Europe: SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance MEP Elena Kountoura met in Brussels with the President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, Ioannis Chatzitheodosiou, and President of the Argolis Chamber, Fotis Damoulos, and President of the Arta Chamber, Yiannis Golomazos, and President of the Ioannina Chamber etc. Dimitris Dimitriou, President of the Chamber of Kefalonia and Ithaca, Stavros Spathi and Vice-President of the Chamber of Rethymno, Emmanuel Psaroudakis. The General Director of the Development and Professional Chamber of Athens, Giorgos Chionidis, also participated in the meeting.
The subject of the meeting was the strong impact of the multiple crises faced by small and medium enterprises and the required interventions at the European and national levels.
The presidents of the Chambers informed the MEP at length about the suffocating pressure that Greek businesses are under and the urgent need for substantial support in the face of punctuality, high inflation and skyrocketing energy costs, which are bringing entrepreneurship and society to its knees.
For her part, the MEP informed about her interventions in the European Parliament through a series of resolutions from the beginning of the pandemic until today to put pressure on the Commission and the member states to take bold measures to support small and medium-sized businesses and jobs, through the Recovery and Resilience Fund, to ensure their unhindered access to financing – from which the majority of small businesses are excluded today – as well as for the reduction of taxation and the transfer of their financial obligations to the State.
On the energy front, Elena Kountoura emphasized the responsibility of the European and national authorities for the significant delay and inaction they showed in the face of the severity of the energy crisis. Bold political decisions are needed, she said, including decoupling the wholesale price of electricity from natural gas – as the Iberian countries claimed and achieved – imposing a ceiling on natural gas and establishing a maximum profit rate of 5% in the energy production, which should also be lower in times of crisis. In addition, she emphasized that in Greece, it is necessary to protect consumers by banning and freezing electricity disconnections for as long as the crisis lasts. And the reduction of the Excise Tax on fuel and the VAT on basic necessities is required.
At the meeting, it was agreed to continue the cooperation, in the context of which new actions will be planned in the European Parliament, with the aim of highlighting the problems faced by Greek small and medium enterprises and claiming substantial and immediate solutions.