Farm­ers un­moved by con­ces­sions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Agri­cul­tural Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Athana­sios Tsaf­taris yes­ter­day fleshed out a package of mea­sures for protest­ing farm­ers, who are de­mand­ing tax breaks and other con­ces­sions from the government, as union­ists ex­pressed dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the pro­posal.

Tsaf­taris said that au­thor­i­ties had ap­proved the re­turn of 250 mil­lion eu­ros in the re­bate of spe­cial con­sump­tion tax on fuel – 150 mil­lion eu­ros less than last year. The min­is­ter con­firmed that farm­ers would ben­e­fit from cheaper night­time elec­tric­ity rates from July and that an early re­tire­ment pro­gram would be ex­tended to ap­ply to all farm­ers aged over 64.

His re­as­sur­ances ap­peared to fall on deaf ears how­ever. Farm­ers in cen­tral and north­ern Greece, who have been threat­en­ing to block key road junc­tions un­less they re­ceive con­ces­sions, called for protest ral­lies and meet­ings over the week­end, when they are to de­cide whether to scale up their ac­tion.

Speak­ing in Thes­sa­loniki, the head of the union rep­re­sent­ing farm­ers from the cen­tral town of Karditsa, Van­ge­lis

Boutas, re­jected the mea­sures pro­posed by the government, not­ing that “they of­fer no re­lief at all” and ac­cus­ing au­thor­i­ties of try­ing to con­fuse the pub­lic. Union­ists from Nikaia dis­missed the mea­sures as “peanuts.”

Ear­lier this week, farm­ers who sell their prod­ucts at out­door mar­kets gath­ered out­side the of­fices of the Agri­cul­tural Min­istry and handed out tons of free fruit and veg­eta­bles to pen­sion­ers and the un­em­ployed.

The farm­ers, who were de­mand­ing lower pro­duc­tion costs, were be­sieged by thou­sands of Athe­ni­ans who snapped up the free pro­duce.

Protest­ing farm­ers from Ar­gol­ida in the Pelo­pon­nese block­ade the tax of­fice in the town of Naf­plio.

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