We return the dividend of development in a fair way by primarily supporting our weakest fellow citizens” noted Kyriakos Mitsotakis in his presentation to the cabinet, underlining that “we are not going to accept any deviation from the fiscal goals”.
“We are able to implement the measures because our economy has done better than expected.”
The prime minister made a special reference to the “My Home” program and specifically to the housing loans with favorable terms for young people provided for in the said program. “The interventions reach 1.8 billion euros. Essentially, we want the consideration for the installment of the housing loan to be lower than the rent that would be paid for the same apartment.”
The agenda of the meeting is rich, however, the presentation by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Kostis Hatzidakis, of the housing policy bill dominates.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues. We are meeting again today with a rich agenda, which this time also includes a report.
You will remember that a month ago we had a discussion and I requested that the rates of implementation of all our priorities be checked on a constant basis and I am primarily referring to the measures that we had announced at the International Exhibition of Thessaloniki, which essentially span two time cycles.
Their timely implementation is obviously critical, as they are all measures that increase the disposable income of our fellow citizens. It is the second pillar against precision, next to the national program of energy support.
From a set of 31 measures, almost a third has already been voted, among them the discount of 25 cents per liter on heating oil, a measure which concerns 1.3 million households. It has been voted to abolish the solidarity levy for 2,700,000 of our fellow citizens and it will start to be implemented from 1/1/2023.
It has been voted to increase the housing allowance for students, from 1,000 to 1,500 euros, under conditions, if they choose the solution of cohabitation, to 2,000 euros. Exemption from registration fees for small and medium-sized enterprises that make permanent hires, but also the maintenance of reduced VAT on a range of products and services.
A series of arrangements will be launched next month: the most important perhaps being the extraordinary payment of the €250 allowance to more than 2 million of our vulnerable fellow citizens for the month of December. The permanent reduction of social security contributions by 3 units, the discount of 40% for one year on the obligations of employers who convert part-time positions to full-time positions. And the extension of the maternity allowance from 6 to 9 months for women employed in the private sector, a measure that concerns more than 30,000 of our fellow citizens.
The Joint Ministerial Decision on the higher heating allowance will be signed by the end of the week. I want to remind you that this year we will allocate 300 million instead of 174 million that we allocated last year, to more than 1 million beneficiaries.
And, an important intervention, the increase by 200,000 of those participating in the “Recycle – Change Device” program, which has been embraced by many of our fellow citizens and we felt it necessary to increase the budget so as to cover as many as possible.
I want to remind, once again, that we are able to launch all these measures precisely because our economy has done better than expected, because we have wisely created additional fiscal space.
But I will repeat once more that – in consultation with the financial staff – we will not accept any deviation from the fiscal goals we have set for both 2022 and 2023.
However, we demonstrate in practice that we have the ability and willingness to return the dividend of development in a fair way to Greek society, primarily supporting our weakest fellow citizens.
Importantly, in the next few days the “My Home” project guide will gradually be put up for public consultation. The Minister will then speak in much more detail about this program. It is an important initiative aimed at affordable housing, primarily for our young fellow citizens. Interventions that reach 1.8 billion, with perhaps the most important being the soft loans, with the support of the Greek State, so that essentially the consideration for the installment of the housing loan is less than the rent that one would pay for an apartment, for a house of equal size.
Of course, this initiative is also framed by a series of interventions to upgrade old buildings, the construction of new student residences – which will start immediately – and the granting of plots of land for the construction of apartment complexes, a part of which can be rented at long-term low rents .
Afterwards, we will all await the Minister’s presentation with interest. We will commit again, as we have already done. The Ministry of Labor in particular has proven that it can consistently meet the timetables we have set for very complex issues, such as the clearing of pending pensions, which is now moving towards its completion.
Therefore, here too it is of great importance, as we have already entered the fourth year of our government, to be consistent in the implementation of our programming, especially in terms of secondary legislation. All these which must be done after the passing of each bill. You know them well, I don’t need to repeat them.
I would like, in closing, to briefly refer to an issue that has once again concerned us in the Council of Ministers, but the current situation unfortunately requires our constant vigilance. And I am referring to the tragic cases of child sexual abuse.
It is a scourge of the times, they are heinous crimes that move in the basements of society, but we must recognize that they are now being investigated by the Police. Their shocking dimension is fully highlighted, in absolute cooperation with the Justice and with a very great method. All those who must be held accountable will be held accountable in Justice.
And all this – I will say it as I feel it – in defiance of those vulgar people who put political symbols on creepy acts. It’s just a shame what happened in the last few weeks.
And it is no coincidence, of course, that those who today allude to the responsibilities of the “system” were themselves the “system” for 4.5 years, yesterday. They didn’t even spot the danger. Conversely, the penalties for such heinous crimes were also reduced.
Now, however, it is very important that the abscess is now broken. These spirals of horror unravel. The punishment is now as harsh as the law allows. So, what matters most is how we deal with the recurrence of such phenomena in the future and how we deal with the consequences for the wounded souls of those children who fall victim to such heinous acts.
I want to remind you that in the Council of Ministers we have approved the National Action Plan against child abuse. We did it before the horrific incident in Colonos came to the news.
A plan with horizontal policies of 12 Ministries, with vertical implementation, with the cooperation of the Local Government. We have already identified where the difficulties are, the bureaucracy which often blocks coordination. Many times there is a lack of specialized staff, a lack of vigilance so that in a family with difficulties, other coexisting problems can also be examined, a single action protocol is absent.
All these have been identified by the National Plan. We will have the opportunity to discuss and present it in more detail in Parliament next week as well and I will really ask for the support of all parties.
It is a national priority. Really, especially in this issue there is no room for partisan confrontations.
Things have been done in this area: we have more psychologists, more social workers, we have more structures. Very important: sex education is now taught in our schools, the issues of tolerance, attitudes have now been included in our program, so that we can at least educate the next generation in a more systematic way to deal with such phenomena.
Let me close my introductory statement here, by simply saying that we await with particular interest the presentation by Minister Makis Voridis on the issues of multi-level governance.
It is an extremely complex subject, which so far we have dealt with in its individual dimension. This time, however, we have a comprehensive plan – I would say very ambitious – for the way governance should be organized at all levels, and I believe it will be an emblematic reform of our Government.