ND urges gov’t to spend part of surplus on social policies, tax cuts


Greece’s conservative opposition has called upon the leftist-led government to spend part of the country’s 2016 primary budget surplus on social policies and tax cuts.

During an interview broadcast on Alpha TV late Wednesday, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that 0.5 percent of gross domestic product, or 865 million euros, could be used to provide free nursery care for all children, to reduce the VAT on agricultural products from 24 percent to 13 percent, to scrap the special consumption tax on wine, and to slash the ENFIA property tax by 20 percent. 

In a statement Thursday, Greece’s finance ministry rejected the ND proposal saying that introducing the measures now would burden this year's budget.

Official data last month showed that Greece far exceeded its international creditors’ budget demands in 2016. The primary surplus – the leftover before debt repayments that is the focus of International Monetary Fund-European Union creditors – was more than eight times what they had targeted, reaching 3.9 percent of GDP under ESA 2010 guidelines.