Tsipras to announce tax, pension relief measures as polls loom

Tsipras to announce tax, pension relief measures as polls loom

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will unveil tax and pension “relief measures” on Tuesday, weeks before a European Parliament election, a government official told Reuters.

Greece emerged from its third international bailout in August last year and has been outperforming fiscal targets agreed with its international lenders, giving the government leeway to proceed with handouts in an election year.

Tsipras and finance ministry officials were expected to make announcements and hold a press briefing at 7 p.m.

The government official declined to give specific details about the tax and pension measures. Another government official referred only to “relief measures” with no other details.

According to local media reports, the new measures were likely to include a permanent benefit for pensioners, who had their bonuses slashed at the peak of Greece’s debt crisis in 2012, as well as tax reductions for low income earners.

Late on Monday, the government submitted to Parliament a bill giving relief to millions of people owing tax and pension contribution arrears.

Tsipras’ term ends in October and he has ruled out early polls. His SYRIZA party is trailing the conservative opposition ahead of European Parliament elections, which will coincide with local elections on May 26. [Reuters]

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