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 Dear John,

 Your letter is a remarkable source of inspiration and hope for me. It also constitutes a wonderful opportunity to clarify, even within my own thinking, what our new movement, DiEM, is about.

 The Opens external link in new windowAthens Spring, and the ruthlessness with which ‘official’ Europe crushed it, shook millions of Europeans out of their complacency. Suddenly, it was impossible for decent folks to carry on pretending that all is well in the best of all feasible Europes. Suddenly, good people who had been lulled into a false sense of TINA (“there is no alternative”) began to realise that the present power structures in Europe are not an option (as they are crumbling all around us) and that, if they continue to do nothing, they will be complicit in the emergence of a postmodern 1930s.

 DiEM is being conceived as a movement that will connect these good, recently enraged, Europeans, with the movements that you so eloquently described in your open letter. Of course it would have been absurd to think that I was the first one to come up with the idea of starting a pan-European movement. Civilised Europe has been shaped by cross-border movements for centuries. No, the idea behind DiEM is to provide an opportunity for this new, hopeful coalescence between (A) the movements and (B) the recently energised/enraged/awakened silent majority. The aim is to use the Athens Spring as a springboard for a new coalition of democrats demanding that the demos, the people, is put back into democracy.

 Undoubtedly, the questions that DiEM will pose, beginning on 9th February in Berlin, have been posed countless time before by people and movements all over Europe.

  •  A European party or self organisation across Europe?
  • Can the euro be fixed and made compatible with shared prosperity?
  • Is the current mélange of EU institutions reformable (even in theory) or should we look beyond it?
  • What forms of political action are best suited to the task of democratisation?

 As I used to tell my students, the big questions do not change – the interesting answers do. What DiEM offers is an opportunity of unifying:

 (A) all those who have been asking these questions for years, while fighting the good struggles in their cities, communities, workplaces; networking across regions and countries with

 (B) Europeans who had hitherto not left their… couch, or lifted a finger against the establishment, but who are now eager to be part of a movement that restores hope in a Europe that can become decent, sustainable and worth striving for.

 In this context, you are precisely right: DiEM must, from the word ‘go’ (i.e. on 9th February, at the Volksbuehne), prove itself as a movement keen to learn from the accumulated experience and dynamism of (g)local movements like Blockupy. Whenever in the past few years I sought to counter the ultra-nationalist, quasi-fascist elements here in Greece, who tried to use the crisis to turn Greeks against Germans, I would refer to the resistance movements within Germany and to the solidarity of German activists (including the internationalist-networked manifestation of that solidarity across borders). Indeed, it was my hope that such movements would be excited by our choice of the Berliner Volksbuehne (as the site of DiEM’s launch) and thus join us more readily.

 So, let’s get practical. –

  •  I propose that, prior to the launch (at 20.30 of the 9th of February), one of the pre-launch public meetings (earlier in the day) should be dedicated to the question: ‘DiEM and the movements?’ Many comrades who are at this early stage working towards the inauguration of DiEM25, defining its direction and helping me with the writing of our Manifesto, have been for years or even decades actively participating in various movements – from the World Social Forum to the European Social Forum, from various solidarity campaigns all around Europe to the Altersummit, from Uninomade to Euronomade, from occupations in the Balkans to the struggle of Blockupy, from the Subversive Festival to Transeuropa Festival, from the theatre-scene to many other honest and important initiatives all around Europe and beyond. Their contribution, your contribution, that of movements like Blockupy, together with contributions from other participants [e.g. from Barcelona (led by Ada Culao), Madrid (represented by Miguel Urban Crespo), the UK, Denmark, France etc.] should, in the context of a truly open agenda, help tackle the issues you mentioned in your open letter.
  •  In addition to the pre-launch event, allow me to extend an invitation for you, or for another of your comrades, to address the audience during the main event, in the Volksbuehne.

  Finally, on a personal note, if I may:  You close your open letter by welcoming me to the “hell of the movements”. My answer to you is: “Glad to be here – even though, in truth, I was never anywhere else!” While earlier this year I spent a few, brief months in the corridors of ‘power’, and many years in universities as a professor, I have always been an activist: Beginning with the occupation movement of high school Greek students in 1975-8, the Black Students Alliance in my English university in 1978-80, the steel, printing and coal picket lines against Mrs Thatcher’s neoliberal policies in the early 1980s, CND and pro-ANC campaigns, working as a trades union advocate in Australia in the 1990s, involved in the student occupations of Athens University in the 2000s (when, as their professor, I gave ‘anti-lectures’ on political economics to the occupying students), all the way to the 2011 Syntagma Square occupation (where I participated daily and addressed the crowds, twice) – and finally to the… Eurogroup. Activism as a state of being… Lastly, your are right in saying that we cannot afford to start from scratch, from the beginning, ignoring all that has been accomplished by current and past movements. This is so. But, at the same time, I think we need a new beginning. One that appeals to those that the movements have, so far, left untouched. A new beginning to which we all contribute expecting nothing in return, save perhaps for the warm inner glow, when we are terribly old and decrepit, that we were not idle in the face of Europe’s descent into authoritarianism, misanthropy and sadness. That’s the purpose of DiEM.  Looking forward to the 7th of February, where (following your advice) I shall be attending the Blockupy meeting in Berlin, two days before our joint (I hope and trust) launch of DiEM.  In solidarity Yanis Varoufakis

 

 

 

Open letter to Yanis Varoufakis: Welcome to the movement!

 

(Translation from German)

 

Dear Yanis,

 

since a couple of weeks, you have issued an invitation for the founding of a paneuropean movement against austerity. This is to start in Berlin on 9 February with #DiEM25. You spoke about this idea on several occasions already. One such occasion took place in October at a panel discussion with other wise Leftists at the Berliner Volksbuehne. Since then the thought has not left me to respond to you on this with an open letter. I believe and hope that I am not the only one in this. Your appearance in this area and your call have generated a great deal of discussions among us. Some have been asking themselves whether the revolution can be done so easily: 12 Euros – and you are in. Where did you get the idea that Germans before the coming revolt, before the “storming of the Station” always first buy a train ticket? Anyway, these are frivolous Twitter comments.

 

Seriously, our circles – the circles of leftist movements – are wondering: Has this Varoufakis discussed seriously with someone from the Basis of the movement against austerity in Greece, Germany or Europe before issuing this call (for action) ? Does he not think, that the smart idea to launch a movement for another kind of Europe has already occurred to others?

