During his trip to New York, Antonis Samaras revealed his plans to make Greece a startup heaven and the possibility for the country to move to a 15% flat rate tax in the future. He also said that his government is looking for ways to help Greek startups.
Antonis Samaras arrived in New York City on Saturday and met with Greek Vice-President and coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos to discuss the latest developments on the Golden Dawn issue.
On Sunday morning, he participated in the liturgy at Saint Nicholas Church in Flushing, NY and later met with Greek-Americans at the Greek Consulate in New York City.
The Prime Minister requested to have a meeting with members of Greek media in the US to emphasize their role in changing Greece’s image abroad during these difficult moments.
During the hour-long meeting, cameras stayed outside and the doors were closed while he held a discussion with journalists.
The Startup Plan to Change a Culture
Samaras answered Greek Reporter’s question on how Greece can reinvent its culture of violent protests and replace them with a culture of prosperity. He responded by offering a plan to help Greek startups.
“This is a major issue and needs a lot of time to be addressed properly. It is not easy to change a culture but we want to help the youth be able to start businesses,” said the Greek PM.
“I understand that many young people have great ideas but no collateral to go to the banks and ask them for funding. We are working towards changing that and I hope soon there will be available funding for Greek start-ups and that young people will be able to go to the banks and get funding just with a great business plan. We want to help and I wish we will have the liquidity to do so.”
“I am also working towards finding a building which will house start-ups without paying rent and make this place a generator of ideas and new companies that will create jobs.”
Flat Rate Tax
The Greek Prime Minister also mentioned a plan for corporate flat rate tax of 15%, although later said that at this moment it is not something that can happen instantly.
“But we need that in order to be able to compete with other countries that offer a flat rate tax to possible investors.”
Samaras seems to be hoping that Greece can follow the example of Estonia and become a tech mecca, but this will take many years and it requires much more than his will or a few hundred thousand dollars in funding, including education and creating a climate of hope among the devastated youth. Currently many Greek universities face closure due to funding and strikes.
Meetings with Investors
The Greek PM, who is in the US to meet one-on-one with CEO’s and major share-holders of huge investment groups such as Bic, Alcoa, Black Rock, Canyon, High Bridge, Celter Bridge, Blue Crest, Eaglevale Partners, Norges Bank Investment Management, Fidelity and JP Morgan, seems to be determined to at least try his best to convince them that Greece is changing and they can benefit from the results of his government’s policies. Speaking about the important meetings, he called these executives the “cherry on the top of the cream!”
The Greek PM did not talk about the Golden Dawn issue to journalists, but earlier he addressed the parishioners of Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, mentioning that the Greek Justice system is in charge and he hopes for stability and political union.
“You don’t have the right to hate people and to seek extremism, because then you will find all the healthy Greeks against you,” he stated.
He also said that all Greeks, especially the youth, have to be united, above parties and today’s wrong ideologies that separate them.
Speaking on the matter, anonymous high-ranking government officials stated that “we won’t leave another murder to happen again like the one of Pavlos Fyssas. This is unacceptable and it won’t happen again. We are determined to stop the violence and we will do whatever it takes for Greece’s political stability.”
“The people must see who they really are, and now they saw it. All we did was to give the legal tools to the Justice system to do its job. Now it’s in their hands…”
“This neo-nazi party never had a political agenda, all they did was to oppose every government policy while they never suggested any solutions blackmailing the country internationally,” said the official.
“We are looking to create a new place for Greek start-ups to go so Greeks can be there with no rent and also be able to get funding from the banks; our problem is liquidity in all of this.”
Speaking on Golden Dawn, he said that the Greek justice system is in charge of this but politically they have no ideas and have never proposed actual government policies.
Finally, the Greek PM, who leaves tomorrow for Washington, D.C. and will be back in New York City on Thursday to attend The Hellenic Initiative Inaugural Banquet, said that he has an excellent relationship with the other party of the Greek coalition, PASOK.