Greece re­jects cred­i­tors’ counter-pro­pos­als

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Greece re­jected Wed­nes­day “counter pro­pos­als” from cred­i­tors that were is­sued in re­sponse to Athens’ latest bud­getary plan, in light of the IMF’s po­si­tion, a gov­ern­ment source said.

Ques­tioned about whether “this counter pro­posal” — con­tain­ing even big­ger VAT tax hikes and public spend­ing cut­backs — had been re­jected by the rad­i­cal left Greek gov­ern­ment, the source replied: “Yes.”

Cred­i­tors are call­ing for early re­tire­ment to be abol­ished and an in­crease in the re­tire­ment age from 62 to 67 by 2022, and not 2025, ac­cord­ing to plans pub­lished on a left­ist web­site and con­firmed by the source.

They are stick­ing to a de­mand for a rate of 23 per­cent for VAT, or val­ueadded tax, for restau­rants, in­stead of 13 per­cent at the mo­ment. Athens is fear­ful over the im­pact on its valu­able tourism sec­tor.

Cred­i­tors also pro­pose to in­crease the level of cor­po­ra­tion tax to 28 per­cent, in­stead of the Greek plan to raise it to 29 per­cent from 2016 on­wards. The cur­rent level is 26 per­cent.

And they want de­fense ex­pen­di­ture to be slashed by 400 mil­lion eu­ros in­stead of the pro­posed 200 mil­lion eu­ros.

Cred­i­tors also seek the re­moval of spe­cial VAT rates for res­i­dents of the Aegean is­lands.

Ear­lier Wed­nes­day, Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras launched a scathing at­tack on the IMF for re­ject­ing Greek re­form pro­pos­als be­fore ar­riv­ing in Brus­sels, dent­ing hopes of a fi­nal deal.

The left­ist leader hit out at the “strange po­si­tion” of the cred­i­tors just min­utes be­fore go­ing into an eleven­th­hour meet­ing with key lenders in­clud- ing IMF chief Chris­tine La­garde and the Euro­pean Union.

“This strange po­si­tion maybe hides two things: ei­ther they do not want an agree­ment or they are serv­ing spe­cific in­ter­ests in Greece,” Tsipras said.

“The re­peated rejection of equiv­a­lent mea­sures by cer­tain in­sti­tu­tions never oc­curred be­fore — nei­ther in Ire­land nor Por­tu­gal,” he tweeted, re­fer­ring to pre­vi­ous bailouts in those two coun­tries.

The EU-IMF cred­i­tors were due to present Tsipras with their own “com­mon po­si­tion” in re­sponse to the last­ditch list of re­form pro­pos­als sub­mit­ted by Athens on Sun­day, sources said.

The Greek plans aimed to raise some VAT rates and hike busi­ness taxes, in­crease em­ployee and em­ployer pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions, and nar­row the coun­try’s bud­getary gap.

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