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Head of Greek shipowners’ union: Schaeuble criticism unfair; Germany has favorable tax regime, too

The head of Greece’s influential shipowners’ union on Friday said this week’s high-profile criticism by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who claimed the iconic sector did not contribute its fair share to Greek state coffers, was unjustified.

Theodore Veniamis, the president of the Union of the Greek Shipowners, referred to what he called a particularly favorable tax regime in Germany for that country’s shipowners and ocean-going shipping companies.

The veteran shipping executive said Greek-controlled shipping comprises half of the EU’s shipping sector, “a first-place showing that possibly bothers some,” as Veniamis put it.  

“The question that arises is whether the failure of Germany’s shipping policy, which despite favorable terms on every level – ownership, management, professionals – which wasn’t able to support the country’s sector, is the motive that prompted the minister (Schaeuble) to make these statements?” he asked.  

Speaking from Berlin on Thursday, Schaeuble was reported as saying that “…he (Greek PM Alexis Tsipras) was elected on the promise of abolishing tax privileges for shipowners, but he didn’t do anything.”