Embattled Tsipras Plans Thessaloniki Fair as Comeback Springboard

FILE - Alexis Tsipras delivers a pre-election speech at the 80th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (TIF) in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Beleaguered Greek Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras will reportedly open the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) Sept. 8 by offering hundreds of millions of euros in breaks to people beset by austerity measures he vowed to reject but added to on orders of the country’s international lenders.

Falling hard in polls after reneging on promises to help workers, pensioners and the poor, the Premier will say he will cut the hated ENFIA property tax surcharge by 209 million euros ($243.4 million), the business newspaper Naftemporiki said, after breaking his word to end it.

Also expected are cuts in taxes he just raised as he plans to act unilaterally without checking with the creditors, the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM) and the Washington, D.C.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).

They put up three rescue packages since 2019 of 326 billion euros ($379.65 billion) and warned he will jeopardize a debt relief deal giving Greece until 2060 to repay if he goes too far with breaks that the major rival New Democracy, with big leads in polls, said are designed to woo back voters crushed by brutal measures he implemented after swearing he wouldn’t.

With elections required to be held by October, 2019, Tsipras also still hopes to stop coming additional pension cuts he agreed to impose on Jan. 1 but has run into the creditors saying that it can’t happen although he said they could if a big enough primary surplus – which doesn’t include interest on the debt, the cost of running cities and towns, state enterprises, social security, some military expenditures, and holding back payments to people and company owed money by the state – is big enough.

He’s said to also be contemplating changes in a “solidarity tax,” an income tax surcharge in which workers have money taken out of their checks to help the country’s most vulnerable, and to finally end capital controls he put in place in the summer of 2015 after seeking a third bailout, this one for 86 billion euros ($100.15 billion) he said he never would.

There were also reports he wants to back away from another reform to which he agreed that would lower the tax-free threshold in 2020 and hit low-and-moderate income people with taxes for the first time
TIF is the spot where Greek leaders traditionally give speeches with promises they often don’t keep and this year will draw keen interest with the end of the rescue packages and as Greece trie to move on, although the economy will be scrutinized for years by the creditors.

2 Comments

  1. Hes there to buy votes, and greeks are dumb enough to fall for it, what a shame the surplus should be used for urgent needs Volunteer Fire Service Needs Equipment, E.K.A.V needs ambulances and crews, etc etc…to pander and steal, this man has no honor..then neither does anyone who voted for him the second time..

  2. doubt the content of the article, Tsipras will act unilaterally is a joke. Greece has no money….no money = no power. If he wins the next election, it will be because the EU/ECB/ESM etc allow him room i.e. money to make up the 15-20% in the votes he needs, by allowing him to buy off the votes. Greeks are the worst in how they treat their great leaders….they did tell Plato to poison himself , they also put Kolokotronis in prison,blinded him , after he freed them from 400+ years of Turkish slavery and the list goes on. The Greeks are also wise enough to also know from our Greek forefathers ” you get the governance you deserve.” PM Tsipras should just leave, he and his partners already have their golden parachutes in terms of making ‘officially’ [whatever that means] euro 115 ,000 a year, lifetime pensions , private school for children, job for wife etc.not much of a communist now is he? President Trump makes $1/year….think Tsipras would work for 1Euro/ year?

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