Athens – President Barack Obama introduced Alexis Tsipras to his wife Michelle as the one who won successively three electoral victories. Alexis Tsipras went to New York for the annual United Nations Conference. He met for a while, on this occasion, the American President , who got the opportunity to reiterate the support of the United States to the restructuring of the external debt of Greece, in order to become viable and to permit to the country to restore hopes for development and exit from the present crisis.
The Greek Prime Minister had also the opportunity to attend a special event, organized by the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation. The ex American President welcome to the event, retransmitted by the CNN, the Greek Prime Minister and introduced him to dozens of heavy weight investors, who were present. The purpose of the event was to attract investors for Greece. There was much critic in Greece on the poor English of the Greek Prime Minister during the talk show that did not allow him to take full advantage of this opportunity.
The good climate in the relations of the Greek Prime Minister with the United States was overshadowed by the unexpected invitation of FYROM -Skopie by the United States as “Macedonia”. International Conference Against Terrorism, organized in the margin of the UN Annual Conference. Greece reacted angrily to this “provocation” by the United States, by refusing to attend this Conference. Greece recognizes this country only under the name of ex Yougoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which was agreed upon under the auspices of the United Nations. The United States recognized FYROM as Macedonia, on a bilateral basis, during the Presidency of George Bush and is very anxious to push for the solution of this problem, since it is an obstacle to the entry of FYROM to NATO and to the European Union.
What is most needed for Greece is a lessening of the debt burden.
One of the reason that the SYRIZA party and Alexis Tsipras were in haste to hold, as early as possible, the parliamentary elections, was the fear of the new austerity measures and their economic and political effect. There are dozens of required measures that should be taken and passed through the parliament, before the release by the European Union of any new money, which is so urgently needed.
The passing through the parliament of those measures, which concern new cuts of pensions and taxes, is the easy part of the operation. The most difficult is to put into effect those measures. The people is exhausted and has no any reserve margin to fulfill the new increased obligations. There is, for example, the prospect of closing down of 60.000 new small and medium enterprises. Many others rush to other countries , which have a law tax, rate (10%), as Bulgaria, in order to face the new challenge. The tax in Greece is 29%, plus the 100% prepayment of the tax of the next year.
There is also the problem of Value Added Tax (VAT). Upon the insistence of the Troika, this tax has been increased in many sectors, especially in tourism and restoration. The repercussions of this measure are very heavy and do not help to the amelioration of the situation. The increase of the VAT, for example, in the tourist islands of the Aegean Sea is exploited by the antagonist neighboring Turkey in order to attract to its shores a great part of the Aegean tourism. The VAT in Turkey is only 8% but apart this advantage, Turkey is rushing now to create, just opposite to the Greek tourism islands, free tax tourist areas.
There is much skepticism and thinking about the wisdom of the new measures, imposed on Greece in the alleged purpose of facing the crisis. How is possible to proceed forward and to create the necessary conditions for recovery when the measures, which have been imposed, point to the opposite direction. Tourism, for example, is one of the engines of the economy of the country which needs more incentives for development than more burdens that Greece tourism into stagnation and decrease.
Agriculture and meat production is another field that needs more incentives for development, since the food imports, have climbed up to the unbelievable level of 79%. The primary production of the country is in big trouble. Instead of leaving at least the present situation of taxes and fiscal burdens in the field of agriculture, there is a new heavy package of taxes and abolition of previous favorable measures, as, for example, the low cost provision of energy to farmers. Unemployment has climbed up to 29% and the capital controls are still a difficult problem, affecting not only the imports and exports of the country but even the entry to the country of the foreign exchange of the merchant marine.
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