Tax-Free Greek Shipowners Will Renovate Public Hospital Toilets


File- Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on meets with the president and board of the Union of Greek Shipowners. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Tatiana Bollari)

ATHENS – Greek oligarch shipowners, who are essentially untaxed and make voluntary payments that are a smidgeon of their worth, have agreed to pay for renovating washrooms in Attica state hospitals and buy new bed linen and blankets.

That was done through a memorandum between the Union of Greek shipowners and the Ministry of Health, nearly 10 years after the start of an economic crisis that Greece's wealthy escaped as brutal austerity measures were brought down on workers, pensioners and the poor.

Attending the meeting, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis thanked the union for "yet another significant grant" and told its representatives that the donation "will not only change the daily life of hospitals but restore a sense of dignity to the patients" in hospitals, without either side explaining why it wasn't done years before.

Successive governments have backed off trying to tax the shipowners who threatened to take their vessels away from their homeland and as they already fly Flags of Convenience from other countries to escape paying taxes to help their country.

Conditions in public hospitals are so bad that it's rare to find toilets that have toilet seats, toilet paper, paper towels or soap and as patients are often forced to pay for private nurses because the facilities are so understaffed, needing help.