NEWS

PM Mitsotakis announces measures to bolster middle class

ARISTOTELIA PELONI

TAGS: Politics, Economy

Seeking to kickstart Greece’s sluggish real estate market, boost investments and bolster the construction sector, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Wednesday night the suspension for three years of value-added tax payments on the sale of properties whose construction licenses have been issued since 2006.

“In other words, all new constructions, as well as real estate built in the last 14 years and not yet sold, are exempt from value added tax,” he said in a speech at a dinner organized by the Economist magazine in Athens, outlining a vision for “the next four years at least” that includes reforms to attract investments, a fiscal policy mix spearheaded by tax cuts and interventions to the banking system to reduce non-performing loans.

The plan, he stressed, seeks to shore up the middle class, which he described as the backbone of society.

“Everyone benefits when the country benefits, and wage earners first of all,” he said.

The premier also expressed his conviction that the primary surplus target of 3.5 percent, which his leftist predecessor Alexis Tsipras committed to, will be reduced from 2021.

“We have said that we will start a discussion with our partners on the 3.5 percent primary surplus target for the years 2021 and 2022. This will take place within 2020, when we have restored the country’s credibility and its commitment to reforms. And, today, I can express my strong certitude that this discussion will have a positive outcome for Greece,” he said.

He also stressed that the country has turned a page and is looking at the future with greater determination.

“After the trauma of a decade-long crisis, we now have the knowledge and the will that are the main ingredients of determination,” he said, adding that his government’s philosophy is based on its trust in democracy, Parliament and the justice system.

Moreover, referring to the positive shift in consumer confidence and indicators gauging the economic climate amid the negative outlook of the international economy, he described Greece as an “exception of progress.”

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