Tuesday March 3, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
20o C
11o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Turning the page realistically

By Alexis Papachelas

At some point we need to adopt a more practical approach to a number of sensitive issues and abandon the Northern European dogmatism that reads well on paper but has little practical effect. I am specifically referring to the ongoing talks between the government and the troika for steps to repatriate Greek capital that has been transferred abroad.

The troika and certain government officials have so far opposed the idea of an agreement that would effectively legalize deposits that may be illegally acquired or the product of tax evasion. It is true that there is no point in repatriating tainted money and legitimizing it at a time when you are trying to change people’s attitudes to tax evasion. That said, a lot has changed since the start of the crisis. Tax control mechanisms have improved significantly and are able to act as a deterrent, at least to those flirting with the idea of breaking the law.

The country, however, is at crucial juncture and must turn over a new leaf. We have to find a way to make sure than anyone who embezzled public money or committed a crime is punished. On the other hand, we need to prop up our banks and boost the market and growth. The conditions are ripe for such a move, at least on an international level, though less so on a domestic one. Tax havens are gradually shutting down or implementing stricter controls. Switzerland, for example, is no longer the sure bet it was for seasoned tax dodgers and they know that their other options carry greater risks. On a practical level this means that there are Greeks who would even be willing to give up a large chunk of their deposits abroad in order to be in the clear once and for all.

But is anyone willing to do this knowing that a new government may come along to cancel the related legislation and go after those who have declared their assets abroad? It’s a difficult question, but people who know how the market works believe that with certain guarantees and under certain preconditions, the scheme could prove successful. They believe that the money that could come back to Greece or be officially declared may be as much as 100 billion euros.

So what would the benefits be? Part of the money would return to Greek banks and would go a long way toward ensuring that they pass their stress tests this coming fall. The real estate market would also stand to win and of course the state would reap significant revenues from the fines it would impose on those who want to bring their money back.

I understand that there is a huge moral dimension to this issue but we need to be practical, realistic. If we want to turn the page and start functioning like a normal country this is the better course. If we would rather take the moral high ground, without reward and results, then we should just do nothing.

So, let us look to other countries that have succeeded in both respecting their institutions and maintaining a realistic position, such as the US, for example, which is increasingly stepping up effort to combat tax evasion while at the same time offering opportunities for amnesty.

ekathimerini.com , Monday Jul 7, 2014 (15:39)  
Greece and the four month window of opportunity
The Greek tax drama
Mixed signals
Three options for the PM
Greek-Turkish diplomacy set to resume after Ankara ´mistake´
Talks between Greek and Turkish diplomats are expected to resume soon with a focus on easing tensions in the Aegean after Ankara said it had mistakenly issued a notice to reserve a large chu...
Defense probes yielding evidence
The armed forces’ internal affairs department has found evidence of wrongdoing in two military procurement cases and the government will forward this to the judiciary, Defense Minister Panos...
Inside News
ECB funding to Greek banks rose 47 percent in January
European Central Bank funding to Greek banks rose 47 percent in January from a month earlier, Greek central bank data showed on Tuesday, as deposit flight squeezed liquidity and forced the c...
Stock market inches up in day of low turnover
Early gains had all but evaporated by the end of Tuesday’s bourse session, but the benchmark still managed to put an end to its four-day losing streak. Lenders, however, held on to most of t...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Marinakis fines Olympiakos players
Olympiakos president Evangelos Marinakis on Monday fined the team 500,000 euros for disappointing performances and called on them to make a «sacrifice» to win trophies or leave. "Olympiakos ...
SOCCER
Olympiakos´s Karembeu confident UEFA on top of racism
Olympiakos strategic advisor Christian Karembeu expressed his confidence on Tuesday that UEFA are getting to grips with racism in soccer after suffering abuse during the recent Greek derby a...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greek-Turkish diplomacy set to resume after Ankara ´mistake´
2. Defense probes yielding evidence
3. ECB funding to Greek banks rose 47 percent in January
4. Prosecutors propose strict conditions for Golden Dawn MPs’ release
5. Greek police catch pedophile, 40, who lured boy into van
6. Greek doctors offered 450-euro bonus to work on small islands
more news
Today
This Week
1. The Greek tax drama
2. Varoufakis to make six reform proposals at Monday's Eurogroup
3. Draghi’s QE moves to starting line as economic outlook brightens
4. Convicted Conspiracy of the Cells Fire member to face magistrate
5. Greece approved as recipient of EBRD funding through 2020
6. Investor survey shows 38 pct chance of eurozone break-up in 12 months
Today
This Week
1. Greece to make international protest over Turkey reserving Aegean air space
2. A fierce battle looms
3. SYRIZA feeling the pain
4. Spain said to lead push to hold Greece to terms as Podemos grows
5. The unlikely winners of Greece's surrender on euro
6. The Greek tax drama
Advertiser Link
“AMF” PROJECT FINAL CONFERENCE-REGIONAL UNIT OF THESPROTIA
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.