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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 9 May 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 MAY 2015 25 GREECE ATHENS DAILIES AT A GLANCE AVGHI: Prerequisite for liquidity and step for an agreement DIMOKRATIA: What the single VAT will bring EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: 'White collars' to be brought before the court ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Strict measures from a left-wing party for the very first time ESTIA: Elections was a terrible mistake ETHNOS: Optimism for the first time IMERISSIA: Step to an agreement KATHIMERINI: Red lines on the table of negotiation LOGOS: (Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras(EU Commission president JeanClaude) Juncker's statement an omen of agreement NAFTEMPORIKI: The agreement will bring 14 billion euro measures RIZOSPASTIS: Masks are down; People on alert TA NEA: The background of the agreement TO PONTIKI: Prime Minister Alexis (Tsipras) and (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel's hot line Opinion poll gives SYRIZA a 20.2 per cent lead over New Democracy Ruling coalition partner SYRIZA leads by 20.2 percentage points over main opposition New Democracy (ND) in voting intent according to an opinion poll conducted by Palmos Analysis on behalf of private TV station SBC, published on Thursday. According to the survey, 36.7 per cent of participants chose SYRIZA, 16.5 per cent said ND, 6.1 per cent Potami, 5.4 per cent Golden Dawn, 3.9 per cent Communist Party (KKE), 3.1 per cent Independent Greeks (ANEL) and 2.5 per cent PASOK. Asked on who they believe is more suitable for prime minister, 57 per cent prefer Alexis Tsipras and 21 per cent chose ND leader Antonis Samaras, while 18 per cent said ‘neither’. Questioned whether they be- lieve there will be an agreement between Greece and its creditors, 46 per cent said ‘yes’, 29 per cent said ‘probably yes’, 9 per cent said ‘no’ and 10 per cent said ‘probably not’. Asked whether they believe the government's ongoing negotiation can be described as ‘tough’, 43 per cent of respondents said it's ‘tough’, 29 per cent said it's ‘non-existent’ and 22 per cent called it ‘mild’. Credit cards vs tax evasion Greek chief of tourism urges visitors to use credit cards for all transactions At the same time Athens announces it plans to raise VAT rates on some holiday islands, Andreas Andreadis, head of the Confederation of Greek Tourism (SETE), is appealing to the 2.4 million British tourists who have already booked their summer holidays in Greece to use their credit cards for as many payments as they can. "What we are saying is that on cash transactions above a certain level please use your credit cards," Andreadis told the Observer. "That way it forces services and shops to declare it on the cash register and issue receipts." "In a country where the tax collection system is so inefficient, credit cards are the easiest way of clamping down on evasion," he said stressing that "around 40 per cent of receipts are not issued in tourist areas to avoid VAT." The government specifically plans on introducing a higher VAT rate on the most popular Greek islands as the numbers of vacationers set to visit the Mediterranean country are expected to reach record levels. Twenty five million foreign arrivals are to flood the Greek islands - more than twice the country's population. Islands including Mykonos and Santorini are bound to receive a major surcharge on hotel rooms, services and goods, something that has been firmly opposed by the tourist industry. "While there is a certain logic to it, you cannot impose a new levy in the middle of the season when 60 per cent of package holidays have already been paid," Andreadis explained. "It is a desperate, last-minute measure that has been without plan or strategy and under panic of not getting the next tranche." The new VAT raise is estimated to cash in 350 extra much-needed million euros to ensure Greece meets its Greece’s Ministry of Tourism has appealed to the millions of potential summer visitors to use their credit cards as much as possible. autumn payments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). On 12 May, the IMF is expecting to receive two loan instalments reaching 780 million euros. At a time when Greece is losing up to 20 billion euros due to tax evasion every year, according to finance ministry reports, taxpayers owe in excess of 70 billion euros to the state. Tax evasion remains not only one of Greece's major financial drains but the tourists industry's main policy for decades. The chief of tourism and the SETE confederation, which represents more than 50,000 enterprises in the sector, are pressing for consumers to be given incentives to use cards. They urge visitors to use their credit cards following prime minister Alexis Tsipras' suggestion that electronic payments should be made mandatory for transactions exceeding 70 euros. Greece sticking to ‘red line’ electoral promises The Greek government will stick to the ‘red line’ promises it made to its electorate and not make concessions in negotiations with creditors, it said. Spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told the press in Athens that labour and pension issues are non negotiable. "We won't go beyond the limits of our red lines. It's clear that we cannot cut pensions." Talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) will continue over the weekend. Creditors have demanded cuts in spending, including plans to trim the civil service and privatisation of state as- sets, in order for Greece to continue receiving loans. But Greece's ruling left wing SYRIZA party, led by Alexis Tsipras, was voted in earlier this year on promises to ease up on the highly unpopular austerity measures with increases in the minimum monthly wage and a job creation programme. Mr Sakellaridis said: "There should not be an expectation on the part of institutions ... that the government will back down on everything. "When you negotiate, there should be mutual concessions." Some creditors, notably Germany, are losing patience with what they see as Greece's profligacy. The prospect of a deep schism between Greece and the financial community, particularly the eurozone area, has haunted financial markets for years. The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said it would not be wise to openly discuss a Greek exit from the euro: "If I were to say that "Grexit" [Greek exit from the EU] was an option, what do you think would happen then on the financial markets?" But in France, finance minister Michael Sapin was more reassuring, saying Greece's talks with its international creditors were heading in gathering of eurozone finance ministers. Greece is due to make its next repayment - of €763m ($1.09bn), one of its biggest - to the IMF on Tuesday. The Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, insisted that the country will meet Tuesday's deadline, amid concerns that it may not have enough money to so do. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’ government is adamant it will not cut pensions. the right direction: "The risk of things running off the rails for Greece also entails that risk for Europe," he said, calling for a "push towards a compromise" at Monday's Varoufakis said: "The Greek government used to pretend it could meet certain targets that it knew it could not keep. "This cycle of debt deflation and insincerity has to end. We are prepared to go all the way down to the wire. "Europe works in glacial ways, and eventually does the right thing after it has tried all alternatives." He ruled out a bailout agreement being reached at the eurozone finance ministers meeting on Monday, but insisted they "will certainly have an agreement within the next couple of weeks or so." He also said he is "the chief negotiator of the Greek government", countering claims that he had been sidelined after a reshuffle in the bailout negotiations team in late April. Greece met the deadline on Wednesday to pay the IMF €200m ($285m) in interest payments.
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