Venize­los out­lines goals, bar­ri­ers

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los yes­ter­day dis­tanced him­self from his pre­de­ces­sor, Gior­gos Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou, telling PASOK MPs that he dis­agreed with the bal­ance of tax in­creases and spend­ing cuts in the gov­ern­ment’s aus­ter­ity plan and claim­ing that cer­tain amend­ments pro­posed by Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou had not been ap­proved by eu­ro­zone coun­ter­parts.

“I do not agree with the bal­ance be­tween rev­enue-rais­ing mea­sures and spend­ing cuts in the midterm pro­gram but now there is no scope for change,” Venize­los told the MPs. The min­is­ter added that he had be­lieved that the coun­try’s for­eign cred­i­tors had been in­formed about the pro­posed changes, in­clud­ing the low­er­ing of a tax-free ceil­ing on prop­erty tax. “I dis­cov­ered that the Eurogroup knew noth­ing about this,” he said, re­fer­ring to the group­ing of 17 eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters. Venize­los added that the time line pro­posed by Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou for the pri­va­ti­za­tions had been un­re­al­is­tic. He also her­alded a re­form of the Greek tax sys­tem in the fall, sug­gest­ing that two ear­lier at­tempts at re­form had failed.

Venize­los said an im­ple­men­ta­tion law, to be sub­mit­ted in Par­lia­ment next week along with the midterm fis­cal pro­gram, sets out the frame­work for the gov­ern­ment’s pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram. Each planned sell-off has its own cor­re­spond­ing ar­ti­cle in the bill, MPs were told. It is hoped that this ap­proach will help over­come ob­jec­tions by cer­tain PASOK MPs such as Alexan­dros Athanasiadis, who op­poses the pri­va­ti­za­tion of the Pub­lic Power Cor­po­ra­tion (PPC).

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