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Mitsotakis: No Unrealistic Promises, Just More Jobs and Less Tax

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Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis took the podium at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair with a message of unity for Greece. “I pledge that we will do all we can to lead Greece out of the crisis,” he said, adding that he knew that he was addressing a “deeply disillusioned society”. Speaking against a background that contained the slogan “United for our  Greece,” he made a broad appeal to voters, by setting out his desire to unite Greeks.
He made three basic points:

  1. The failure of the current government;
  2. the need for a truth pact between voters and the state
  3. the call for all Greeks to rally together for reforms.

“I won’t give fake promises or share out money where there is none,” he said, unable to resist a dig at the governance of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that “continues to divide through his language and actions” who, despite “trying to wear the costume of a reformer, is only interested in remaining in government.”
“The time has come for Greece to take democracy in its hands,” he said before unveiling his plan for a “national renaissance” in post-bailout Greece.
Reducing Unemployment by Beefing Up the Private Sector
Mitsotakis explained that the social market economy is the only one that can produce wealth for all, attract investments and create new jobs. “The road map for restarting the economy has new jobs at its epicenter,” he said. “If there is an absolutely urgent priority for the Greek economy today, it is the creation of employment positions. The reduction of unemployment will come through new jobs in the private sector to come about by investments – from private investments, and not state recruitment. Jobs for many and not just for the party and close friends.”
He spoke of the need to increase exports and services so that they can surpass 40 percent from the current 30 percent over the next five years. The goal is to keep development at 4 percent until 2018 and through the creation of 120,000 jobs per year.
A ND government of excellence
Mitsotakis pledged that the ND government would be composed of the best, recruited with meritocracy so as to ensure that structural changes are made. He pointed to the need for a new agreement with lenders that would restrict the goals for the primary surplus from 2018 onwards from 3.5 percent to 2 percent so that there is fiscal leeway for growth to be supported and for daring tax restructuring to lower contributions.
ENFIA Reduction by 30 Percent in Two Years
Mitsotakis said that his government would lower the controversial and crushing single property ENFIA tax that has burdened homeowners. He said that it would be decrease by 30 percent in two years (20 percent in the first year, 10 percent in the second year). He promised a series of reductions for tax contributions. Tax contributions for business profits would drop from 29 percent to 20 percent (from 24 percent in the first year and 20 percent in the second). He said that taxation on dividends would drop from 15 percent to 5 percent.
His governance would see a return to VAT for agricultural supplies to 13 percent from 24 percent and the special wine consumption tax would be abolished. There would be an increase to the VAT restriction levels from 10,000 to 25,000 euros.
Further changes would be implemented if there is economic recovery and a reduction of primary surplus goals to 2 percent of the GDP.
Immediate interventions would cost 1.3 billion euros in the first year and 1.9 billion euros over the next two years. Mitsotakis would find the money from tax contribution reduction policies accompanied by a plan to cut back on state expenditure so that the fiscal balance is not shaken.
Funds would be found in the following areas: 200 million euros from the reduction of consumption expenditure of the Public Sector (12 percent); 400 million euros from the improved effectiveness of Public Utilities and all persons of the general government; 150 million euros from the postponement of pay increases for public servants; 140 million euros from the reduction of funds for interest rates on Greek state bonds etc.
Greek State Radio and Television Duties
Mitsotakis made special reference to the Greek State Radio and Television Network (ERT) that is funded by taxpayers. He said that the special duty would be halved, helping each household economize from 18-36 euros in contributions for ERT that is included in their electricity bills. ERT would need to adapt to the new funding and become a competitive channel and not a government tool for propaganda.
Invitation for Businessmen and Greeks from Abroad
Mitsotakis extended a special invitation to the elite of the business world and Greeks living abroad. “We all have a share of responsibility, some larger or smaller, for the crisis in Greece,” he said. “And we all need to join together in a collective effort.” He called for an end in the habits of the past and to make a new start. He called on politicians to create a stable environment for investment with low taxation and zero bureaucracy, while he called on businessmen to invest now that the country needs them.
Support for the Average Family is a Priority
Mitsotakis referred to the need for the average family to be supported. He said that the government would offer coupons worth 180 euros per month to families whose children did not manage to get places at municipal child care centers so that these could be used at daycares of their choice.
Education Reforms to be Cancelled
He said that the government’s efforts to cancel out important reforms would be immediately stopped, making special reference to the No Border Camps that took place in Thessaloniki where anarchists occupied university schools. He said that “tolerance” of unlawfulness will stop with his government.
TV Licenses
Mitsotakis stressed his opposition to the government’s recent TV license tender that is aimed at reducing pluralism and creating a government-friendly media.

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