 

Before I dig further, the obligatory words of praise should not be forgotten: There are many people including my friends and I who have deep respect for what you have accomplished already. Your confrontations with Dr. Schaeuble will remain in our memory. Nobody else but you could bring him to the edge of madness, no one but you could fulfil best the role of an alternative Minister of Finance. You became at once the symbol of the anti-austerity movement. More important than Alexis, Pablo and all the other stars.

 

Your ideas expressed in your books do not sound at all unrealistic: You propose another kind of Europe with your small but „modest proposal for a solution of the Eurocrisis”; and this without going against the European Treaties (which some people classify as “reformist”) -but nevertheless this is an alternative proposal which dares to question the idea of a German Europe. And not being satisfied with a so-called social administration of the crisis as your ex-comrades and ex-colleagues are doing.  And above all you are a pushing for a fundamental critic of the reigning political economy ideas, as it is taught at the universities. Especially for this you deserve a big “Like”. However, some said, you always wanted to be in the foreground, but perhaps you have shown, that someone has just to dare. And started all this from your own self first. Even a new left populism has to be learned.

 

I would like, however, to give you some tips for your upcoming trip to Berlin. Apparently, you are stepping into an unknown territory, very far from Parliaments and Economic Institutes, and you want to address and activate a “Europe from the bottom”.

 

You need, however, to pay attention to the fact that social struggles and the confrontation of power in discussions over the crisis have already started from the beginning of the crisis of the capitalist innovation offensive. For this you do not have to look too far away, but take a look at Greece: the student protests of 2006-2007 against neoliberal policies in universities, the uncompromising revolt of parts of society pushed to the edge in December 2008, the General strike of hundreds of thousands of people in the street, the movement of the Indignados (“Aganaktismenoi”) and the occupation of Syntagma square.

 

The exhaustion of the mass protest correctly observed by leftist academics led to new discussions in the Left: Party or self-organisation? Or both? Solidarity has been undertaken in Greece not only as self-support or charity but with the vision of the transformation of social relations toward a different administration of the Commons. Similar debates have been and are taking place in Spain and in other areas of the world. The decisions of Tsipras and Syriza have led to further fundamental questions which you yourself are also asking: how to change the EU without leaving it? Why are we so damn helpless and are talking since summer of the last year only of “Defeat”?

 

But let’s go back to Berlin and Germany: Imagine, here also there were attempts to counter the propaganda of the media and politicians of the „lazy Greeks“. Here, in the “Heart of the Beast”. Maybe our protests were too small to influence the existing discussion. Here some remember the solidarity “smoke signals” from Frankfurt to Athens during the Blockupy protests against the opening of the ECB in March 2015 or the #thisisacoup demonstrations after the Referendum, the ultimate unsuccessful occasion.

 

In addition, since years German and Greek activists are travelling to each other. We are people who want to prevent that in Europe only German is spoken: Blockupy, Greek Solidarity Committees, crisis migrants, progressive parts of the left parties and other Clubs, culture and theatre people and many others. Perhaps none of your German speaking partners explained that there are people who have already had the idea that we need a transnational network, even a movement from the bottom. And with this I do not mean the plan B of Oskar Lafontaine.

 

All these initiatives from Germany are networked also beyond its borders. There are many European wide forums, to which it is worth participating: Blockupy International, Alternative summits, Beyond Europe, transnational Agora-meetings, antiracist networks, struggles for transnational social strikes, networked eco-social struggles from Nantes via Val de Susa to Chalkidiki. Talk with your comrades in Greece: They also know about this, they also belong to these transnational networks. In Frankfurt we were all together on the streets.

 

We do not have always to start from the beginning. But: we all have to unite for a real movement.

 

This is why I have four direct requests for you:

-   Come to the Blockupy meeting which will take place on 6 and 7 February, shortly before your visit to Berlin. Or at least contact them one way or the other.

-          Do not waste your time with irrelevant Plan B conferences. Movements are not made from the top.

     -    Create for yourself a small map of social resistance and transnational networks in Europe. Blockupy can certainly help you in this. Believe me, it is worth it!

-          Talk directly with the people: A lot of them are complaining they could not talk in the Volksbuehne. You especially can influence and open to the public the conferences you are going to support and participate in.

 

 

The initiative to create a paneuropean movement to change existing conditions is correct, but existing structures should also be associated with this. Welcome to the Hell of social movements.

 

Comradely greetings

 

John Malamatinas

 

NB. This is my email if you want to react to this: john.malamatinas@riseup.net

 Following the tragic events of 13 November in Paris and the French government’s decision to set and extend the “state of emergency”, it is now very clear: It is the freedom of movement and freedom of protest that is at stake. 
 
In fact, the choice to ban demonstrations and people gatherings does not make any sense from the point of view of an effective “anti-terror security measure”. 

 Contrary, it is part of a “state of war” attitude and rhetoric from above, including the scapegoating of Muslim communities and of refugees, who are really escaping from the same Daesh terror in the Middle East. This governmental decision represents instead a dangerous limitation to the spaces of free and democratic expression. That is unacceptable! 

  To the many activists from all over the world that will join the civil society mobilizations and actions around the UN Climate Conference in Paris (COP21) Blockupy International is sending all its active support. Whatever the results of the COP21 might be, we already know that the same austerity policies, neoliberal economic and political rules and big corporations’ interests are among the most relevant contributors to global warming, climate change and their devastating consequences on the environment and communities’ life. It is a “social and climate state of emergency” we are living in. 

 The initiative from below by social movements all around the world is the only one, which could reverse the capitalist trend of destructing the planet. Debt, crisis of democracy, climate and social justice, austerity, migration are so crucial that we cannot leave them in the hands of politicians, corporations and warmongers. It is not the French government, which has the right to decide whether a multitude of people should or should not take the street of Paris. 

 Only the ability to break the rules of the current crises and the war-mongering, capitalist regime may create conditions for developing alternatives in a broader perspective of democracy, freedom and equality. We now need to raise our voices loudly in the squares during the COP21 conference and everywhere else. We need climate and social justice: Now more than ever. 

 Moreover, we are sending a strong message of solidarity to our sisters and brothers in the climate justice movements and in Paris: Right now at this moment, no matter where we are physically, we will be with you in Paris!

Let us not leave our cities to the “masters of war” whoever they are!

Let us take together the squares and the streets for climate and social justice!

Let us refuse the “state of emergency” and reject any restriction on our ability to act! 

Blockupy International, November 25, 2015

 Over the weekend, the Socialists and the Comunists signed an agreement. Since the Left Bloc and the Socialists had already done likewise, there is, right now, a parliamentary majority to defeat the briefest government in the history of Portuguese democracy, bringing an end to the Passos Coelho and Paulo Portas saga. The outcome is fundamental as much as it is historical: after the horror of austerity, a new page is being turned.

