Meeting between finance minister, farmers, ends in deadlock

A meeting between Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and farmers protesting new tax regulations for their sector ended in a deadlock in Athens on Thursday, with agriculturalists saying that they will be increasing their nationwide action.

Stournaras met with one of the groups representing Greek farmers, the Initiative for the Restructuring of the Farmers' Union Movement.

Unionists Theodoros Papaconstantinou and Giorgos Tzortzakis came out of the meeting, where they demanded that Stournaras withdraw the new regulations and reopen negotiations over how farmers are taxed, saying that the finance minister rejected their proposal, the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) reported.

According to the AMNA, however, Stournaras said that he was open to a discussion on issues pertaining to the agricultural sector on the condition that it was held within the framework of the new law.

Meanwhile, farmers in the Peloponnese said that they will be escalating their action, which so far has been limited to brief blockades at public buildings such as tax offices and Public Power Corporation branches and banks, as well as tractor motorcades along stretches of the national highway.