In a significant parliamentary session, the Greek Parliament has given the green light to the state budget for the year 2024, with 158 votes in favour.
Notably, this marks the first budget following a 14-year period during which Greece regained its investment grade credit rating, according to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The budget allocates increased funds for defence, presidency expenses, and includes a surprising 20 per cent boost in healthcare worker allowances.
The approval was not without its share of debates, as opposition parties expressed concerns and criticisms.
The President of the SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance’s parliamentary group, Sokratis Famellos, accused the government of attempting to paint a picture of prosperity that does not align with the reality citizens are experiencing, citing high prices as the most significant challenge.
PASOK-Movement for Change leader Nikos Androulakis criticised the government’s policies, emphasising the perceived low quality of life resulting from their decisions.
In response, Prime Minister Mitsotakis defended the budget, highlighting Greece’s improved economic indicators, including a growth rate of 2.4 per cent, unemployment below 10 per cent, reduced public debt, increased investments and exports, and a 15 per cent rise in the average wage.
He reassured citizens that the government’s focus is on stable and sustainable wage increases, and he reiterated the commitment to a minimum wage of 950 euros and an average wage of 1,500 euros.
The debate also touched on the impact of high prices on citizens. Mitsotakis acknowledged the issue but presented a plan to address it, emphasising the importance of a dynamic, outward-looking economy. He highlighted Greece’s political stability, increased economic extroversion, and the availability of funds from the Recovery Fund.
As the budget passed, Mitsotakis outlined the government’s commitments: preventing economic adventures, ensuring daily improvements, fostering unity with Europe, and modernising the state to meet contemporary challenges. The investment grade, he stated, symbolises national self-awareness and the opportunity to showcase the best of Greece.