 Over the previous weeks, I have been quite critical of the time it took to close a deal and of its lack of audacity, because two separate agreements – even if they are basically the same – and three motions for rejection to take down the government mean a choice was made not to come up with a strong statement. But now that an agreement has been reached and it is public, it’s time to focus on its contents and durability, which I shall discuss from the only point of view that matters (to me): how to answer to the social crises exacerbated by the torment of austerity.

I will start with the agreement’s contents.

 The three conditions mentioned by Catarina in her television debate with Costa were, even before the electoral campaign, the starting point for this weekend’s agreement: the SP must drop the reduction of the Single Social Tax paid by the employers, as well as the Single Social Tax for workers whose pensions have been cut; forget the so-called “conciliatory lay-offs” and unfreeze pensions. Faced with electoral results, which left the right wing with no majority, the SP accepted these conditions. And there were plenty of socialists sighting in relief, for they did not support those three ideas put forward by their own party.

 But the agreements that have now been made public go further than that — much further than that, actually. They did come up with an emergency response embodying emergency measures, but did go the extra mile, inasmuch as some of them could become longstanding alternative answers to austerity if there is a will to do so.

 The agreements stipulate the end of privatisations — there will be no more privatisations. They also cancel the recent processes of handing the urban public transports of Lisbon and Oporto to private companies. They protect water as an essential public asset.

 As for labor incomes, which affects millions of workers, public sector wages will be fully restored (in 2016), while wages in the private sector will benefit (those over 600€ due to a reduction in the surcharge, which will be abolished in 2017; the ones bellow 600€ because of a decrease in social security contributions, with no future impact on pensions nor the sustainability of the social security). Four public holidays will be restored. Bearing in mind that losing them meant workers that to work more hours for the same wages, all workers will be positively affected — all 4,5 million of them.

 All pensioners will be better-off (pensions bellow 600€ will be unfrozen and shall see a small recuperation, while those above 600€ will no longer have to pay the IRS surcharge), and that means two million people will be better-off. In contrast, the right wing had vowed to go ahead with a 4000 thousand euros cut in Social Security (1600 millions by freezing pensions, plus 2400 in 600 million a year in benefit cuts, as promised to Brussels). The difference is abyssal.

 New fiscal rules will apply: IRS progressivity is restored with more tax brackets; the familiar quotient, beneficial for wealthier families, is replaced by an IRS deduction per child; there is a limit clause for rises in Municipal Property Tax (it cannot exceed 75€ per year) and Corporate Income Tax reductions will come to a halt; the deadline to report company losses will be reduced to five years, instead of the twelve, and new rules will curb fiscal benefits from dividends. Finally, VAT in restaurants will return to 13%.

 To fight poverty, the minimum wage will rise to 557€ on January 1st, 2017, and to 600€ by the end of the mandate. Poor families will be entitled to reduced electricity fares. Such measures will benefit one million people.

 Measures shall be adopted to make sure false autonomous workers are provided with proper contracts; collective bargaining shall be reinstated; the special mobility regime for public workers, which lead to lay-offs, will be cancelled.

 Attachment orders on people’s homes due to public liabilities will no longer be allowed. Mortgage debts will from now on be settled whenever there is dation in payment (that is, the bank keeps the house), if there is no alternative in terms of new deadlines and interest rates.

 The list of measures on health and education includes reducing NHS user charges and a textbook exchange mechanism.

 The Socialist Party withdrew its electoral law proposal, which included single member constituencies (the “first to pass the post” system used in the UK). 

 Finally, a parliamentary cooperation proceedings have been agreed, with multiple meetings between the parties, and including setting up committees on external debt sustainability and the future of social security. These committees shall write trimestral reports.

 What is thus achieved is stability in people’s lives, relief for pension holders, wage recovery, jobs protection and more fiscal justice. On the other hand, such an increase on aggregate demand will cause an immediate positive economic reaction.

What is then missing?

 The agreements lack structural solutions for investment and on how to manage and improve both external and income accounts. Only debt restructuring will enable it; otherwise, there will be no leeway to resist external pressures and launch employment. It will take investment and promoting the productive capacity, and the State will have to play a strategic pivotal role in reacting to the protracted recession we have been dealing with.

 Besides, we cannot yet foresee what the conditions imposed by Brussels, Berlin or the ECB will be, but we know they won’t be favourable. We must keep in mind the statement issued by the European Commission only two days after the elections, which demanded new measures on social security — the subject will remain a matter of dispute. And we must also keep in mind how rating agencies have been threatening the Portuguese Republic. Lastly, the Novo Banco issue [the bank that was created after the bankruptcy of BES and that the government has been trying to sell, unsuccessfully] will blow up before the summer, bringing about wither important losses to the budget balance, demands for recapitalization or a new bank resolution process, which must be carried out in accordance with technical demands that protect the public welfare and cut down on external debt.

 These are the problems that will be knocking on our doorstep over the next months and years. The new majority is quite aware of it, because there is a safeguard clause guaranteeing that no budgetary unforeseen event or situation will lead to higher taxes on labor or lower wages and pensions. The time has surely come to start devising the answers to such unforeseen events and situations, because they will be here before the new Budget.

Francisco Louçã Professor universitário. Ativista do Bloco de Esquerda.

This article was first published in Opens external link in new windowesquerda.net

 

 

  The Inequalities in Health Care during the Crisis

  Posted on 10 August 2015 by mkie — No Comments

 To tell a very long story in a short space, here is a summary of the inequalities in health care that have taken place since austerity policies were introduced in Greece over the last years. Health care was far from perfect before the crisis started in 2008. But whatever the many faults of the system, one way or another, the general public had access to public health.

 From the beginning of the crisis up to August of 2013, no government bothered much about the uninsured – who according to the president of EOPYY (Public Health Care Providers) reached more than 3 mln. in September of 2013. These people, most long term unemployed, were virtually cut off from pubic health care for having been without a job for more than two years, a limit set by OAED (the unemployment bureau). Those who had a serious illness were doomed to an early death – unless they could lay their hands on the necessary money. The rest put their families in debt as owing money to state hospitals was added to tax debt.

 So what changed in August of 2013? For the first time since 2011, after the government had been under a tremendous pressure from the volunteer social solidarity clinics, the Minister of Health, Adonis Georgiadis came up with the health voucher system. It stated that 100,000 of the long term unemployed would be eligible for health care. But this was just a drop in the ocean. Many of the 3 mln people were in need f more than primary care. On top of that, they needed medicine, diagnostic tests and often very expensive therapies.

