Greece: Troika wants more, raft of taxes and redundancies

More tax and mobility for 150,000 more state workers in 2012

13 December, 19:23

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, DECEMBER 13 - Less than 24 hours after the claim by Evangelos Venizelos that there would be no need for new austerity "if the 2011 budget is applied as scheduled", the Greek Finance Minister's comments are already worthless. Following the released today of the latest budget deficit figures for the first 11 months of this year, it has become clear that revenue has fallen by around 3%, when it had been predicted to rise by 1%, while spending has risen by 6.2%, as opposed to a predicted fall of 3.8%.

    The numbers show that Greece's budget deficit continued to rise in November, while the recession, spurred on by suffocating austerity measures, has cancelled out a large part of the extra income that the government hoped to gain from emergency taxes. Indeed, provisional figures from the Ministry of Finance show that the state budget's "black hole" broadened by 5.1% in the first 11 months of this year, reaching 20.52 billion euros, compared to a total of 19.5 billion a year ago.

    In order drastically to reduce public spending, therefore, the so-called "troika" has asked the Athens government to carry out further severe austerity measures, including the redundancy of a further 150,000 public sector workers by 2015, in addition to the 30,000 who will be released by the end of this month. The demands of the "troika" (which consists of the IMF, the EU and the ECB) were announced by the Minister for Administrative Reform, Dimitris Reppas, following a meeting with representatives of the international creditors: Matthias Mors, Mark Flanagan and Bob Traa. Reppas explained to the officials that the redundancy of surplus state employees has not had the desired effect because the measure was applied hurriedly and without correct assessment of the public.

    Meanwhile, Greek taxpayers are bracing themselves for a wave of new taxes that will have significant impacts on their income, allowing the government to bring an extra 2,3 billion euros into the state coffers, in line with the economic programme launched to save the country from bankruptcy.

    The hardest-hit will be workers with fixed wages and pensioners, who will be forced to pay an extraordinary tax ever month, alongside other new taxes that the Ministry of Finance was unable to calculate at the right time, such as the local property tax for 2009 and property tax for 2010 and 2011.

    New taxes to weigh down on Greeks include solidarity tax (for the three-year period from 2010 to 2012). There will also be a significant drop in tax exemption and a rise in annual rates for exercising a profession. The new tax system will be particularly damaging to families with three or more children, who will be forced to pay an extra tax on income, ranging between 540 and 2,750 euros per year. (ANSAmed).

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