has been disbursed to more than 500,000 self- employed and small businesses with up to 20 employees
- Special Purpose Compensation to employees whose employment has been temporarily suspended. Approximately 3 billion euros have been disbursed to 1,727,577 beneficiaries, while an additional 1.5 billion euros is the cost of full coverage of their insurance contributions.
- A 270 million euros financing of insurance contributions for seasonal employees
- Suspension of payroll taxes and insurance contributions of a total cost of 1.5 billion euros. Also 250 million euros of VAT deductions
- Extension of unemployment benefits
- Loans amounting to 7.3 billion euros have been disbursed to 31,235 companies.
- Companies whose operation has been suspended due to the pandemic have been acquitted from municipal fees, at a cost of 200 million euros.
- Targeted measures to support the primary sector, culture, sport and transport, at a cost of € 300 million.
- A cut in VAT rate on beverages, transport, coffee, cinema and theatre tickets, concerts, the tourist package and personal hygiene products at a cost of 200 million euros.
- Reduction of rents owned by businesses that have been forced to close down, with the state paying part of the discount to the real estate owners.
The Greek Ministry of Finance says that the financial support given to Greek businesses and households “has far exceeded any support package given in the post-war history of the country, while it is above the average of the member states of the European Union.”
The European Commission sees a 10% recession of the Greek economy in 2020, predicting a rebound of 3,5% of GDP in 2021.
“A swift policy response has helped cushion the impact on employment and businesses so far” notes the European Commission in its Automn 2020 Economic Forecast for Greece. “Economic activity in 2021 is expected to be supported by the additional fiscal measures presented in the draft budget, while funding from the Recovery and Resilience Facility is not included in the forecast.”