Greece presses appeals for rescue fund at EU summit

Greece fully supports the urgent establishment of a recovery fund, in addition to the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which will focus primarily on grants to European Union member-states rather than loans, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed during Thursday’s EU leaders summit to discuss the bloc’s response to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The video conference took place as Greece announced an extension of the restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus by a week until May 4, amid recent outbreaks at a migrant facility and a private clinic.

Addressing the summit, which again confirmed the divisions between the North and South over the way forward, Mitsotakis said he agreed with the view that the recovery fund should be “huge” and that it should be financed with some kind of common long-term debt instrument. The fund, he said, should focus primarily on subsidies to member-states rather than loans. “We must not allow further increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio,” he warned.

A strategy that does not burden the public debt of any country would serve the interest of all states, and would not be just an act of solidarity, he said. Europe must not once again do “too little, too late,” Mitsotakis said and called for swift joint action for “tourism in the South.” 

Meanwhile despite recent concern about several outbreaks of the coronavirus in recent days, Health Ministry spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras said that, overall, Greece’s containment efforts are holding, while noting however that “things can easily slip.” 

An Athens prosecutor on Thursday launched an investigation into whether criminal charges should be brought against the management of a private clinic in Peristeri, western Athens, after at least 29 people – 18 patients and 11 employees – tested positive for Covid-19. 

“This virus is very easily transmitted and especially in health facilities,” Tsiodras said. He announced 55 new cases, bringing the total to 2,463 and four new deaths, pushing the death toll to 125.

There was also concern Thursday about the Attica Police Headquarters (GADA), as 15 officers from GADA and a police station in Oropos, eastern Attica, were quarantined after it emerged that they had come into contact with an asylum seeker who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Source: Ekathimerini.com

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