“We are working to do everything possible to support the families of the victims in Tempi, but also to correct the pathologies that come from the past and which we all agree have no place in the Greece of tomorrow”, underlined the Prime Minister
“I am returning today to our Sunday meeting, but I want to start by saying, with my hand on my heart, that I will never forget what happened in Tempi and why it happened,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote in a text he posted on his personal Facebook account.
“I assumed and we as a government assumed our responsibilities for the tragic accident. This does not change the past, but it can change the future. Because I feel that it is now my personal bet to find the solution so that something like this never happens again”, added Mr. Mitsotakis and continued with the established review of the week.
Read the Prime Minister’s post in detail:
“I return today to our Sunday meeting, but I want to start by saying, with my hand on my heart, that I will never forget what happened in Tempe and why it happened.
I assumed and we as a government assumed our responsibilities for the tragic accident. This does not change the past, but it can change the future. Because I feel that it is now my personal bet to find the solution so that something like this never happens again.
I see these days the absolutely reasonable reaction of the world to such an unjust death of 57 people. I hear and completely share the unanimous social request: to finally sweep away everything that holds Greece back, to change more quickly so that we can have a country that we deserve.
I have an obligation to turn these feelings into creative action. And that’s what I intend to do.
First and foremost, however, we have the obligation to support the relatives of the victims and the injured of the tragic Tempe train accident in Golgotha who are ascending. We have already announced a series of financial and other measures, while their psychological support continues.
I attach great importance to the psychological support of those who were on the fatal train and their families. The General Secretary of Solidarity Giorgos Stamatis has taken it upon himself to contact all the families of the victims to inform them about the helpline we have created as their only point of contact with the state (Tel: 210 5281131 – 210 5281251) so that they do not suffer with unnecessary bureaucratic procedures for what they are entitled to as minimum benefits. At the same time, specialist staff in mass disaster and bereavement management and Mental Health professionals are available 24 hours a day via the 10306 line to assist them as they wish either by home visits or by video call or telephone. And they will do it for as long as it takes. To date, two communications have been made with 45 families who lost people, with the injured and with 222 of those on board. Contact will continue with everyone.
In parallel with the management of this overwhelming event, it was necessary to continue the governmental work. The first issue that had to be closed was the adjustment of the minimum wage. So this week we proceeded to its third consecutive increase of 9.4%. From April 1, the minimum wage will reach 780 euros from the 650 euros that – I recall – it was in 2019. That is, since then, almost three additional wages have been added annually to the income of approximately 600,000 workers. This increase will affect unemployment benefits as well as all benefits associated with the minimum wage.
I know that this increase alone is not enough to solve the problem, as in our country wages are still low and incomes today are being squeezed by imported inflation. Especially the young men and women have a hard time making ends meet. We have pushed to the limits of the economy to ensure that businesses can withstand the increase in the minimum wage. Greece is taking steps forward and is gradually converging with the average European income (in 10th place now among 22 European countries). This minimum wage is now higher than the pre-crisis levels and certifies that with steady steps our country is changing and escaping from the category of cheap labor cost economies that do not offer prospects to our young people. Together with the digital worker card and the independent labor inspection authority we protect workers and reduce undeclared work.
Also this week the advance was paid to 37,500 beneficiaries who have completed 15 years of supplementary insurance but whose supplementary pension has not been issued until 31 December 2022. This is an advance payment of 100 euros for each month of delay of supplementary old-age pensions and 50 euros for supplementary pensions due to disability and widowhood. However, it is worth mentioning that in the two months of January – February, 43,000 supplementary pensions were issued – almost half of those pending, and at this rate we will continue until all pending supplementary pensions are eliminated.
I am staying on the subject of pensioners, as the day before yesterday we submitted a bill to the Parliament to regulate the issue that arose for approximately 1,100,000 pensioners who, due to a personal difference, either did not see an increase at all, or saw a small increase. So until March 31, they will receive a one-time financial aid of 200 to 300 euros.
With the same bill, we give a new possibility to those who have lost the tax and insurance arrangements of 120 or 72 installments or these have become unserviceable by February 1, 2023, to revive them, paying two monthly installments until July 31, 2023.
A very important piece of news this week is that the “Personal Assistant” program has started for our fellow citizens with disabilities, initially in Attica and later outside the basin. 520 people had expressed an interest in becoming personal assistants, of which 241 have completed the free special training to be able to stand next to severely disabled citizens to whom the State provides up to 1,663 euros/month for their remuneration, in addition to allowances and other benefits they already receive. The personal assistant is a decades-old request. It will change the lives of our fellow citizens with disabilities and their families. It starts in pilot form, with 1,000 people in Athens in the first phase, with a second step its expansion with 1,000 people in other Regions and a third step, in 2024 its expansion throughout the territory.
At the same time, the implementation of the institution of Semi-Autonomous Living begins for the first time in Greece. The purpose of the program is the faster deinstitutionalization of teenagers who have been housed in institutions for years and their smooth transition into society and the labor market.
To give you an image: today around 400 children over the age of 15 live in institutions either because they themselves – due to their age – do not wish to join a family, or because they are not chosen by prospective adoptive parents or adoptive parents.
Until now, these children could only be accommodated in institutions until they reached adulthood. Now, semi-autonomous living gives them the possibility to live in the apartments up to 26. These are apartments that host up to 4 people, fully equipped, but also staffed with appropriate staff – social workers, social workers, welfare carers. In this way, teenagers not only have a safe place to stay but also care and support for their autonomy. They are also supported with a monthly financial aid of 375 euros, while they have access to education, health, psychosocial support and professional guidance.
This week we also passed an important law that aims to improve the framework for transplants in our country and can save lives.
Although transplantation is considered the most modern therapeutic procedure of the 21st century worldwide – since it is the only option in end-stage heart, liver and lung failure and the most effective treatment for kidney failure – unfortunately Greece ranks last in Europe in the matter of donation organs, tissues and cells, and among the last ten countries of the Western world.
It is another aspect of our country that does not satisfy us and we want to change. That is why we turned to a committee of internationally renowned Greek and foreign scientists, with the support of the “Alexander S. Onassis” Foundation, and under the supervision of Professor of Health Policy Ilias Mosialou and Professor of Transplantation Surgery at Imperial College London and President of European Society of Organ Transplantation Vassilis Papaloi, who suggested the necessary changes to finally obtain a modern national transplant policy.
This week the guide for the “Recycle – Change Water Heater” program was posted. It concerns at least 120,000 households, and the subsidy reaches 60% of the expenditure. The total budget is 100 million euros that come from the NSRF. The purpose of the program is to replace old, energy-consuming electric water heaters with solar ones. It is estimated that this will contribute to a reduction of at least 210 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, and at the same time will ensure money for citizens due to reduced electricity consumption.
I’ll end this post here, and I want to thank you for taking the time to read it. And let me assure you that we are working to do everything possible to support the families of the victims in Tempi, but also to correct the pathologies that come from the past and which we all agree have no place in the Greece of tomorrow”.
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