Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis dubbed the 33% extraordinary tax levy imposed on fuel refineries’ surplus profits – a windfall tax – as “socially fair and ethically justified”, during an interview with Athens-based radio Real FM on Thursday morning.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis said generated state revenue from the windfall tax, estimated to reach 300 million euros, will be used to support the budget, with a portion earmarked for what he called the most financially vulnerable groups in Greek society, such as low-income pensioners.

Windfall Tax

“It is a fair decision due to the excess profits as a result of significant shifts in the international petroleum market”, he said, rejecting the premise that the move constituted a seizure of profits and that his government was punishing entrepreneurship.

In the interview, besides the windfall tax Mitsotakis was queried over a wide range of current affairs topics, including the latest high-profile case of domestic abuse gripping the public opinion; newly elected MEP Fredi Beleri, who was elected on ND’s candidate list, and persistent inflation.

High cost of living

On the issue of persistent inflation – especially high food costs – the Greek PM said that after a de-escalation of the inflation rate, the government will seek to reduce shelf costs in supermarkets.

“We will evaluate the outcome in two to three months from now. I am confident that we will start to see some price reductions. We will also have a discussion with the major players in the market. It is clear that there is an issue with multinational corporations at the European level,” he said.

Domestic violence

Asked about a recent domestic abuse case dominating media headlines this week – i.e. a high-profile defense attorney was charged with domestic violence – Mitsotakis reminded that it was his government that passed several – and stiffer – criminal code revisions to deal with new challenges in society.

“We were fully vindicated with the revision that allows a physician who ascertains serious evidence of domestic violence having been committed to be able to notify a prosecutor and coroner (without prior approval). That’s how the full extent of this incident was disclosed. And it’s not the only incident, it simply became publicized due to the notoriety of the person (involved).

He also announced that the relevant justice minister will unveil more proposed revisions in the penal code in the coming period, aimed to make laws dealing with domestic violence even stricter.

Fredi Beleri case

Regarding the swearing-in of imprisoned Himare mayor-elect Fredi Beleri, who won a seat in the recent EP Elections on New Democracy’s ticket, Mitsotakis underlined that his government aims to secure his presence at Strasbourg for the ceremony in mid-July. Beleri is a member of the ethnic minority in southern Albania who was first remanded into custody and then convicted of vote-buying by a special anti-corruption court in Tirana. Beleri, his supporters and the Greek government criticized the arrest as baseless and politically motivated while terming the subsequent court case as a “sham trial”.

Mitsotakis on Greek-Turkish relations

Asked about Greek-Turkish relations, Mitsotakis merely echoed “I am not naive. The core of Turkish policy does not change overnight, but let’s acknowledge that we have no transgressions or violations, we have an agreement for express visas to the Greek islands, and for the first time, there is activity regarding the Halki School Theology. We are following a policy of confidence and goodwill, without any trace of naivety.”

North Macedonia

Finally, commenting on the recent provocations by the new political leadership in the Republic of North Macedonia regarding the land-locked country’s constitutional name, Mitsotakis said the PM-designate of North Macedonia will find himself in a very tough spot if he insists on his resurrected “name issue” stance at an upcoming NATO summit.