NEWS

2004 concern over rental tax

To the annoyance of Athens Olympics organizers, the government yesterday insisted on imposing a 10-percent tax on the income from apartments rented to high-earning tourists during the 2004 Games, a measure which is expected to discourage many Athenians from joining in the rental program. The 10-percent levy was included in a new draft bill on taxation made public by Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, who had been under pressure from Athens 2004 officials to reduce the tax to 5 percent. Due to a dearth of hotel accommodation, nearly all of the capital’s top-notch hotel rooms have already been reserved for foreign Olympics officials in August 2004. Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki raised the matter with Prime Minister Costas Simitis during a scheduled meeting yesterday. She also pleaded again for a reduction in the value-added tax levied on events tickets, from 8 to 4 percent. Talks also focused on the choice of venue for the Olympic football final. The International Olympic Committee has turned down Greek proposals for the game to be played at the Kalogreza Olympic Stadium. But plans to host the match at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Faliron were abandoned after a deal to renovate the 33-year-old football ground fell through. Now, officials are presented with a choice between the Nea Philadelphia and Rizoupolis grounds. Yesterday, the Education Ministry announced plans to spend 4.14 million euros over the next two years to encourage pupils at state and private schools to take up subjects such as «Arts and Olympic Values,» «Sports and Olympic Values,» «Advancing Peace, the Olympic Truce, Understanding and Dialogue Between Peoples and Cultures,» and «Ending Social Exclusion – Multiculturalism.»