Tsipras: Islands at the forefront of migration crisis to be exempt from VAT hike

Tsipras: Islands at the forefront of migration crisis to be exempt from VAT hike

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday announced a series of measures regarding eastern Aegean Greek islands during an address from the island of Nisyros.

“Today we are announcing measures for the islands which carry the burden of the migration [crisis],” said Tsipras, adding that northern Aegean and Dodecanese islands would be exempt from a VAT hike which is part of the country’s commitments under its bailout program.

Tsipras was touring Nisyros accompanied by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and Shipping Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis, among other officials.

“They are shouldering the burden of reception and hospitality, and, ultimately, the entire burden of Europe. Citizens on these islands must feel sure that the state is looking after them,” said Tsipras.

He said that the left-led government was planning to reinforce the area's ferry services network and seek improvements in health-related issues.

He said that foreign technocrats underestimate the particularities of the country, including Greece’s long coastal line and the difficulties in reaching islands in the winter.

Speaking on the issue of a one-off payment to low pensioners announced last week, Tsipras said his administration would fulfill its pledge and would not ask third parties about how to dispose of the money which came from a surplus.

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