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Stournaras waits for court's tax verdict, eyes growth plan

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras says the government intends to develop a 10-year growth plan, although his immediate attention is likely to be on the Supreme Court, which is due to hear this week an appeal against a lower court’s decision to ban an emergency property tax from being levied via electricity bills.

Stournaras told Naftemporiki newspaper that he would ask the think-tank he ran, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), and the Center for Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) to develop a blueprint for generating growth in Greece.

The finance minister added that part of the plan would focus on the use of EU structural funds.

However, Stournaras’s immediate concern is likely to be whether the Supreme Court will continue to allow the emergency property tax introduced late last year to be levied via electricity bills.

A judge heard on Monday the Finance Ministry's argument but a verdict is not due to be issued until a full hearing has been held on Tuesday.

Last week, Stournaras wrote to the Public Power Corporation to ask the company to keep collecting the tax despite a first instance court ruling that electricity bills should not be used for this purpose. Stournaras said it was in the national interest that PPC continue to collect the tax, which is vital for the government to meet its revenue targets.

In a statement on Sunday, Greece’s prosecutors’ union said that based on the press reports of the finance minister’s communication with PPC, Stournaras could be accused of inciting others not to abide by the law. The prosecutors suggested that this could prompt legal action against the government.

ekathimerini.com , Monday December 17, 2012 (14:08)  
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