In a surprise move, prime minister Alexis Tsipras addressed the nation on Thursday night and stunned Greeks and creditors alike. The PM announced that he will spend 617million euros in one-off “Christmas bonus” for low-pensioners receiving less than 850euro per month. Further, he announced that the upcoming Value Added Tax hikes in the islands hit by the refugee crisis will be scrapped, and that 5,000 doctors and nurses will be hired.
The generous measures have been made able due to a primary surplus of 1.1% in 2016.
“We materialize our [pre-election] promise for the 13th pension,” Tsipras said in his televised address adding “”Steady to our commitment to support the weak, we decided to immediately distribute most of our outperformance in 2016 revenues to low income pensioners.”
He said the measure would provide support to 1.6 million pensioners who earn pensions below 850 euros a month.
Tsipras added that the Value Added Tax increase scheduled as of 1.1.2017 would not be implemented in the Greek islands of the Northern Aegean where thousands of migrants arrived during Europe’s worst migrant crisis in decades.
And finally he said that 5,000 doctors and nurses will be hired in a move to relief the personnel shortages in public hospitals.
It is not clear whether the measures have been in agreement with the country’s creditors.
Short after the announcement, many Greeks spoke of “promises due to upcoming elections.” Friday morning, many see an attempt of the government to improve its profile, as SYRIZA is constantly losing towards New Democracy in public opinion polls, while its coalition partner Independent Greeks has hit bottom with 2% and will most probably will not manage to enter the Parliament.
According to Greek media, Germans are furious about the measures – but never mind. 1.6million low pensioners will receive €300 to €850 euro by December 22nd 2016.