As virtually all members of the Greek cabinet leave their posts for a week’s vacation, officials close to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras are putting the finishing touches on a plan to overhaul public sector salaries in line with pledges to the troika ahead of negotiations next month when Athens is expected to press for tax breaks.
According to sources, the agenda for the premier’s speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), which is scheduled to run from September 6 to 14, has yet to be finalized as the government is keen to first see the outcome of talks between Greek officials and the troika in Paris on September 3. The Greek delegation will seek to secure a basic agreement as regards a lightening of Greece’s huge debt burden, Kathimerini understands. It will also try to get the green light for the government to introduce some measures to offset the impact of years of austerity such as tax breaks and favorable repayment terms for individuals and businesses with non-performing loans.
Samaras is keen to use TIF – traditionally employed by premiers to set out economic policy and offer handouts – to announce that debt relief is in sight and to herald a series of tax breaks, sources said. The premier is understood to be eyeing a 15 percent flat tax rate for corporate profits, a top rate on income tax of 33 percent, as opposed to the current 42 percent, the reduction of value-added tax from 23 percent to 15 percent in as many cases as possible, the reduction of a consumption tax on heating oil and the eventual abolition of a solidarity tax on income.