 For the first time in January of 2014 the government decided to grant the uninsured partial access to the Greek Public Health System. This came about after the furor that broke out when a patient of MCCH died. He had been on a list of ten patients whose life was at risk which had been delivered to the Ministry of Health in December of 2013. Unfortunately the Ministry had not even responded, in spite of vigorous public campaign from the social clinics. On the day of the patients, death, the Ministry finally decided to react. On the day of our patient’s death, and for the first time since the crisis began, there started a pubic debate on the health problems of the uninsured that still continues. The Ministry finally admitted that there was a problem and the Minister of Health at the time, Mr. Georgiadis, proclaimed that, apart from the changes in primary health care, all uninsured patients would have access to the newly formed PEDY (Public Health Clinics). What the minister did not mention was that in just a month’s time, he forced 3,000 doctors out EOPYY after giving them the choice of keeping their private practice or working for PEDY, but not both. So PEDY had half the doctors to face providing primary health care for a vastly larger number of people. Very soon as many as half of the clinics had to close because they were understaffed and lacked physicians of various specialties.

 In the summer of 2014, the government went a step further and granted secondary (hospitalization) health care to uninsured patients who needed it. Unfortunately, a patient had to pass inspection by a three person committee. Even today, these committees have not even been selected for most of the public hospitals. Patients are still waiting, as usual, and trying to cope with their illnesses in vain.

 At the same time, the previous government took another step forward. Both insured and uninsured were allowed access prescription medicines bought with a contribution from the state. For the first time insured and uninsured could get medicines with the same co-pay level. But the co-pays were increased. The amount contributed by the patient surpasses more than 25% of the cost of the medicine. The average co-pay amount is 35-40% and in some extreme cases, can reach 75%. As a result, not only could the uninsured not afford medicines, but many of the insured couldn’t either. Finally, the previous government did nothing to allow the uninsured to have access to diagnostic tests.

 These years of austerity have seen an increasing exclusion of the public from the Greek public health system. There have been unbelievable situations which have led to deaths because patients couldn’t afford the necessary care or necessary medication. The examples are numberless. Insured cancer patients having their treatments (booked way in advance) cancelled because the hospital no longer had the necessary funds to provide treatment. No alternative treatment center was suggested. Uninsured cancer patients, completely cut off from treatment, looking for alternative sources of treatment – sometimes for more than 6 months before they found help from a social clinic. An uninsured cardiac patient was literally ejected from surgery at Greek public hospital for not having 18,000 Euros to pay. In 2012, more than one maternity clinic kept new-borns from their mothers until they could pay delivery costs. All these cases were reported by the foreign press who got their facts from the voluntary community clinics that have been trying, all these years, to stop this uncivilized treatment.

 Today we are not much better off than we were with the previous government. There is a new decision from the Ministry of Health to help the uninsured in conjunction with the social clinics. However this has not yet to be published in the government gazette, so the decision cannot be implemented as yet.

 The direction is clear; the Greek public is increasingly excluded from the Greek Public Health System. This is particularly dangerous in a country with close to 2/3rds of the population living just above or below the poverty level. The biggest problem is the sheer lack of money in the Greek public health system. It renders useless any legal or ministerial efforts. Funding for the public health system has been reduced by 50% since 2009. Without this being addressed, nothing significant will change.*

Christos Sideris
communications team of the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.co.at/
http://www.mkiellinikou.org/en/2015/08/10/the-inequalities-in-health-care-during-the-crisis/



*Note, this piece was written before the government signed the new memorandum, which promises to a new round of reductions to the Greek Public Health system reducing spending to 0.5% of GDP, which means a further overall reduction of 933 million euro, against the GDP of 2014.

Greek citizens,

For the last six months, the Greek government has been waging a battle under conditions of unprecedented economic asphyxiation, in order to implement your mandate, that of January 25th.

The mandate to negotiate with our partners to bring about an end austerity, and for prosperity and social justice to return to our country once more.

For a sustainable agreement that will respect democracy, as well as European rules, and which will lead to a definitive exit from the crisis.

During the negotiations, we were repeatedly asked to implement memoranda policies agreed to by the previous governments, despite the fact that the memoranda were unequivocally condemned by the Greek people in the recent elections.

We never considered giving in—not even for a moment. Of betraying your trust.

Following five months of tough negotiations, our partners submitted a proposal-ultimatum at the Eurogroup meeting, taking aim at Greek democracy and the Greek people.

An ultimatum that contravenes Europe’s founding principles and values. The values of our common European project.

The Greek government was asked to accept a proposal that will add new unbearable weight to the shoulders of the Greek people, and that will undermine the recovery of the Greek economy and society–not only by fueling uncertainty, but also by further exacerbating social inequalities.

The institutions’ proposal includes measures that will further deregulate the labor market, pension cuts, and further reductions in public sector wages–as well as an increase in VAT on food, restaurants and tourism, while eliminating the tax breaks of the Greek islands.

These proposals–which directly violate the European social acquis and the fundamental rights to work, equality and dignity–prove that certain partners and members of the institutions are not interested in reaching a viable and beneficial agreement for all parties, but rather the humiliation of the Greek people.

These proposals mainly illustrate the IMF’s insistence on harsh and punitive austerity measures. Now is the time for the leading European powers to rise to the occasion and take initiative to definitively end the Greek debt crisis, a crisis affecting other European countries as well, by threatening the very future of European integration.

Greek citizens,

We are facing a historic responsibility to not let the struggles and sacrifices of the Greek people be in vain, and to strengthen democracy and our national sovereignty—and this responsibility weighs upon us.

Our responsibility for our country’s future.

This responsibility obliges us to respond to the ultimatum based on the sovereign will of the Greek people.

Earlier this evening, the Cabinet was convened and I proposed holding a referendum, so that the Greek people can decide.

My proposal was unanimously accepted.

Tomorrow, the Parliament will hold an extraordinary meeting to ratify the Cabinet’s proposal for a referendum to take place next Sunday, on July 5th. The question on the ballot will be whether the institutions’ proposal should be accepted or rejected.

I have already informed the French President, the German Chancellor, and the ECB’s president of my decision, while tomorrow I will ask for a short extension of the program -in writing- from the leaders of the EU and the institutions, so that the Greek people can decide free of pressure and blackmail, as stipulated by our country’s Constitution and Europe’s democratic tradition.

Greek citizens,

I call on you to decide –with sovereignty and dignity as Greek history demands–whether we should accept the extortionate ultimatum that calls for strict and humiliating austerity without end, and without the prospect of ever standing on our own two feet, socially and financially.

We should respond to authoritarianism and harsh austerity with democracy–calmly and decisively.

Greece, the birthplace of democracy, should send a resounding democratic message to the European and global community.

