Samaras meets with protesting farmers

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met on Friday with unionists representing farmers who have been staging roadside blockades for several weeks in a bid to secure tax breaks and other concessions from the government.

The farmers gave Samaras a petition listing their demands, according to sources.

Unionists expressed satisfaction that the premier eventually conceded to meet with them and said he told them that he was «by their side.»

In a parallel meeting on Friday, Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis and Deputy Development Minister Maximos Harakopoulos met with unionists to discuss a special consumption tax on fuel used by farmers. According to sources, the government is prepared to introduce a special fuel card for farmers that would allow them to reduce costs.

Earlier on Friday, unionists met with Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis while farmers are to be received on Monday by several cabinet members including Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras in a meeting that, the government hopes, will be decisive and convince producers to withdraw from the country’s road junctions.

Speaking to Skai on Friday, Agricultural Development Minister Athanassios Tsaftaris said that, by the end of the month, some 80 million euros will be disbursed to farmers, around half of the total rebate for a special consumption tax on fuel.

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