Sa­ma­ras sin­gles out tax rates as key fac­tor

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

New Democ­racy leader An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras in­di­cated yes­ter­day that he would be will­ing to agree on some points of eco­nomic pol­icy with the gov­ern­ment if it adopted his po­si­tion that taxes need to be re­duced rather than raised, as the Euro­pean Union and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund have re­quested.

Speak­ing to the mem­bers of his par­lia­men­tary group, Sa­ma­ras sought to change the per­cep­tion that he is pre­vent­ing the po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus that the EU has asked for. The ND leader said he re­fused to agree to the mea­sures pro­posed by the gov­ern­ment be­cause he be­lieves that fur­ther tax­a­tion will com­pound the Greek econ­omy’s prob­lems.

Sa­ma­ras said he would be will­ing to sit down with Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou and even meet with the troika if the gov­ern­ment comes over to his point of view on tax­a­tion. “If the is­sue of tax­a­tion is also up for dis­cus­sion... then there would be room for con­sen­sus,” he said.

Sa­ma­ras failed to reach any agree­ment with Pa­pan­dreou when the pair met twice last week. The ND leader told his deputies the gov­ern­ment and the troika should think about adopt­ing some of the pro­pos­als that the con­ser­va­tives have put for­ward, such as re­duc­ing taxes. “The troika says that it would be bet­ter to do this at a later date, in­sist­ing that do­ing it now would in­crease the deficit,” he said. “We dis­agree and we can con­vince them about this be­cause our pro­gram would bring re­sults.”

Sa­ma­ras ar­gued that his pro­posal to drop the tax rate to 15 per­cent is less rad­i­cal than the scheme in Ire­land, where busi­nesses are taxed at 12.5 per­cent.

The ND chief sided with Pa­pan­dreou on re­ject­ing talk of re­struc­tur­ing or leav­ing the euro. “Ev­ery­body should re­al­ize that ru­mors about re­struc­tur­ing kills the econ­omy and talk about the drachma does even worse.”

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