Tax officers protest against austerity
Greek tax service employees took their protest against bailout-driven austerity to the heart of government yesterday, as Athens waited to hear if its reform plans are enough to satisfy eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels. A large, threefloor-high banner that read “Stop austerity” was hung by the tax officers’ union on the facade of the Finance Ministry’s headquarters in central Athens. “One more time, they are preparing measures that will hit the same social groups in the name of saving the country – low and middle incomes,” Dimitris Merkos, head of the Attica and Cyclades tax service employees, told Skai TV. “Despite the government’s pronouncements that new measures will not bring even one euro of austerity, lowering the income tax exemption threshold will mean cuts in pay and pensions.” Greece’s leftist- led government and its official creditors have yet to reach common ground on energy and labor market reforms, meaning that wrapping up a bailout review, which has dragged on for months, is set to take yet more time.