Saturday November 1, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
18o C
13o 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 peopleís 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? Itís 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)  
The judiciaryís responsibility
Findings raise eyebrows
Countering Turkish swagger in the Eastern Mediterranean
Time is running out in Afghanistan
Ministry swap halts talk of reshuffle as reforms eyed
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday appointed Nikos Dendias as defense minister, replacing outgoing Dimitris Avramopoulos, who assumes the European Commissionís immigration portfolio ne...
Turkish-Greek cooperation in Aegean helps stem flow of migrants
Closer cooperation between Greek and Turkish coast guard authorities has led to 11,000 undocumented migrants being prevented from entering Greek borders and returned to the neighboring count...
Inside News
Disposable income of households fell 10.3 pct in one year
The reduction of Greek householdsí disposable incomes in 2013 compared with 2012 amounted to a total of 14 billion euros, the biggest since the start of the crisis according to data released...
Banks unhappy with bad loans bill
Bank officials are expressing serious reservations about the efficiency of the governmentís bill regarding nonperforming corporate loans, arguing that the target set by the Development Minis...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Spanoulis played Zeus for Olympiakos against Neptunas
Captain Vassilis Spanoulis helped Olympiakos narrowly avoid an upset on Friday as it defeated Euroleague debutant Neptunas Klaipeda 85-81 in overtime in Lithuania to preserve its perfect sta...
BASKETBALL
Obradovic watches Greens thrash his Fenerbahce
The second homecoming of former Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic, now at Fenerbahce, was not as emotional as last yearís, but it was certainly was the night of an emphatic triumph for th...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
†RECENT NEWS
1. Spanoulis played Zeus for Olympiakos against Neptunas
2. Disposable income of households fell 10.3 pct in one year
3. Banks unhappy with bad loans bill
4. State debtor numbers grew in September
5. Reform plan among conditions
6. Ministry swap halts talk of reshuffle as reforms eyed
more news
Today
This Week
1. Archaeologists find underground vault at Amphipolis tomb
2. Man shot dead, woman injured in Vathis square attack
3. Cyprusís Georgiades bets on economy for Irish-style bailout exit
4. Greek retail sales rise for third month in a row
5. Germanyís 10-year bonds decline before euro-area inflation data
6. New defense minister to be appointed without reshuffle
Today
This Week
1. Austriaís creative bookkeeping beats Greece on secret debts
2. End of reason, end of humanity
3. Clean bill of health for Greek banks from stress tests
4. Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
5. Eurobank, National Bank restructurings eliminate capital gap
6. Athens flood damage assessed, compensation payments to begin
†††Find us ...
††... on
Twitter
†† ††... on Facebook ††
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.