ATHENS – Major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told visiting European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, the bloc’s finance chief, that the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition has buried Greeks with an avalanche of taxes and jacking up the public payroll again.
Mitsotakis referred to what he called “hyper-taxation,” some weeks after Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos admitted the government deliberately piled too many taxes on the middle-income so it could pay a holiday bonus to lower-income pensioners and unemployed youth in what critics said was a bid to buy votes with SYRIZA’s popularity tanking after reneging on anti-austerity promises.
Mitsotakis told Moscovici, who said Greece’s economy will need continued monitoring when three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($400.15 billion) run out in August, contradicting Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ claims a “clean exit” is coming, that Greek society is being “strangled by under the weight of ever increasing taxes and social security contributions, “while at the same time the government is again increasing the number of civil servants and the public sector’s payroll,” the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.
Moscovici, who previously met with and other top members of the coalition that includes the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) was in the Greek capital to promote his new book book.
He heard Mitsotakis complain that the government has a “short-sighted and petty partisan” policy over higher education as well as it continues to block non-profit, private universities – which New Democracy did as well under previous leadership.