And I personally commit that I will respect the outcome of your democratic choice, whatever it may be.

I am absolutely confident that your choice will honor our country’s history and will send a message of dignity worldwide.

In these critical times, we all have to remember that Europe is the common home of all of its peoples.

That in Europe there are no owners and guests.

Greece is, and will remain, an integral part of Europe, and Europe an integral part of Greece.

But a Europe without democracy will be a Europe without an identity and without a compass.

I call on all of you to act with national unity and composure, and to make a worthy decision.

For us, for our future generations, for Greek history.

For our country’s sovereignty and dignity.

The ministers have been sent what one official termed a “feasibility blueprint” – but the Financial Times has obtained a copy and it looks very much like the version creditors annotated and sent back to Athens on Tuesday. We’ve posted a copy of the document here.

The first place to look is page three of the nine-page document, where the section on pension reforms begins. This has become the major sticking point between the two sides and, while it makes some concessions to the Greek government, it is very much in keeping with creditor demands that early retirement schemes be curtailed and the effective retirement age be raised very quickly.

Under the plan sent to finance ministers, Athens would ensure the retirement age is moved to 67 by 2022, significantly faster that Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, had sought. Originally, Athens was pushing for 2036, but Mr Tsipras’ compromise plan submitted on Monday moved that to 2025.

There is an important creditor concession in the pension reforms, too, though. Creditors have been trying to get rid of a “solidarity grant” programme that provides a top-up bonus to poorer pensioners, know by the Greek acronym EKAS, by 2017 at the latest. Athens had offered 2020. The new plan splits the difference and goes with December 2019.

The EKAS phase-out will start immediately, however, with the wealthiest 20 per cent of the recipients losing the benefit as soon as legislation is passed.

There are some other elements of the Greek plan that survived as well, including raising contributions pensioners must make towards healthcare form 4 per cent to 6 per cent.

The other major sticking point between the two sides has been an overhaul of Greece’s value-added tax scheme. Here, too, the plan makes some compromises to the Greek plan. Creditors had originally sought a simplified two-tier system with most goods taxed at the top 23 per cent rate. Creditors have now gone along with a Greek idea of a three-tier system, including a “super-reduced” rate of 6 per cent for pharmaceuticals, books and the theatre.

Importantly, the creditors have conceded on keeping electricity in a middle 13 per cent VAT rate, something Athens has long demanded. “Basic food” also goes into the middle rate, but it appears all other kinds of foods – including restaurants and processed foods – goes at the higher 23 per cent rate. Athens has attempted to keep process foods at the reduced middle rate.

Another blow to Athens: the creditors plan would strip out VAT exemptions for Greek islands. This is particularly sensitive for Mr Tsipras’s coalition partner, the Independent Greeks, who have argued it was unfair for some of Greece’s most remote islands to pay the same kind of taxes that mainlanders do.

On other tax matters, creditors keep Athens’ idea of raising corporate taxes from its current 26 per cent rate, but rather than moving it to 29 per cent as Mr Tsipras suggested, it would be 28 per cent under the creditors’ plan. Gone is the Greek idea of a one-time 12 per cent tax on all corporate profits over €500,000. But the plan keeps Mr Tsipras’s plan to raise luxury tax on yachts from 10 per cent to 13 per cent.

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HELLENIC REPUBLIC


THE PRIME MINISTER

To the President of the European Commission

Mr. Jean — Claude Juncker

Athens, 22.06.2015

Dear Mr. President,

Attached, you will find the comprehensive proposal from the Greek Government. These are the reforms and legislative projects that the Government of Greece will undertake and implement under the terms of the 20 February 2015 extension of the MFAFA. Further, I would like to inform you that the response of the Greek Government to the requirements of the institutions for covering the fiscal gaps for 2015 - 2016 has been absolute and complete.

More specifically the assessment by the institutions has been that the appropriate fiscal measures should result fiscal targets of 1% of GDP for 2015, 2% of GDP for 2016, and therefore the related measures should reach 1.5% of GDP for 2015 and 2.5% of GDP for 2016.

The proposals by the Greek Government to the European Institutions and the IMF project an increase in public revenues solely by parametric measures of 1.51% of GDP for 2015 and 2.87% of GDP for 2016.

In parallel, revenues from administrative measures that are being proposed will cumulatively account for 0.91% of GDP for 2015 and 1.31% of GDP for 2016. Given the above facts and against this background it is clear that there are no fiscal slippages and that the prescribed objectives have been exceeded.

Kind Regards,

Alexis Tsipras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CORRIGENDUM

Reforms for the completion of the current programme and beyond

Introduction

This document presents a full summary of the reforms and legislative projects that the Government of Greece will undertake and implement under the terms of the February 20, 2015 extension of the MFAFA. It is presented to Greece's partners in order to complete the review of the current arrangement by the target date of the end of June 2015, so that Greece and its partners can to launch a new partnership and new chapter for Greece that gives clarity to the people, in the young and unemployed.

These reform proposals are part of an integrated three pillar approach that includes a new financing arrangement and support from European partners for growth and investment. On financing, completion of the review will unlock short-term financing that will permit the Greek government to meet its immediate obligations and thus allow for the stabilisation of economy. It should also lead to a medium-term financing arrangement that will enable Greece to sustainably regain market access.

These reforms will take time to bear fruit, and whilst long-term recovery will need to be financed privately, kick-starting the flow of investment funding will require an initial boost. Greece must be allowed to benefit from the substantial means available from the EU budget and the EIB to support investment and reform efforts. For the period 2007-2013, Greece was eligible for EUR 38 billion in grants from EU policies, and should be allowed to benefit from the currently remaining amounts under this envelope. For the 2014-2020 period, more than EUR 35 billion is available to Greece through EU funds, and to help their absorption, the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe should provide an additional source of investment as well as technical help for public and private investors to identify, promote and develop high-quality and feasible projects to fund. This investment will also help the Greek state in its fight against poverty by increasing employment and helping with social inclusion initiatives. We understand the Commission is ready to adopt such a plan immediately and count on the other EU institutions for their joint support.

Legislative or other actions listed below as part of the completion of review will be done after consultation with the institutions, in line with the spirit of the 20 February 2015 Eurogroup statement. The Greek government is prepared to confirm its full support to implement the list of reforms through a vote in Parliament in a matter of days that will include the necessary legislation on VAT and other measures necessary to deliver the agreed fiscal targets.

Tackling the social crisis and strengthening fairness across society

The economic crisis has had an unprecedented impact on the welfare of Greek citizens. The most pressing priority for the government is to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable to help alleviate the impact of the economic crisis. Already, a package of humanitarian measures on food, housing and access to health care has been adopted and is being implemented. It is the collective mission to get people back to work and prevent the entrenching long-term unemployment. The authorities, working closely with European partners, will initiate measures to boost employment by 50.000 people targeting youths, women, the elderly and the long-term unemployed.

