Mobilisations planned by Larisa-area farmers
NEWS IN DETAIL
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday
evening announced new taxation measures and abolishment of several tax
exemptions, saying the additional burden will be paid by "those who have
The government projects to earn 150 billion drachmas from the new taxes and
collect a further 130 billion drachmas with the abolition of 206 tax
In terms of new taxes concerning large real estate holdings, the tax-free
limit is 60 million drachmas in objective value, 60 million drachmas for
the taxpayer's spouse as well and 15 million drachmas for each child. A tax
percentage is applied to the r emaining value, which escalates from 0.3 per
cent to 0.8 per cent.
A 7.5 per cent tax will be imposed on new issues of bonds and treasury
bills as of Jan. 1, 1997. Increased registration dues will be imposed on
private vehicles, motorcycles and motorbikes of less than 785cc. In
addition, a 20 per cent tax will apply to the excess value resulting from
the transfer of shares not registered with the Athens Stock Exchange.
Income tax concerning bank profits will increase from 35 per cent to 40 per
cent, while the down payment for profits in the inter-bank market will
increase from 50 per cent to 60 per cent.
Foreign exchange deposits held by Greeks to be taxed
Moreover, a 15 per cent tax will be imposed on exchange deposits, a 2/1000
tax on mutual fund assets and 15 per cent on the derivatives of fiscal
The presumed expense for private cars will increase from between 30 per
cent and 80 per cent and the age discount will be decreased and become
minus 15 per cent from 20 per cent for vehicles between five-10-years-old,
minus 25 per cent from 30 per cent for those between 10-15 years and minus
40 per cent from 50 per cent for those in excess of 15 years.
The presumed expense for pleasure craft will increase from 32 per cent to
up to 95.89 per cent and 50 per cent for aircraft.
An exemption concerning maids or nannies employed by families having
children aged up to 12 years will be abolished.
Benefits to be abolished in the income tax sector are a discount in the
expenditure concerning attorney fees, a 10 per cent reduction in the
incomes of journalists and pensioned journalists, exemption of performance
expenses received by prefects, mayors and community presidents (a 15 per
cent tax will apply henceforth), exemption of special bonuses for dangerous
occupation, exemption of a bonus for services rendered abroad (a 15 per
cent tax will apply henceforth), exemption of special bonuses for tax
officials, customs officials and other employees (a 15 per cent tax will
apply henceforth) and a discount in insurance paid by enterprises for
collective life insurance for their employees.
The exemption enjoyed by deputies and Eurodeputies for the purchase of
vehicles without paying a special consumption tax will be abolished.
In addition, the exemption of performance expenses for cabinet members and
the president of the republic will be abolished.
Deposits in drachmas by permanent residents of Greece which can be
converted into foreign exchange will be taxable, but non-permanent
residents will be excluded from this clause. Lastly, fees paid to foreign
artists will henceforth be subject to a 15 pe r cent tax.
Reacting to Mr. Papantoniou's announcements, main opposition New Democracy
party leader Miltiades Evert referred to a "government of taxes", promising
a "head-on and uncompromising opposition."
He also accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis of a "conscious and planned
deception of the Greek people", and of "phenomenal political audacity,"
referring to his pre-election promises for no new taxes.
Mr. Evert proposed indexation of a tax-scale for inflation, with a parallel
trimming of what he called a "corrupt and rotten state", which "will allow
the taxpayer to breathe and secure necessary funds for education and the
exercise of social policy."
Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert and ND honorary
leader Constantine Mitsotakis are apparently headed for a showdown at the
party's political council meeting today, after the latter's statements in a
television interview and magazine ar ticle that ND "has ceased functioning
democratically to a great degree."
Mr. Evert immediately responded to the former prime minister's remarks,
criticising Mr. Mitsotakis of disorientating the Greek people and helping
the ruling PASOK party to implement what he called its "tough new economic
Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan will not travel to the EU's
Dublin summit in December if the 15-member Union does not invite him as
"the prime minister of a candidate country for entry into the European
Union," the Spanish News Agency (EFE) reported from Ankara yesterday.
According to the Turkish labour minister, the Islamist prime minister will
not participate in what he (Erbakan) reportedly referred to as a "social
EFE reported that the Turkish prime minister stressed that "we reject this
dishonour, and as an answer they (EU) can keep the Ecu500 million of aid
they have promised us, but the prime minister will not go to a meeting of
In a related issue, PASOK Eurodeputy and vice-president of the Socialist
Group Yiannis Roubatis has asked to be informed by the Council of Ministers
on how the Council reacts to such "insulting statements" by high-ranking
He also asked whether the Council intends to explain to the Turkish
leadership that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated by the
European Union and could lead to a greater deadlock in EU-Turkish
Mr. Roubatis also asked the Council why European citizens should pressure
Turkey to accept aid which Ankara has said, through Mr. Erbakan's
statements, it does not want.
Malta's decision not to further pursue its application to join the
European Union will not affect Cyprus' accession process, Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou said here yesterday.
"Procedures leading to the accession of Cyprus into the EU are continuing
unimpeded with the same speed, and are not affected by Malta's decision to
freeze its application for entry," he said during a joint press conference
with the island republic's Fo reign Minister Alecos Michaelides after an EU-
Cyprus ministerial meeting.
