Athens, April 13, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
With the filing of the tax and insurance bills answers the government to lenders
Alexis Tsipras will make visits to Paris, Strasbourg and Brussels – will meet Hollande on Wednesday
Political negotiation elements seem to have the surprise visit of Alexis Tsipras in Paris Wednesday to meet at 7 pm, the French president, Francois Hollande, at a time when the negotiation with the institutions is at a critical juncture.
On Thursday at 24:00, the Prime Minister will meet in Strasbourg with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and then will travel to Brussels, when at 7 pm will participate as a guest speaker at a scheduled working dinner with senior members of the Axel Springer Foundation on the state and prospects of the Greek economy. What’s interesting is that Alexis Tsipras will not make a stop in Berlin, and is expected to return to Athens Friday.
According to government circles, the meeting with President Hollande had been scheduled for Thursday, but was brought forward at the request of the French side for Wednesday, because Hollande will be absent after Wednesday night from Paris.
The prime minister’s schedule change has resulted in the postponement of Wednesday’s plenary debate of the House on the SYRIZA- ANEL parliamentary groups proposition for a committee of inquiry to investigate the loans to parties and SMEs. As was announced, this discussion will take place on Friday, at 10:00 in the morning.
The sudden trip of the Prime Minister to Paris comes shortly after the joint press conference of Labour, Economy, and Finance ministers, Giorgos Katrougalos Giorgos Stathakis and Euclid Tsakalotos respectively, in which they announced that by next week will be tabled in parliament two bills, one for income tax and one for social security, under the fulfillment of commitments to find 1% of GDP from each sector. The two draft laws will be submitted with the normal procedures, in order to be voted by the end of the month.
As Finance Minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, stated in a joint press conference with Economy and Labour ministers Giorgos Stathakis and Giorgos Katrougalos, “the Greek government is a sovereign government”. He added that “it is right to have objectives from the Memorandum, it is right to listen to the opinion of institutions, but the last word on how to reach the objectives rests with the Greek government”. Especially for the tax-free threshold, Tsakalotos stated that “I am not prepared to table in the House a bill with a lower tax-free” from the amount of 9.091 Euro, highlighting one of the “red” lines of government.
According to the minister, there will be the same tax scale for income from wages, pensions and business, the rental income will be taxed at three rates, dividends independently with 15% and the solidarity contribution will be taxed at “marginal rates”.
Tsakalotos appeared optimistic that there will be a staff level agreement by the Eurogroup of April 22, or there will be an extraordinary Eurogroup by 25-26 of the same month for the first evaluation to close. At this point, Finance Minister Giorgos Stathakis, when asked whether there is a “plan B”, he said “we are working on the direction that the agreement will close and all data are in this direction”. While E. Tsakalotos said he does not consider that the difference with the IMF increases, which, according to the minister, presses both the Greek side and their European partners (greater reduction in debt).
The Finance Minister also said that in the spring meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington on April 15-17, there will be discussions on the negotiation and the debt, while the heads of the echelons will return to Athens on Monday, saying that “we didn;t have a falling out”. He pointed out that negotiation is a process that must be closed quickly, and the same goes for the debt issue, so as for “development issues to be put ahead”.
The spokesman of New Democracy Giorgos Koumoutsakos, on the occasion of the joint press conference of Ministers E. Tsakalotos, G. Katrougalos and G. Stathakis, made the following statement:
“Last year, the preacher of game theory, which led the country to the brink of bankruptcy and the third MoU was Mr. Yanis Varoufakis. This year, we have three preachers of the same dangerous theory. Messrs G. Katrougalos, G. Stathakis and E. Tsakalotos.
That is, the Minister who together with Mr. Tsipras begged the IMF to participate for three years in the program. The work is played again and again. From the “subsequent agreement” to “conflict”. And from the “conflict” to the painful for citizens capitulation. But this time, the show does not sell tickets…”.
“Along with the slaughter of lambs during Holy Week the government also prepares the slaughter the people with the bill on tax and pensions. They are deeply mistaken if they think they will be able to pass the measures deceiving the people and avoiding the popular mass mobilizations”, comments the Greek Communist Party (KKE).