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Edek lays out tough demands in return for supporting state budget

Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos

A minimum pension, subsidies to working mothers and photovoltaics in mountain areas were among Edek’s proposals incorporated in the revised budget, its chairman Marinos Sizopoulos said on Monday.

Edek had presented a long list of changes to the budget, which the government had to revise after it was rejected by parliament in December.

During a news conference on Monday, Sizopoulos said the policy areas his party wanted changed included granting a pension to workers in unhealthy occupations at 63 without a 12 per cent penalty, subsidising working mothers to pay for nurseries, increasing subsidies for the acquisition of homes in certain disadvantaged communities, from €20,000 to €30,000 per family, and extension of the deadline to settle outstanding planning issues until the end of 2022.

These must also include the right to change the use of a building, legalising mezzanines for shops up to 80 square metres, and affording free parking spaces so that a business can secure an operating licence.

Edek also wants the government to introduce a scheme of subsidised installation of residential photovoltaics in mountainous regions, stamping out tax evasion and expediting the return of VAT and income tax.

Sizopoulos said the government is also considering certain other proposals submitted by the party, like creating a special court for people who think they have been overcharged by banks and granting a borrower the right to buy their non-performing loan at 50 per cent to 55 per cent of its value before it is sold by the bank.

Edek also wants doctors who are not part of the health system to be able to prescribe medicines that are included in the Gesy catalogues.

“We want to help those patients from vulnerable groups who don’t have insurance and unfortunately cannot replace their doctor,” Sizopoulos said.

He said the party will convene to decide its stance towards the revised budget after it received the government’s replies on the pending issues.

The administration wants Edek’s help to pass the budget after Diko refused to vote in favour, demanding a probe into the island’s controversial citizenship-by-investment programme by the auditor general.

The government has consulted all parties on the revised bill apart from Diko.

 

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