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EU must unite to respond to Putin's 'blackmail': Greek PM Mitsotakis

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday that the European Union should respond in concert to the challenge posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats to natural gas supplies.

He said Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was intended to “justify authoritarian authoritarianism and allow local troublemakers to do the same.”

In the Ukraine war, we support people defending themselves, we support democracy and freedom … we know what it means to have (aggressive) neighbors, Mitsotakis said.

In a keynote speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair, where Greek government leaders will announce their economic policies for next year, Mitsotakis added that Putin wants to turn Europe’s energy anxiety into political destabilization.

The Greek Prime Minister reminded the audience that Greece had proposed a natural gas price cap and the decoupling of electricity prices from natural gas prices a few months ago, noting that the European Union was moving closer to such a solution. expressed satisfaction.

He told reporters early Saturday when he was touring the fair’s exhibits.

Mr Mitsotakis said his government will continue to subsidize electricity bills, no matter what the cost. But Greek officials say the subsidies include incentives to cut consumption and replace natural gas with other fuel sources for heating where possible.

The Prime Minister announced a number of additional measures, including a €250 cost of living check to be paid to about 2.3 million beneficiaries, an increase in pensions and minimum wages, tax cuts and €150 million in subsidies for farmers. The cost of fuel and animal feed will rise, and the wages of personnel such as the National Health Service and the military will rise. Taken together, these subsidies will cost 5.5 billion euros, excluding electricity tariff subsidies, he said.

Since early 2020, Greece has spent more than €50 billion to help homes and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, now affected by the energy crisis and rising inflation.

Inflation in Greece hovered at an annualized rate of 11.4% in August, down slightly from its June peak of 12.1%, but at levels not seen since 1994.

A strong economy, expected to grow by more than 5% in 2022, gives the government more room to spend. However, from 2023, the heavily indebted Greek government will also have to run a basic budget surplus, as agreed with the EU.

There will also be new elections next year, possibly multiple times. No party is expected to win a majority of seats on the first ballot, and a coalition government is highly unlikely. As a result, a second election would be held under a different electoral law that would give the winning party a bonus of 30 seats for her.

(Only the headlines and photos in this report may have been modified by Business Standard staff. The rest of the content is auto-generated from syndicated feeds.)

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