ATHENS – PM announces major defence and economy initiatives

Greece will adopt two major policy initiatives for the coming months and years, one on defence and another on the economy, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced.

Greece will proceed in a major arms acquisition programme, along with an increase in army professional personnel, and buy 18 new and second-hand fighters from France in the next year, as part of a renewed defence cooperation between the two countries. The Hellenic Navy will also start the bidding process for four military vessels and the refurbishment of four more existing ones.

This, the country’s first major defence buying programme in the last 15 years, comes in the wake of new tensions with Turkey. The programme will run for the next 10 years, since the Greek economy cannot support an immediate increase in public expenditure for  contracts.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has also announced a portfolio of measures targeted to increase employment and provide some tax and pension relief for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as for the self-employed.

However, most measures are not permanent but based on mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Leftist opposition Syriza party criticised Mitsotakis for ignoring permanent measures of relief and support of incomes. (Theodore Karaoulanis | EURACTIV.gr)

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