Media Minister Nikos Pappas ruled out further austerity for Greece, saying that an agreement with eurozone ministers the previous day was for “zero sum fiscal interventions.”
Pappas, who is also a close adviser of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, was speaking on Antenna TV on Tuesday in regards to an agreement reached at Monday’s Eurogroup in which Greece agreed to legislate measures after the current bailout program expires in 2018, in exchange for the return of technical experts to Athens in the bid to conclude the second review of the country’s third bailout.
“Everything will happen at once… the measures and countermeasures that will come into force after 2019 will be voted together,” Pappas said.
“If there is an intervention in the tax system to reduce the threshold, then we will have to find the measures that will deliver socially just and effective tax breaks,” he added, citing the example of raising the tax on luxury goods and reducing it on basic commodities.
On the thorny front of labor reform, Pappas said he was confident the government would be able to reintroduce collective bargaining – something creditors are staunchly opposed to – and curb mass dismissals, which creditors are demanding as part of measures to boost competitiveness.
Pappas added that the government aims to wrap up the bailout review as soon as possible, saying that there is no reason for further delay. “This is a good opportunity for the international community to ascertain whether some, for reasons of expediency, are causing the delays on purpose,” he said without going into detail.