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Professional, Tourism Bodies Call for Refugee Island Measures

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The Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE) and the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) are calling on the government to introduce special aid measures in order to assist the North Aegean islands which have seen their tourism traffic dwindle due to the ongoing influx of refugees there in the past year and a half.

The two professional bodies sent Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a letter on Monday proposing among others that debts to social security funds and tax authorities be made in 100 installments; deferring VAT hikes for the islands of Kos, Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Leros, Kalymnos and Nisyros in 2017; in the case of non-performing loans, extend by one year banks’ options to move towards auction process; introducing favorable conditions so that businesses from these regions are included in the development law and NSRF programs (with respect to employment quotas); giving priority to these regions for eligibility in investment projects and for immediate implementation of investments; setting unemployment benefits eligibility at 80 insured days instead of 100 due underemployment following the decline in tourism flows; reducing the ENFIA property tax by 50 percent in affected areas, in particular for properties under professional use; offering subsidies for the modernization of  accounting and electronic procedures as well as for terminal devices, market and maintenance costs.

“Our assessment is that the immediate implementation of these measures can ensure income for thousands of families and the sustainability of businesses they operate or work for,” SETE and GSEBEE concluded.

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