Calls for islands’ VAT discount to become permanent


The suspension of a value-added tax hike on five eastern Aegean islands to bring them into line with the tax regime elsewhere in Greece will only last until December 31, according to the legislative act published in the Government Gazette on Saturday.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had stated in Brussels on Friday that the measure would apply for as long as the migration-related problems persist on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos (pictured) and Leros, and “for as long as I remain prime minister, which will be a long time.”

SYRIZA MP for Chios Andreas Michailidis said that the official duration of the measure until year-end is purely for technical purposes of fiscal order, as it affects this year’s budget. The 30 percent VAT discount was supposed to end last Saturday.

The VAT discount should not be lifted at all, said New Democracy’s spokesman for financial affairs, Christos Staikouras, underscoring that his party had proposed three times that the measure should be made permanent, with the government rejecting it each time.

Northern Aegean Regional Authority head Christina Kalogirou told Skai TV that the VAT discount is necessary for those islands to recover and should apply to the entire region, noting that on other islands in Europe such as the Canary Islands in Spain there is no VAT at all.