A fairer society will require that Greece improves the design of its welfare system, so that there is a genuine social safety net which targets scarce resources at those who need it most. The Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme over the long run should not rely on cuts in benefits in kind, notional to actual income, subject to minimum required contribution rules (iii) revise and rationalize all different systems of basic, guaranteed contribute (iv) the main elements of a comprehensive SSFs consolidation, including any remaining harmonization of contribution and benefit payment rules and procedures across all funds, (v) abolish most of nuisance charges in the financing of pensions and offsets by reducing benefits or increasing contributions in specific funds to take effect from [to specify]; and (vi) harmonize pension benefit rules of the agricultural fund (OGA) with the rest of the pension system in a pro rata manner (unless OGA is merged into other funds). This shall be done after consultation with the social partners and in full agreement with the institutions.

The consolidation of social insurance funds will take place in two phases and over a period of three years. In 2015, the process will focus on consolidating the insurance funds under a single entity, and the first phase of their operational consolidation will be completed by 31 December 2016. The objective will be to secure further reductions in operating costs combined with a more effective management of overall fund resources, which includes balancing the needs between better-off and poorer-off funds. The codification of the insurance law will be completed in the immediate future and will correspond to the new organisation of the new and more integrated social security system. Finally, the government will take the necessary measures to fully offset the fiscal impact of the recent Constitutional Court ruling on elements of the 2012 pensions.

Additional parametric budgetary measures

The government, as part of supplementary budget to be adopted in June 2015, will adopt a series of additional parametric fiscal measures that will have a sustainable impact on public finances (see annex 1 for a list of measures and yields). This will include:

• Reducing the expenditure ceiling military spending by €200 million with a targeted set of actions

• An increase in the solidarity contribution in 2015 and the rates of which shall be progressive. By September 2015, the authorities will also re-design the Income Tax Code for income of 2016 to more effectively achieve progressivity in the income tax system and which simplifies the personal income tax credit schedule;

• Introduce a reform of the income tax code, inter alia covering capital taxation, investment vehicles, farmers and the self- employed;

• Increase the corporate income tax in 2016 from 26% and 29%.

• For reasons of social fairness any further one-off measures to meet fiscal targets should not burden the poor. In that sense the special tax on corporate profits above €0.5 million should be at the level of 12% as a one off measure to meet the fiscal target for 2015.

• Introduce a tax on television advertisements, and an international public tender will be announced for the acquisition of television licenses in return for a fee for the acquisition and use of the relevant frequencies.

• Extend the implementation of the luxury tax to recreational vessels in excess of 10 meters and increase the rate from 10 to 13%, coming into effect from the collection of 2014 income taxes and beyond;

• In view of any revision of the zonal property values, adjust the property tax rates if necessary to safeguard the 2015 and 2016 property tax revenues at €2.65 billion and adjust the alternative minimum personal income taxation;

• Strengthen VA The T collection carousel fraud. and enforcement inter alia through measures to combat VAT authorities will submit an application to the EU VAT Committee and prepare an assessment of the implication of an increase in the VAT threshold to €25.000.

• Provide special tax deductions for permanent residents of Greek islands with low income levels

• Promote the use of electronic payment practices, making use of the EU Structural and Investment Funds to facilitate the adoption of these practices.

• Eliminate the cross- border withholding tax introduced by the installments act (law XXXX/2015) and reverse the recent amendments to the ITC in the public administration act (law XXXX/2015), including the special treatment of agricultural income;

• The Government will implement taxation on Gross Gaming Revenues (GGR) of 30% on VLT games expected to be installed at second half of 2015 and 2016

• Generate revenues through the issuance of 4G and 5G licenses and also undertake pharmaceutical rebates.

Tax administration reforms

The ability to collect taxes has been hampered by a long history of complicated legislation. Poor administration, political interference and generous amnesties, with chronically weak enforcement.. To break from this practice and improve the tax payment culture, the authorities will: • Adopt legislation to establish an independent tax and customs agency, which will be fully functional by end-June 2016:

• Implement measures to fight tax evasion and fraud and to strengthen enforcement by enhancing collection tools such as garnishments;

• Amend legislation on installments to among others exclude those who fail to pay current obligations and introduce a requirement to shorten the duration for those with the capacity to pay earlier;

• Combat fuel smuggling, enacting via legislative measures arrangements for locating storage tanks (fixed or mobile), which are used to move contraband fuel around the county

• Intensify checks on bank transactions, implementing a combined plan to detect deposits stemming from undeclared income of Greek citizens for the period 2000-2014 in banking institutions in Greece or abroad, advancing by 9/2015 to the level of certification of unpaid taxes and the beginning of their recovery;

• Take all appropriate and necessary measures towards the timely collection of categories of public revenue, including automobile "KTEO' fines, uninsured vehicles levies for the unlicensed use of frequencies;

• Immediate provisions will be promulgated to impose and collect taxes owed on undisclosed assets which will be revealed to the Greek Authorities in liaison and in agreement with the authorities of the countries where these amounts are deposited by Greek citizens;

• Adopt measures to restructure the existing legal framework for carrying out tax including amending current legislation to provide the tax administration the ability to plan their tax audit priorities on the basis of risk analysis and not, as is now the case, year of seniority (ie year of write-off). The option to write-off uncollectible old debt will be put in place through legislation to facilitate control over those cases more likely to produce revenues;

• Allow the possibility of an administrative settlement of cases that have not as yet been reviewed by the courts and are pending at different stages of administrative or judicial a proceedings in order to irrevocably finalise the amount of the debt and for t to bee immediately certified and collectable

Public Financial Management

The authorities commit to continue reforms that aim at improving the budget process and expenditure controls, clearing arrears, and strengthening budget reporting and cash management. The authorities will as yet adopted reforms on the income tax codes and tax procedures: introduce a new Criminal Law on Tax Evasion and Fraud.

The second-phase of amendments to the Organic Budget Law (OBL) will be adopted immediately so that the Court of Auditors limits ex-ante audits, provided that an efficient ex-ante mechanism for audits is in place.

The Fiscal Council will be made fully operational.

The authorities will present a plan and will proceed with the clearance of arrears, tax refund and pension claims by the end 2016. The Government will ensure that budgeted social security contributions are transferred from social security funds to health funds and hospitals so as to clear the stock of health-related arrears.

