Τhe Greek government on Tuesday announced a package of relief measures for all those hit by the recent forest fires that burned large parts of the country since the beginning of the month. A relief down-payment is to be given as soon as possible, “in 10-15 days the latest” as the Deputy Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis clarified on Wednesday.
Presenting the relief package on Tuesday evening, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the ministry will table a supplementary budget of 500 million euros, and until all damage inspections were completed on housing support (80% state subsidy and 20% loan with state guarantee), the government will offer:
1. For houses: Up to 20,000 euros for completely destroyed homes; 12,000 for partly destroyed houses; and 5,000 euros for houses with serious damage.
2. Other buildings and company property: an advance payment of 14,000 for buildings completely destroyed, 8,000 euros for buildings with serious damage and 3,000 euros for buildings with damage.
3. Disbursement process: The Independent Authority for Public Revenue will launch a platform for accepting applications for damage compensation (arogi.gov.gr). At the same time, the Infrastructure ministry will begin recording damages.
4. Subsidies for companies: The government will immediately offer financial support to all enterprises hit by the fires: up to 8,000 for facilities completely destroyed, 4,000 for facilities suffering heavy damages and 2,000 for other damages. Farmers will also receive 4,000 euros for damaged cultivation areas of more than 50 stremma (one stremma = 1,000 sq.m.), 2,000 euros for farms between 10-50 stremma and 1,000 euros for smaller farms. All insured livestock will be compensated by the Agricultural Insurance Agency.
5. Additional interventions: Enterprises hit by the fires will be offered an exemption to repaying state loans given during the pandemic and to paying a special property tax for the years 2021, 2022, 2023, while the state will offer a rent subsidy of up to 500 euros per month. All individuals and corporations hit by the fire will be offered a six-month suspension of payment of social insurance contributions, while banks will offer a suspension of loan payments. Foreclosures will also be suspended. The ministry will offer 20 million euros for restoring infrastucture damaged by the fires.
6. Additional interventions in Evia island including suspension of payments on tax, social insurance, loan obligations and other measures offering job support.
7. Medium-term measures to support civil protection and restoring natural resources, by exploiting funds from the EU’s Recovery Fund.
Skylakakis added that owners and tenants of the destroyed business buildings will be compensated as a relevant provision exists.