Athens Digest 28.11.2018

• Modest property, business tax relief planned for 2019

• Reforms to-do list not completed yet, says Central Bank Governor

• Greece says tuning out to hostile rhetoric from Turkey

# Draft legislation to introduce modest decreases for property and business taxes has been submitted to parliament as the government heads towards an election year. Under the tabled proposals, business taxes will be lowered by one percentage point per year to be reduced from 29 percent to 25 in 2022. For property taxes, changes will not affect most owners, while taxpayers with homes valued at around EUR 60,000 will have to pay less on their bill for the Unified Property Tax (ENFIA). The government has promised to spend money from outperforming budget targets on welfare and social programmes.

# Central bank governor Yannis Stournaras said Greece had benefited from many of the reforms introduced under the three successive bailout programs but that the country’s reform process has to continue as Greece lags behind in competitiveness. During an event organised by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (Eliamep) Stournaras claimed that much attention was paid on reducing budget deficits through tax increases instead of seeking to face tax evasion more effectively and to broaden the tax base.

# The government says it will no longer respond directly to hostile rhetoric from senior officials in Turkey, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, over oil-and-gas exploitation plans in the east Mediterranean by Greece and Cyprus. “The Turkish provocations undermine the stability of the region at a crucial juncture and demonstrate the paucity of Turkey’s legal arguments,” a statement from the Greek Foreign Ministry said. “Greece is not going to be influenced by the neighbouring country’s outbursts of aggressive rhetoric. On the contrary, as a factor of stability and security in the region, Greece will continue, in collaboration with its allies and partners, to defend international law and its own inalienable rights.”

On our Radar: Wage Loss
As unions plan a series of strikes today that will disrupt public transport and other services, data from the International Labour Organisation show that Greece has suffered another wage drop. The ILO’s Global Wage report found that Greeks had suffered a real wage drop of 3.5 percent.Greeks also lost 3.1 percent of their real wages in the decade until 2017 _ the worst drop in Europe.