On health care, a number of measures will be taken immediately to: (i) re-establish full INN prescription, without exceptions, (ii) reduce the price of all off-patent drugs and all generics of the patent price, by repealing the grandfathering clause for medical supplies already in the market in 2012, and (iii) review and limit the prices of diagnostic tests to bring structural spending in line with claw back targets; and (iv) collect in the full the 2014 claw back for private clinics, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals, and extend their 2015 claw back ceilings to 2016.

Safeguarding financial stability

All necessary policy actions will be taken to safeguard overall financial stability and the authorities remain committed to preserve sufficient banking system liquidity in line with Eurosystem rules, including by the quarterly submission of funding plans to the Bank of Greece to ensure continuous monitoring and assessments.

The private management of the Greek banks will be respected, and the government will not intervene in the day-to day decision making and management of the banks, which will continue to operate under market principles. The Board members and higher management officers of the banks will be appointed according to the existing framework and in line with EU legislation and best international practices, taking into account the specific rules in the HFSF law as regards the rights of the private shareholders who participated in the banks' capital increases under this framework. The independence of the HFSF will be fully respected. No fiscal policy actions will be taken that would undermine the solvency of the banks.

The Greek authorities will legislate corporate and household insolvency framework related reforms bringing them in line with international good practice, will introduce a profession of insolvency practitioners, not limited to any specific profession and in line with good cross-border experience, will amend the out-of-court workout law, and will develop a comprehensive strategy for the financial system

This strategy will aim to return the banks to full private ownership by attracting international investors and to achieve a sustainable funding model over the medium The authorities will further develop and swiftly implement a comprehensive strategy for addressing the issue of non-performing loans, drawing on the expertise of external strategic consultancy for both strategy development and implementation. It will also include the establishment of a social safety net including support measures for the most vulnerable debtors (notably through a temporary moratorium on auctions) and will differentiate between strategic defaulters and good faith debtors and strengthen and simplify procedures to address the large backlog a cases at this time.

Labour markets

In recent years, important changes have been made to Greek labour market institutions and wage bargaining systems. The Greek authorities are committed to achieve EU best practice success the range of labour market legislations through constructive dialogue amongst social partners. The approach not only needs to balance flexibility and fairness for employees and employers, but also reeds to consider the very high number of unemployed. This can be achieved by modernizing legislation through a process of consultation with the social partners and benefiting from think tanks as well as international organizations such as the OECD and the ILO.

The authorities will review through a consultation process the existing frameworks for collective bargaining and industrial relations taking into account best practices elsewhere in Europe. Further input to the review described above will be provided by international organization including the ILO. Further, the authorities will take action to fight undeclared work in order to strengthen the competitiveness of legal companies and to protect workers as well as tax and social security revenues.

Product markets

More open markets are essential to improve social fairness by curtailing rest-seeking and monopolistic behavior, which has translated into higher prices and lower living standards. The authorities will intensify their efforts to bring key initiatives and reform proposals to fruition, drawing on technical expertise of institutions including the OECB and the World Bank. The authorities will legislate to

• implement the revised OECD toolkits which following the further work by the OECD in collaboration with the Greek authorities will include a variety of product markets and other areas of structural reforms

• open selected restricted professions and liberalize specific markets including tourist rentals and ferry transportation

• eliminate various nuisance charges eg fees which companies and individuals are called to pay which are disproportionate compared to the service they receive.

• reduce red tape including on horizontal licensing requirements of investments and low-risk activities in collaboration with the World Bank and establish a committee for the preparation of legislation.

Pension reform

The 2010 and 2012 pension reforms partially improved the sustainability of the overall pension system, which was previously fragmented and costly and placed unsustainable burdens onto future generations. But further, much more ambitious and courageous steps ere required to complete these reforms and to tackle the strains on the system caused by an economic crisis where contributions have fallen due to high levels of unemployment whilst spending pressures have mounted as many citizens opted to retire early, To address these issues, the authorities are committed to proceed with reforms in two phases.

A first package of measures will be adopted immediately, targeting 1.05% of GDP in enhanced savings annually by 2016. The fiscal impact of these measures listed below will grow to 1.1% of GDP in 2017. With these aims, the Authorities will:

• adopt legislation to create strong disincentives for early retirement by adjusting early retirement penalties and by gradually eliminating grandfathering to statutory retirement age and early retirement pathways, applicable for everybody retiring (except for arduous professions, mothers with children with disabilities and other very few selected special categories) after January 1, 2016. Through a decree to be implemented immediately, there will be provisions for the progressive adaptation of the early retirement rules such that by 2025 the earliest possible age to retire is 67 years old, while preserving vested rights. Withdrawals from the social insurance fund will incur a penalty for the retirement age extension period equivalent to 10 percentage points on top of the current penalty of 6%

• integrate into ETEA all supplementary pension funds

• better target social pensions by increasing OGA uninsured pension, thus targeting resources at those most in need

• gradually replace the solidarity grant (EKAS) for pensions by 2020 starting in 2018. This reform will be linked to the second phase of the pension reform due in September 2015 and can benefit from the planned Social Welfare Review when the solidarity grant is replaced with an appropriate framework that delivers targeted support at retirees who need it

• increase health contributions from pensioners to 5% on average, taking account of ability to pay. This should also encompass supplementary pensions

• increase the health contributions for supplementary pensions from 0% to 5%

• increase the social security contribution rate for supplementary funds from 3% to 3.5%,

• increase the contribution for main pensions by 3.9% - IKA (previous level)

To complete the package, the authorities will in the second phase pass further legislative reforms in order to establish by October 2015 a closer link between contribution and benefits within the framework of the tripartite financing and the integration of outstanding funds. In designing these reforms, the government will ensure that the burden of adjustment is fair to ensure that the most vulnerable households are protected whilst avoiding undue burdens onto future generations and that there is a clear link between contributions and entitlements so as to incentivise declared work and longer working lives. To this end, the authorities drawing upon an actuarial study and in collaboration with the EU's Ageing Working Group. will legislate: (i) specific design and parametric improvements to establish a close link between contributions and benefits (ii) broaden and modernize the contribution and pension base for all self-employed, including by switching from which Greece currently spends well below the European Average. The authorities plan to benefit from available technical assistance from international organizations.

Delivering sustainable public finances that support growth and jobs

Public finances are now on a more sustainable footing compared to the pre-crisis period, although the fiscal position has deteriorated in recent months due to uncertainties. The consolidation, however, has required the dramatic scaling lack of essential public investments and services, which will need to progressively recover in order to sustain growth potential. Furthermore, the burden of the fiscal adjustment has fallen more heavy on certain groups, especially workers. This will corrected by widening the tax base and by eliminating loopholes and exemptions that have protected certain groups from bearing a fair share of the adjustment burden.

