Varoufakis: Concessions to Reach Deal, Lenders Push Us to the Limits



yanis-varoufakis-interviewed-on-the-bbc.w_hrGreece will make concessions in order to reach an intermediate deal that would increase liquidity now, and then come up with a comprehensive list of reforms for a final deal in June, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said.

“We are putting the ENFIA (property tax) aside for a while for the benefit of the negotiations,” said Varoufakis on Greek radio on Thursday. One of SYRIZA’s pledges before the elections was to abolish ENFIA. Since the new government has not found a tax to replace it, it is forced to keep it for 2015. However, he added, ENFIA will be abolished as soon as a deal is reached.

“There are two deals: An intermediate one now, in order to increase liquidity, and then we’re going for tough negotiations for a final agreement,” he said. “We don’t expect our program to be accepted immediately,” he said.

According to the new measures on the list, on islands with a population over 3,000, all transactions over 70 euros will be done by credit or debit card in order to tackle tax evasion. There will be no value added tax raises for tourist islands, as was suggested in the past, but the finance ministry is thinking of adding a luxury tax on stay in hotels that are three stars and over.

He said that it was scandalous that islands such as Mykonos and Santorini had record tourist arrivals last year but state revenues from VAT were very low. This is the reason the ministry wants to implement a measure that would require that on tourist islands transactions over 70 euros can be paid with plastic money only.

Varoufakis accused lenders for pushing the Greek government to the limits. He said that it is inhuman to ask for pension cuts when pensions are already low. However, Athens is not going to cross the red lines it has set on such sensitive issues.

He also said that 2015 will close with Greece showing growth figures of 1-1.5 percent and can easily achieve a 1.2 percent primary surplus.

Finally, when asked about the change in the negotiating team, Varoufakis said: “There was an agreement between the prime minister, the government vice-president, my colleagues and the rest of the cabinet to change the negotiating team.” He added that this team has been working together since the beginning of the negotiations and now has an official title.

 


2 COMMENTS

  1. If Greeks don’t win relief from the euro area’s austerity program through Tsipras’s plan to write down the country’s debts and boost government spending, they may embrace the Golden Dawn party instead, according to Pablo Iglesias, who leads the Spanish anti-austerity group Podemos and is a lawmaker in the European Parliament.

    “If this dynamic continues, by next year the Eurogroup will probably be negotiating with a Marine Le Pen,” Iglesias, 36, said, referring to the leader of France’s National Front, in an interview at his office at the Parliament in Strasbourg. “I don’t think anyone wants that.”

    Pablo Iglesias spoke in an interview with Bloomberg at his office at the European Parliament in Strasbourg Wednesday.

    As each day passes by more and more Greeks realise that they’ve been deceived by SYRIZA which promised the Greek people in the run up to the January 2015 National elections that if they were entrusted with governing Greece, that they would kick out the Troika bureaucrats, and rip up the bailout agreement signed by the previous Samaras-Venizelos regime.

  2. Baltakos slandered Samaras… why he was fired.

    I would agree with Samaras…. f-ck Golden Dawn. Some of it supporters seem to think they are the only one’s that can criticize other parties. Welcome to real world were action equals reaction.

    GD is effectively a dead party going nowhere. What it boils down to is whether its supporters want to spend the rest of their lives complaining for the sake of fascist thug running GD (who has zero chance of winning federal elections) or come to their senses and vote more moderate right. If not, then treasonous leftists will polish off Greece with illegal immigration (and likely even give in to Skopje — see treason of leftists during civil war to IMRO)