Dendias talks tax, funds in Germany

The Greek government Tuesday took its case for lower taxes to Germany, where Development Minister Nikos Dendias met German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

“We discussed a lot about the issue of taxation: how the Greek economy could operate in a framework with fewer taxes and with powerful growth tools that could help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the funding they need to grow,” said Dendias after his meeting with Schaeuble, which he described as “very cordial.”

The talks with the German officials came two weeks before Greek ministers are due to meet troika representatives in Paris, where the issue of taxes is certain to be raised.

During Dendias’s talks in Berlin, it was agreed that Germany’s public investment bank KfW would provide another 30 million euros for a second fund being created by the Institution for Growth in Greece (IfG). KFW has already committed 100 million for IfG’s first fund, which will provide loans to businesses. The second fund, targeted at SMEs, will also be boosted by 30 million euros from France’s Caisse des Depots, 50 million from the European Investment Bank and 40 million from the Onassis Foundation.

Dendias was assured by German officials that Berlin would support Greece’s request to be allowed to use European Union structural funds to refinance business loans even though the European Commission is skeptical about the plan.