A large part of the result of the upgrading of the creditworthiness of the Greek economy by the four credit rating agencies and now by Fitch is the reduction of bad loans made through the “Hercules” program, stressed the Deputy Minister of National Economy and Finance, responsible for fiscal policy, Thanos Petralias. “Of course, it was also due to the improvement of the Economy, but the big reduction was made through the Heracles program,” said Mr. Petralias, closing the debate on the bill on bad loans in the Plenary of the Parliament tonight, and noted that “this is the last step” .

Mr. Petralias emphasized that “we have become a normal European country” and informed the House that: So far we have given 18.7 billion guarantees and 16.7 billion is left. In other words, the 2 billion have been repaid and the State has also collected 223 million from the guarantee commission. He also informed that up to another 2 billion will be given, with the aim of “falling” the bad loans to 5%.

“We received over 40% non-performing loans and currently it is 8.5% and the goal is to drop to around 5% non-performing loans. We have become a normal European country,” he said.

The settings

The Deputy Minister of National Economy and Finance referred to the basic provisions of the draft law on bad loans, stressing that they concern:

– Firstly, the vulnerable borrowers since it becomes mandatory for the banks to accept the regulation, something very important because until now this was only mandatory for public bodies.

– Second, the algorithm is improved for all borrowers (not just vulnerable ones).

– Thirdly, information rules for the services are introduced, which significantly upgrades us “because until today we were really far behind”, as he said.

“These are three very positive measures that one cannot doubt are being taken in the positive direction. More must be done. We have not reached where we need to be but the out-of-court mechanism is the first that has worked, after 5,000 arrangements have been made, when with the previous SYRIZA government there were 2,500 arrangements. This proves that it works and now it is expanding even more. For the first time we see a tool that starts and works, we need to support it and expand it and discuss and what further can be done” , underlined Mr. Petralias.

Support measures

The competent deputy minister also referred to the amendment for the social solidarity allowance, specifying that it concerns five categories of citizens. Families with three children will receive an amount of 420 euros, families with four children will receive 630 euros. 50% of the monthly installment of the minimum guaranteed income concerns 202,000 fellow citizens, an amount which increases by 8% permanently from December 1st. An allowance of 200 euros will be given to people with disabilities (EFKA and OPEKA) who were also permanently increased from 1 May 2023. An allowance of 150 euros will be given to uninsured seniors who received an increase from 1 January 2023 and will also receive an increase from 1 January 2023 of 2024. Another 150 euros will be given to 1,026,000 pensioners, who got an increase from January 1, 2023 and will get a 3% increase from January 1, 2024 (430 million euros).

Also, in addition to the 1,160,000 pensioners who will get an increase, another 740,000 pensioners, who still have a personal difference and will not receive an increase, are given an amount of 200 euros. In other words, a total of 2.5 million pensioners, which corresponds to 70% of the country’s pensioners, will receive aid in December.

“And these are just some of the measures of 717 million. Already the applications for the heating allowance have exceeded 850,000 and in addition, support measures of 1.6 billion are coming from January 1, 2024.”

The MOU was signed for increasing pensions

Finally, Mr. Petralias announced that the MOU was signed in the afternoon for the 3% increase in pensions from January 1, 2024, amounting to 430 million euros.