Wealthy Greeks lose security perks in austerity cutback
Wednesday 31 July 2013
Greeks fearing attacks by anarchists will no longer be entitled to free police bodyguards in the latest cost-cutting plan from a government trying to meet budget targets set by international creditors.
The Public Order Ministry said on Tuesday that individuals with a net income of more than €100,000 (£87,500) a year will have to pay for their own police protection from potential terrorist and organised crime attacks. Under the plan, they will have to pay €2,000 per month for each officer acting as a bodyguard and a daily fee of €50 for use of a patrol car.
The pay-for-protection scheme still needs to be signed off by the Finance Ministry and will not include elected officials, judges, or public sector executives.
Private citizens currently receiving police protection include prominent business people and journalists who have been threatened by anarchist groups, though few of the warnings have been specific.
Nevertheless, there’s been a resurgence of attacks amid growing public hostility toward those seen as corrupt and incompetent and blamed for Greece’s economic crisis.
The move is the latest in a series of austerity measures in return for bailout cash. The country is in its sixth year of recession and the unemployment rate is over 25 per cent.
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