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Kouvelis Sees Lower Restaurant VAT

restaurantWhile Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reportedly nixed a lower Value Added Tax (VAT,) now at 23 percent, for restaurants, one of his coalition partners, Democratic Left (DIMAR) chief Fotis Kouvelis, said it’s going to happen anyway, and is needed to bring back customers, especially with the tourism season about to get into full swing.
In an interview with state television channel NET, Kouvelis said he had raised the issue of a reduction to VAT on Greek restaurants during a meeting in Brussels with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The VAT was raised by the government on the orders of international lenders providing $325 billion in two bailouts.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said earlier this month that the government plans to broach the issue of lower VAT in the food sector when Troika envoys return to Athens in June.
In his talks with Barroso in Brussels, Kouvelis said he also called for changes to a special consumption tax on heating oil which led many Greek households to turn to cheaper forms of heating, including burning furniture, plastic and construction materials in a bid to stay warm during the winter months.
On the issue of growth, which Kamaras has highlighted as a priority for the government, Kouvelis said that it must be directly linked to employment, calling for specific policies and funding to tackle rising unemployment.

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