Tsipras announces freeze in VAT hike for five Aegean islands

Tsipras announces freeze in VAT hike for five Aegean islands

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the government is freezing a planned VAT hike in five islands of the northeastern Aegean that have borne the brunt of the refugee crisis, saying it is “a very positive development.”

The freeze will affect the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros, which were due to adopt in July the higher tax rates implemented on the mainland. 

The five islands had been exempt from the switch to higher rates that took effect on the other islands in January 2018.

Speaking after an EU summit in Brussels, Tsipras said the government will immediately issue a legislative act that will postpone the increase. He said decision came after talks with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, who gave the green light.

Asked how long the lower VAT will be in place, he said “as long as the refugee crisis continues,” and as long as he is prime minister.

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