Early election leaves little time for bills

With a March 7 election announced yesterday, the government has very little time to pass crucial legislation. The two most important bills awaiting consideration by Parliament are one on tax reform and another on foreign and domestic investment. The tax law must be passed before Parliament adjourns – sometime in early February – for the tax reforms, introduced on January 1, to be valid. The investment bill, also known as the «Development Law» has been in preparation since 2001, when Yiannos Papantoniou was still the minister of economy and finance. The delay is the result of the government’s lack of flexible response to the European Union’s forbidding state subsidies. In the end, current Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis decided to offer major investors a long-term tax regime. The Development Law includes an amendment concerning the resumption of operations by the Cassandra mines in northern Greece. A third bill, on monitoring public expenditure, is unlikely to pass or, if it does, is unlikely to be applied. But another on civil service wages will surely be adopted.

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