New Democracy suggested Tuesday that Defense Minister Panos Kammenos should resign after he labeled the scrapping of the discount on value-added tax enjoyed by some Greek islands as “criminal and unconstitutional.”
Speaking on the Cycladic island of Syros Tuesday, Kammenos said that he had fought against the decision, and even threatened to resign, but was unable to prevent the VAT increase on islands, which had been proposed by Greece’s lenders.
Kammenos, who also leads the junior coalition partner Independent Greeks, suggested that Article 101 of the country’s Constitution, which stipulates that Greece’s administration should be decentralized, allows different policies to apply on the country’s islands.
He added that it is his “top priority” to restore the reduced rate once the economy returns to growth and that he would try to convince the country’s creditors that Greek islands are not what people see at expensive resorts on Myconos and Santorini in the summer.
“During the winter, our islands are places where the residents have a tough time,” he said, stressing the lack of infrastructure and medical care.
New Democracy said that since Kammenos admitted to legislating a measure that is “unconstitutional” he should resign straight away.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s office sought to play down the minister’s comments. One of the premier’s aides suggested that Kammenos would clarify his comments in due course.