The battle to save the country is continuing, and no cowardice can be forgiven in serving this patriotic duty, Prime Minister George Papandreou told a Cabinet meeting on Monday. The meeting was held to discuss the government’s Medium-Term Economic Program.
Last year he said, with the government’s decisions and the Greek people’s sacrifices, we averted bankruptcy. Just like a year ago, today we are taking the decisions needed to permanently avert the danger and to permanently change the country.
“We averted the threat of the country’s bankruptcy and placed the country on a track of streamlining and growth. Back-stepping is not allowed, we have a duty to the country and to the Greek people to ensure our future course,” the Premier added.
During marathon talks with cabinet Ministers, Papandreou promised to speed up reforms and set into motion yet a new round of belt-tightening under the government’s midterm fiscal programme. It would include more consumer tax increases, cuts to public sector spending, and an ambitious privatization drive to avoid default.
The government will move ahead with a 50-billion-euro privatization programme, which will include selling off the country’s two biggest ports of Pireaus and Thessaloniki, as well as the Public Power Corporation; Hellenic Postbank; OTE Telecom; gas company DEPA; gaming group OPAP; and Athens water utilities.
Reports said the additional emergency measures may include cutting in half, a current 12,000-euro tax exemption and cuts in other exemptions on medical expenses and interest on home loans.
Other austerity measures may also include adding a one-off levy on high incomes over 80,000 euros, a tax on large real estate property and higher taxes on food and electricity.
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