Athens, January 25, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Ready for a meaningful dialogue with the farmers appeared the deputy finance minister, Tryfon Alexiadis, Sunday morning and after their decision to escalate their protests and to proceed with two-hour blockades of highways. “I am prepared to go to any roadblock to hold a meaningful dialogue, not with the conditions I encountered in Serres and Komotini”, he said.
In a discussion between the minister and farmers’ representatives from Tempe, in the morning show of SKAI television, Alexiadis warned his interlocutors that Social Security System is at a risk of collapse if no solution is found and claimed that the government is not planning any changes to this year’s taxation for farmers.
He explained, however, that the coming years will bring gradual changes in this area so as to achieve a normalization with all taxpayers.
Asked what will the government do if the harsh measures pass in the House but farmers have money to pay their taxes, Alexiadis replied: “We do not want to take neither houses nor machinery, but you must see the whole picture”.
At the same time, the minister justified the wrath of rural areas of the country for their overall problems, “but not everything can be solved in one year”, he said.
It should be noted that the prime minister as well has called farmers to dialogue, but they answer that after they have concluded their protests that have been decided for Sunday and Monday, they will hold consultations together on Tuesday in Thessaloniki and will decide on their next moves.
Apostolou: The dialogue with farmers must continue
The need to continue the dialogue with farmers, since the prime minister himself invites their representatives to the Maximos Mansion, stressed the minister of agricultural development and food, Vangelis Apostolou, speaking on MEGA television about the mobilizations of farmers.
Apostle stated that he is being discussing with farmers since October “on the agreement we had signed, an agreement to which we were led, among other things, to ensure the protection of the farmers, which was a key issue for us”.
“We must implement this agreement. Not only it has been agreed by all politicians who are in favour of the European course, it is also necessary for the farmers themselves, as it ensures that approximately EUR 3.5 bn per year will continue to flow in the agriculture sector”, said the minister of agricultural development.
Apostolou admitted that the agricultural sector has peculiarities in relation to other professional classes and needs special support. “The European Union supports respects and defends this support, both institutionally and financially from the Community budget for the agricultural sector”, he noted and added: “For the Greek farmers, as for all Europeans, every year is ensured through the Common Agricultural Policy an amount for their aid. In our country around 700,000 farmers receive such aid”.
Asked to comment on the request of farmers to withdraw the Social Security bill, the minister replied that “such a request is like asking for our country to “blow up” the Agreement with its partners and thus bring back an issue for the stay of our country in the eurozone and even in the European Union”.