Government spent €2 bln due to COVID, Ukraine

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The government spent an additional €2 bln in the past two and a half years to support the economy struck by the coronavirus pandemic, which subsequently suffered blows from the Ukraine war and sanctions on Russia.

Since the pandemic struck the island in March 2020, the government has requested that parliament approve 10 supplementary budgets totalling €2.05 bln, bending EU regulations on state spending.

EU regulations allow member states to seek approval for supplementary budgets twice yearly and only after 15 June.

However, due to the state of emergency, the European Commission decided to relax the bloc’s budgetary rules, allowing member states to approve additional appropriations to cover the needs arising from both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

According to data presented by Phileleftheros daily, Cyprus 2020 reached out to the parliament to approve supplementary budgets providing €1.07 bln to cover furlough and business support schemes.

Part of the supplementary budget went towards upgrading state hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the state continuing support schemes and health authorities rolling out COVID-19 vaccination scheme in 2021, the state needed an additional €707 mln.

So far this year, until June, the parliament approved two additional budgets for €273.8 million, while authorities do not rule out the possibility of requesting more funds by the end of the year.

The first supplementary budget was for €102 mln on COVID-19 testing schemes, the purchase of antiviral drugs and vaccines for the pandemic and compensation to healthcare workers for overtime during the pandemic.

Part of the additional budget was used to house refugees from Ukraine and to support the island’s farmers due to the supply chain crunch.

A second supplementary budget for €171.8 mln was approved in June.