DM cites spending cuts in bid to overcome Berlin's opposition to suspension of measure for islands' VAT rates

Friday, 13 July 2018 12:52
UPD:12:54
Eurokinissi/ΔΗΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΥΛΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΗΣ

Berlin's qualified "nein" to the timely disbursement of the last loan tranche of the current Greek bailout - itself ending on Aug. 20 - apparently generated quick action in Athens less than a day later, with the country's controversial defense minister referring to spending cuts by his ministry in order to retain lower VAT rates on five Aegean isles - at least until 2019.

Panos Kammenos, the head of the small right-wing junior coalition partner in the current government, referred to a "restructuring" of military units with their "transfer to the border region and the axing of inactive military bases". His also cited a cut in older defense contracts, all part of breakneck efforts by the Greek side to find 28 million euros in spending cuts, in order off-set the same sum that the VAT suspension would have cost state coffers until the end of the year.

In a bid to portray the urgent defense cuts - via unit transfers and base reductions - in a positive light, Kammenos took to his Twitter account on Friday morning to emphasize that "the islands are the Defense of our Land".

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