Greek FinMin dangles figure of 700 mln€ in tax breaks for 2019

Tuesday, 26 June 2018 19:01
INTIME NEWS/© European Union
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Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos put a "euro-and-cents" figure on promised tax breaks for next year - an election year - pledging to push through 700 million euros in less taxes.

His statement, carried by the state-run news agency, comes less than a week after a long-awaited Eurogroup decision spelling out debt relief for Greece - but not write-offs - and a very strict post-memorandum supervision framework by creditors after the current bailout ends in August 2018. The leftist-rightist coalition government also appears to have little margin to overturn an another round of social security cuts and a lowering of the annual tax-free income ceiling - set for Jan. 1, 2019.

Tsakalotos spoke as the government's approval ratings continue to wallow amid, among others, an ongoing "tax tsunami" drawn up in 2016 and unleashed on the country's wage-earners, self-employed professionals, pensioners and consumers in 2017.

The Greek FinMin said the 700-million-euro figure is calculated to be in excess of a "target", a possible reference to the ambitious annual 3.5-percent primary budget surplus (as a percentage of GDP) that the Tsipras government has committed Greece to meeting until 2022.

In the short term, he promised a study in July to pinpoint what the most effective tax cuts could be, merely ticking off the prospect of a reduction in the unpopular property tax (ENFIA) or a cut in high social security contributions burdening working people and their employers in the country.

 In reference to last Friday's Eurogroup decisions in Luxembourg, he said it was a "good" agreement, "it could have been better, but based on the discussion and alliances, it was very good."

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