ECONOMY

Gov’t insisting on popular measures in the days ahead

gov-amp-8217-t-insisting-on-popular-measures-in-the-days-ahead

The government intends to bring clauses for the restructuring of tax and social security debts to Parliament in the next 10-15 days, despite the European Commission report saying that the issue has been put on ice, Kathimerini understands.

This will be one of the 18 “popular” bills the government intends to submit, as a senior government official revealed on Thursday, which will also include the planned Hellenic Development Bank, credit for small companies and changes to the education system. This is a prospect that makes the Finance Ministry favor the idea of holding a general election later rather than sooner: “The later, the better,” as one source put it, expecting the debt payment plans, as well as the various handouts, higher employment and another positive tourism season, to have a favorable impact on the election result.

A senior government official expressed dismay on Thursday at the Commission report’s wording regarding the debt payment plans, saying that Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos had only offered assurances that the government would not surprise the creditors and that it would forward the text to them before submitting the regulations.

The regulation on tax debts will not be a horizontal one, sources say, but will include criteria, while sensitive groups such as the unemployed can also look forward to debt forgiveness. Its aim will be to enhance the “payment culture.”

The same senior official expressed optimism on Thursday about the 750-million-euro disbursement through a favorable Eurogroup decision on March 11, adding that the review of the Katseli law and the protection it provides for debtors’ primary residences will be ready for submission to Parliament on Monday or Tuesday, so that it can be voted through on Thursday.

He further noted that, handled correctly, the open issue of the securitization of bad loans will be closed in the next couple of weeks, but did not rule out a permanent fiscal measure to offset the possible impact of a court decision that would entail the payment of billions of euros to civil servants and pensioners.