Changing tax on farmers ‘not prior action,’ Greek gov’t says


Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said on Tuesday that Greece will begin negotiations with creditors immediately after approving a set of prior actions with the aim of concluding by August 20 but, she said, the tax status of farmers is not part of those prior actions.

European officials indicated on Monday that measures relating to the taxation of farmers and phasing out early retirements will not be voted on this Wednesday, along with measures to speed up court cases and protect Greek banks, but in the first week of August.

However, amid reports of strong opposition to potential changes to farmers' tax status, particularly in the ranks of the conservative New Democracy, Gerovasili indicated on Tuesday that such reforms are not among the prior actions agreed with creditors.

“The government wants to make it clear that none of the prior actions relates to changes in the tax status of farmers,” she said, referring to “rumors” reports in recent days according to which such measures would go to vote in the first week of August which she said were "groundless."

The prior actions agreed between Greece and its creditors comprise changes to VAT, the pension issue, establishing the full independence of the statistics agency Elstat and adopting measures to boost governance, she said, noting that all those measures were voted through Parliament last week with the exception of pensions which has been postponed following an agreement with creditors.

A code of civil procedure, aimed at speeding up court cases, and the adoption of European legislation to bolster banks will go to a vote on Wednesday, she said.