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Antonis Samaras: Economic growth will come from European Union funds

31 May 2012 / 22:05:16  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras presented the economic programme of his party, which it will apply if it wins the 18 June election. The future prime minister, as the head of the campaign Evangelos Meimarakis presented him, said, "All options for the country to emerge from the crisis depend on European funds and European liquidity."

Antonis’ priorities are reviving the economy and relieving the citizens from the austerity measures, renegotiating the economic policy with the creditors of the country, justice and fairness in order to restore social cohesion.

"What will citizens benefit from the policy we suggest? Jobs, jobs, jobs." Then, the "blue" leader repeated the word "work" three times too. He pointed out that their first goal is to revive the economy, and then, development will come. His second proposal was relieving borrowers - both individuals and companies. Third, remaining in the euro zone under terms that will allow Greece to save and develop. Here he mentioned for the first time the word "renegotiation" of the bailout agreement to Greece. Antonis Samaras placed fourth the reparation of injustices and immediate restoration of extremes. He put in the last place the measures against crime and illegal immigration.

He subjected to sharp criticism the leader of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, without mentioning either his or the name of the party. "Those speaking of unilateral cancellation of the Memorandum are like children playing with matches in a warehouse full of gunpowder."

He himself presented 18 realistic, as he said, proposals, ten of which will be offered for renegotiation with the creditors of Greece. Antonis Samaras said that by mid-2013, it would be possible to create at least 150,000 new jobs, stressing that this depends entirely on the pace of granting the money from the national strategic reference framework. Then he added that they would double in 2014. "We are talking about real jobs in the private sector, not about false promises of appointments in the public sector. He who promises you that is lying to you and is playing with your pain."

He said the increase in employment could be achieved with 12.5 billion euro from the national strategic reference framework in the next three years, through securing liquidity after the bank recapitalization and through paying the state obligations to the private sector, amounting to 4.5 billion euro this year.

Antonis Samaras promised to immediately negotiate with the creditors the following issues:

1. Recovering low pensions and allowances for large families to the 2009 values.

Recovering salaries of police officers on active duty and of salaries of military aircraft pilots at first. Then, the same would be attempted for all members of security forces.

Recovering the damages incurred by individuals and insurance funds - owners of government bonds, due to the Greek debt haircut.

2. Elongating the term of granting aids to the unemployed from one to two years, achievable through European Union funds unused so far.

3. Granting emergency benefits for freelancers and former owners of commercial establishments closed because of the crisis, left without support today, if their incomes do not exceed certain ceilings. The money for this would also be provided from unused European Union funds.

4. Gradual repayment of taxes that are to be collected by the end of the year but the total amount should not exceed 25% of average family income. The remainder should be paid later, even in the next two years.

5. No further cuts in private sector salaries. According to Antonis Samaras, the measure itself "has led to development neither in Bulgaria nor in Portugal nor in any other country." He said that New Democracy supports the signing of contracts between employers and employees and would require "freezing" of salaries at current levels until the signing of a new contract between employees and their employers.

6. Gradual increase of non-taxable income from 5,000 euro today to 8,000 euro in 2013 and 10,000 euro in 2014.

7. Imposition of an expanded property tax that is more equitable and sustainable for all.

8. Gradual reduction of tax rates. First, reducing the corporate tax to 15% in 2013. Second, an immediate reduction in VAT on restaurant services from 23% to 9%. Over the next three years - a gradual reduction of VAT rates, respectively from 23% to 19% for the high tax rate, from 19% to 9% for the average and from 6.5% to 5% for the lowest tax rate, the goal being for the whole tourist package to be taxed with 5%. Third is the gradual reduction of the highest tax rate for individuals from 45% today to 32%.

9. Extending the time limit for the concentration of the amount of 11.7 billion euro to be saved by government spending in the period 2013 - 2014 until at least 2016.

10. In addition to the rule for one appointment for ten dismissals, Antonis Samaras suggested the application of the system of labour reserve, although he did not use this expression. He suggested that public officials should not be fired. They should receive a basic pay and their insurance should be paid in insurance funds for three years. "In 3-4 years, they will be able to find jobs in the private sector as economic development should have occurred in the meantime."

Then, the leader of New Democracy continued with eight other measures that need not be discussed with the creditors, but would contribute to the development of the country, would relieve the citizens and boost the structural changes.

11. Relieving debtors by changing the method of payment of bank loans so that the monthly payment does not exceed 30% of their income. If they have lost their jobs, they should pay only the interest for 2-3 years.

Tags: PoliticsNew DemocracyAntonis SamarasEconomic programmeJobsDevelopmentEuropean funds
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