Greece imposes heavy fines on multinationals amid public anger for rising prices

Greece imposes heavy fines on multinationals amid public anger for rising prices |

The Greek conservative government has imposed a €2 million fine on two multinational companies for unfair, excessive profit margins as public anger over rising prices for essential goods is growing with a heavy political impact on the ruling New Democracy party (EPP).

Following inspections, the government in Athens decided to impose a €1 million fine on both Procter & Gamble Greece Limited and Elais Unilever Hellas SA.

Minister of Development of Greece Konstantinos Skrekas commented, “No one is above the law”.

“Dealing with inflation, and especially the inflation of greed, is primarily a matter of social responsibility but also of ensuring the cohesion of society. Checks will continue, and fines will be issued without hesitation”, he noted.

The companies question the methodology used to calculate the fine, saying they did not consider key parameters of the functioning of the retail market and accounting standards.

Local press reported that Greek authorities are now scrutinising more companies, and fines are expected to be imposed by the end of the week.

In addition to inspections, the government has provided the so-called “Market Pass”, a voucher which helps some citizens cover part of the cost of their food purchases.

The measure drew the criticism of the opposition parties, who described it as too little as well as superficial, considering that it did not address the main problem of unfair profit-seeking practices of some multinationals.

Meanwhile, rising prices cause political headaches for the government.

According to a poll conducted by Alco and published on Alpha TV channel on Monday, 46% of respondents stated that the government’s measures are not helping “at all”, while 33% considered the measures to have a small positive impact.

Feta cheese is more expensive than abroad

The government has so far said inflation “was imported from abroad”; however, the sharp rise of local goods prices questions this narrative.

Documento reported that Greece’s traditional feta cheese is sold at a price which is 36% higher than in Berlin.

The journal reported that the feta price in Athens starts from €10 per kilo and reaches €17 with an average price of €13.5.

In Berlin, the feta price ranges from €4.99 to €12.29 per kilo, with an average price of €8.64.

In Belgium, the average price is €12.95 per kilo, while in Spain €13.52.

The journal pointed out that the feat prices in Athens raise concerns, considering that transportation costs are much lower within Greece.

Similarly worrying is the situation regarding Greek olive oil, whose price has skyrocketed in recent months.

Moreover, widespread incidents of “theft” have been reported, forcing supermarkets to put anti-theft systems on bottles.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos |

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