ATHENS – With the cost of everything from food to fuel oil, gasoline and electricity soaring almost out of reach for many households in Greece – during the COVID-19 pandemic – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tried to reassure it’s affected by “external factors and is temporary” – but maybe not.
He noted that the phenomenon is worldwide and hitting consumers everywhere with a rising demand for goods and supply chain problems limiting delivery abilities, causing shortages.
He told lawmakers in Parliament during a debate on inflation and rising energy prices that most economists think the costs are a blip on the screen because of unforeseen factors.
The European Central Bank (ECB) said prices should begin to fall in the first quarter of 2022, little solace to people who will have to try to get through the winter with choices between heat and food.
He added, however, that a different view links the rise in prices to the looser monetary policy followed by the ECB, which could give it a more permanent characteristic, presenting both sides of the argument.
His government was assailed by major rival SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who has blamed Mitsotakis for what the leftist said were failures in dealing with the pandemic as well as the economy.
Inflation in Greece reached a 10-year high in October, hitting 3.4 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) reported Kathimerini.
That was mainly due to the doubling of natural gas rates and hikes in fuel and food prices, with the country’s vulnerable hit hard over even basic commodities and the government offering only a 30 euro ($33.67) monthly subsidy.
Eurozone inflation surged to more than twice the ECB’s target in October, with more than half of the jump due to a spike in energy prices, the report needed, the suddenness leaving consumers and governments gasping.