The Greek authorities commit to ensuring sustainable public finances and sustainable primary surpluses over the medium term that will reduce the debt to output ration steadily and which are in line with the primary surpluses of other Eurozone economies with high levels of public debt. The trajectory of the fiscal targets is consistent with the expected growth rates of the Greek economy as it recovers from its deepest recorded recession. To demonstrate its commitment to credible fiscal polices, the Greek authorities will:

• effective as of July 1, adopt a supplementary for 2015 budget and a 2016-19 medium term fiscal strategy, supported by a sizable and credible package of measures

• pursue a new fiscal path premised on a primary surplus of 1,2,3 and 3.5 percent of GDP in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively

• base their fiscal strategy on parametric measures that amount to some 2.87 percentage points of GDP by 2016, of which 0.74 p.p. of GDP would come from a major simplification of the VAT system and a further 1.05% of GDP from a structural reform of the pensions. There will be an additional supplementary package of parametric measures that will deliver 1.08% of GDP, including long overdue reforms to close loopholes in the tax system and curtail spending on expenditure items, such as defense, where further savings are still feasible.

Parametric fiscal measures will bolstered by a wide range of administrative actions to address shortfalls in tax collection and enforcements: these measures will take some time to bear fruit but offer significant upside fiscal yield going forward.

VAT reforms

Greece has a very fragmented VAT system. As part of its commitment to improve VAT collection, the authorities will adopt legislation changing parameters to significantly broaden the tax base at a standard rate of 23 percent. Reflecting the needs to protect the disposable income of low and middle income households, there will be a reduced rate 13% to cover a limited set of goods that includes energy, basic foods, catering and for reasons of competitiveness, hotels. There will also be a super-reduced rate of 6% on medical supplies and books. As part of efforts to promote fairness, the reform will eliminate discounts including on islands, and streamline exemptions. These legislative changes of parameters will generate an annual fiscal yield of 0.74% of GDP and are being supported with administrative measures to combat fraud and increase compliance.

Privatisation

The Greek authorities are committed to approving and proceeding with an ambitious privatisation program. The policy of privatisations and utilisation of public and private property will be subject to the following conditions:

• a minimum level of investment for each privatisation;

• protecting labour rights;

• commitments to ensure benefits to local social economies;

• the public holding of a significant (probably a minority) stake in the capital;

• protection of the natural environment and cultural heritage.

The annual targets (excluding bank shares) for 2015, 2016 and 2017 are EUR 1.4 bn, EUR 3.7 bn and EUR 1.2 bn, respectively. Among other actions, the authorities will take immediate irreversible steps for the sale of the regional airports, Hellinikon, finalise the terms for the sale of the Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports and of the train operator, and advance with the tender to extent the concession agreement in the Athens International Airport. For real estate projects, the HRADF will set annual proceeds targets consistent with the overall privatisation revenue target.

Energy

The authorities will adopt the reform of the gas market and its specific roadmap, and implementation should follow suit. They will adopt and implement the reform of capacity payments and other electricity market rules, review PPC tariffs based on costs and notify NOME products. The authorities will also continue the implementation of the roadmap to the EU target model in the electricity market in line with EU rules on unbundling, and taking all possible steps to increase competition in production and promote investment.

The authorities will prepare a framework for the support of renewable energies and review energy taxation. The authorities will clear the public sector's arrears to PPC and strengthen the electricity regulator's financial and operational independence. The authorities will introduce a new scheme for the development of projects from Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and for the implementation of energy efficiency projects. The Government will introduce legislation the ratification of Directive 27/2012 on energy efficiency and introduce a new plan for the upgrade of the electricity grids in order to improve performance, enhance interoperability and reduce costs for all categories of consumers.

Public administration

The authorities will adopt legislation for a unified wage grid reform effective 1 January 2016, in line with the agreed wage bill targets, including decompressing the wage distribution in connection with the skill, performance and responsibility of staff. Secondary legislative acts needed to implement the new unified wage grid with a guaranteed starting point the salaries of each employee as of 31/12/2014, and legislation to rationalise the specialized wage grids, will be adopted by end- November 2015. The authorities will set a ceiling kit the wage bait within the new MTFS, and the level of public employment consistent with achieving the fiscal targets and ensuring a declining path of the wage bill relative to GDP until Z019. They will align non-wage benefits across the public administration with EU best practices.

The authorities will review and implement legislation for hiring managers and assessing performance of all employees, and complete the hiring of new managers by the end of the year. They will continue to identify past cases of illegal hires and temporary injunctions, and take appropriate enforcement action.

Justice

The authorities will legislate and implement the new Code of Civil Procedure in agreement with the institutions. They will propose further actions to reduce the backlog of cases in administrative Courts. authorities will also continue to work closely with European institutions and technical assistance on the modernisation of the judicial system including initiatives in the area of juridical e-Government (e-justice), mediation and judicial statistics.

Anti-corruption

The authorities will review and present a new Strategic Plan against Corruption (TRANSPARENCY) in late July. To this end, it has set up a working group with participation from representatives from the Ministry of Justice and the General Secretariat for the Fight against Corruption.

The authorities will amend and implement the legal framework for the declaration of assets and financing of the political intervention in individual cases. They will also ensure proper coordination and sharing of information between investigation bodies through a Coordinating Body of Finance Prosecutors and Corruption Prosecutors.

Statistics

The Greek authorities will adopt legislation to strengthen the governance and independence of ELSTAT, and ensure its proper access to administrative data.

ANNEX 1

Fiscal Measures 2015/2016

Analytical Parametric Measures/GrGov

VAT: 0.38%/0.74%

VAT Reform: 680/1,360

PENSIONS: 0.37%/1.05%

Early retirement restrictions (accrual): 60/300

Increase contribution for main pensions by 3.9% - IKA (previous year level): 350/800

Increase the health contributions for pensioners from 4% to 5% - main: 135/270

Increase the health contributions for pensioners from 0% to 5% - supplementary: 0/240

Increase contribution for supplementary funds from 3% to 3.5%: 120/250

CORPORATE & INCOME TAX: 0.66%/0.58%

Special tax 12% on corporate profits above 0.5 mln: 945/405

Increase corporate income tax from 26% to 29%: 0/410

Increase solidarity contribution rate in PIT: 220/250

OTHER MEASURES: 0.10%/0.50%

Defence spending: 0/200

TV advertisement tax: 100/100

Increase luxury tax and include private yachts: 47/47

VLTs: 35/225

Licences to 4G and 5G: 0/350

Parametric measures: 2,692/5,207

%GDP: 1.51%/2,87%

 

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