More benefits to help population crisis in Greece

Henry

Greece said on Monday it would increase child benefits to tackle a fertility crisis that has resulted in a population decline of 3.5% over the past decade.

Ministers said that from April some 300,000 families will benefit from the initiative which applies to children born from 1 January 2023.

This one-off benefit for one child increases to €2,400 (about R50,000). The benefit is currently €2 000 (approximately R41 700). Families with two children or more will receive up to €3,500.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister, made the population decline a top priority after securing a second four-year term for himself in June.

A total of €90 million (more than R1.8 billion) will be spent on additional family support measures over the next two years, the government said.

During the nearly decade-long economic crisis experienced by Greece, the fertility rate decreased from 1.5 children per woman in 2012 to 1.3 children per woman in 2019.

Greece needs a rate of 2.1 children per woman to maintain the population at more than 10.4 million. According to a 2022 census, residents decreased by 3.5% compared to 2011.

Some 450,000 Greeks under 40 emigrated in search of a better prospect during the economic crisis during which youth unemployment prevailed.