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Greece's tax reform vote to pile pressure on government

Greece's tax reform vote to pile pressure on government
Greek MPs to vote Sunday on new bill that includes extra tax hikes and reforms, testing PM Tsipra’s coalition once again

By Magda Panaotspopoulou

ATHENS (AA) - Greek MPs will vote Sunday on a new bill that will include extra tax hikes and reforms as demanded by Greece’s international creditors in order to unlock much needed financial aid.

It will be debated Saturday and is expected to end up with a vote Sunday, testing one more time Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipra’s coalition government.

The bill, which was tabled in the parliament Thursday, will include an increase by one percent in Value Added Tax, raising it from 23 percent to 24 percent; extra taxes on fuel, tobacco and alcohol, while the government is also scheduled to form a new privatization fund, in addition to the sale of non-performing loans.

The much-criticized bill caused months of protests, culminating in nationwide strikes.

Public transport employees announced that they will go on strike Saturday and Sunday against the government’s bill, while the unionists are scheduled to participate in a rally Sunday afternoon in front of the parliament.

The largest trade union, representing the private sector, the General Confederation of Employees of Greece, will also organize a rally Sunday in protest against the bill.

Meanwhile, a joint statement was issued Friday by the four largest associations in Greece, the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises, the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants, and the Greek Tourism Confederation, representing employers, said:

"In spite of the assurances we were given concerning the implementation of immediate measures to stabilize the economy and attract investments, for a stable and gradually more attractive tax framework, as well as a better business environment and incentives for growth and investments, we are seeing that the government's economic team is following a different path with the omnibus bill it has tabled.”

Tsipras initially came to power in January 2015, promising to repeal austerity measures imposed by previous governments under a deal for the country to receive international rescue loans.

source: News Feed
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