During the meeting, it was stressed that in view of its potential accession,
Cyprus has already harmonised 40 per cent of its legislation with the 15-
member Union, and hopes to reach 70 to 80 per cent until commencement of
negotiations, scheduled six months after the end of the IGC.
G.Papandreou: Greece opposes `flexibility clause` in revised EU Treaty
Athens opposes the "principle of solidarity" by which European Union member-
states will cooperate more-or-less closely on certain issues based on their
potential, interests and specific aims, Alternate Foreign Minister George
Papandreou made clear yesterday at a Council of Ministers session focus ing
on issues related to the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).
Incorporation of the principle of flexibiliity in the revised Maastricht
Treaty has been proposed by Bonn and Paris during the IGC.
Mr. Papandreou told his counterparts that Greece opposes the adoption of a
general "flexibility clause", as this could lead to a multi-tiered European
In addition, Mr. Papandreou proposed that the principle could be adopted in
sectors agreed upon in advance and inorporated into a new Treaty only as a
last resort, if the principle of unanimity cannot operate, if the acquis
communautaire is not encroach ed upon, and if the aims of European
unification are served. Countries which cannot participate from the start
will have to be given support so that they may be able to join later.
General staff chief to visit Bulgaria next week
National Defence General Staff Chief Gen.Anastasios Tzoganis leaves for a
two-day official visit to Bulgaria next Monday at the invitation of his
Bulgarian counterpart Gen. Totomirov, the Bulgarian defence ministry
announced yeste rday.
Gen. Tzoganis' schedule includes a meeting with the neighbouring country's
parliamentary external affairs committee, and the signing of a bilateral
military cooperation agreement for 1997.
Consulate's lending library in Gjirokaster to open on Jan. 1
The lending library of the Greek consulate here will be officialy opened on
New Year's Day by Consul-General Nikolaos Kanellos.
Speaking to the Athens News Agency, Mr. Kanellos said the library will hold
material that will enable teaching staff at the Gjirokaster University to
conduct historical and scientific research. The library will operate every
Tuesday, Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday.
Athens considering trade credits for Yugoslavia
Greece is seriously considering extending credits to the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia in order to boost trade between the two countries, which
totalled only $170 million in the first 10 months of 1996.
The dispatch quoted the counsellor for economic and commercial affairs at
the Greek embassy in Belgrade, Christos Farmakis, who addressed a meeting
of Greek and Yugoslav businessmen.
At present, he added, 150 Greek companies are cooperating with Yugoslavia,
either directly or through joint ventures.
Govt. going ahead with privatisations
Labour and Social Security Undersecretary Christos Protopapas yesterday
told Greek businessmen that "all of us should have the power to see the
privatisations issue through."
Addressing a conference on the "Hour of the Greek Economy," organised by
the Hellenic-American Chamber, Mr. Protopapas said the government was
proceeding with the privatisation of all public sector companies falling
under the jurisdiction of the Busines s Restructuring Organisation.
Referring to efforts to contain state intervention in the banking system,
Mr. Protopapas said that only if the governments, the parties and the
social forces agreed on certain principles and procedures, while bureacracy
was lessened as well, could denationationalisation procedures come to
Elaborating on the same issue, President of the Federation of Greek
Industries (SEB) Jason Stratos said that denationalisation would free
resources which can be channelled to the private sector thus encouraging
SEB's president stressed the lack of signs for an expanded denationalisation
in other sectors where the presence of the state is strongly-felt, such as
the banking system, with the exception of smaller banks.
Workers strike to protest new economic measures
General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Christos
Polyzogopoulos yesterday warned of a wave of strikes organised to coincide
with the parliamentary debate on the state budget for 1997 which should be
held by the end of the week.
"There is will for an escalation of labour action and I believe that there
will be such an escalation," Mr. Polyzogopoulos told a press conference.
A 24-hour general strike has already been organised for tomorrow in which
all major trade union federations will be participating.
Public utilities such as the Public Power Corporation (DEH), the Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), the Athens and Piraeus Water Company
(EYDAP) and the Greek Postal Service(ELTA) will be operating with skeleton
The strike is expected to hit public transport in particular, with the
national carrier Olympic Airways(OA) aircraft being grounded and considerable
disruption to ferry-boat, train and bus services.
Farmers in the Larisa region are launching mobilisations today that will
culminate in blockades of the Athens-Thessaloniki highway tomorrow.
The decision was taken following yesterday's sentencing of three farmers to
one-year imprisonment for obstructing traffic during protests in February-
Rainy and stormy weather throughout the country. Same for Athens where
temperatures will range from 10-16C and in Thessaloniki from 6-11C.
Snowfalls in the mountainous regions.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 237.713, Can. dlr.177.270, Australian dlr. 192.994, Pound sterling
397.990, Irish punt 398.050, Cyprus pd 516.634, French franc 46.003, Swiss
franc 184.115 Belgian franc 7.571, German mark 156.012, Finnish mark 51.854,
Dutch guilder 139.118, Danish Kr. 40.642, Swedish Kr. 35.696, Norwegian Kr.
36.962, Austrian Sh. 22.171, Italian lira (100) 15.738, Yen (100) 211.534,
Spanish Peseta 1.855, Portuguese Escudo 1.548.