The head of a state-run pension fund for self-employed professionals in Greece complaining about high taxes to “move to Bulgaria” if they don’t like it.
Dimitris Tsakiris, who oversees the OAEE fund for the ruling Radical SYRIZA-led coalition government made the statement to the northern city of Florida in answer to a question about the 80 percent tax and social security rate on the self-employed.
Tsakiris was in northern Greece to brief business groups over the last tax hikes which affect OAEE beneficiaries.
The newspaper said he told the complainants that, “if they consider it patriotic, they should take their family and go to Bulgaria”.
Thousands of Greek companies already have fled to Bulgaria to take advantage of lower tax rates, especially those in Greece on the border.
Bulgaria offers Greek companies and entrepreneurs a stable, low-tax, low-bureaucracy option to conduct business while Greece, apart from a corruption-riddled bureaucracy where bribes are often sought, whacks them with punitive rates.
In later statements to Kathimerini, Tsakiris said his comment was “misinterpreted,” and that he meant Greeks should stop trying to avoid paying taxes that he said benefit the country’s hopes for growth during a crushing economic crisis.