The key idea behind Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ key note speech for the launch of the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) was “regeneration”.
Some two months in power, Mitsotakis pledged to slash taxation, which already began with a 22 percent reduction in property tax (ENFIA), move ahead with fast-track reforms to modernize the state, and cut red tape.
Speaking to the press on Sunday, following his policy address, the Greek PM announced that a broad tax law would be tabled in parliament next month which would foresee the reduction of a corporate tax rate from 28 percent to 24 percent as of 2020, as well as the gradual decrease of social security contributions by 5 percent by 2023.
Mitsotakis’ pro-business government is focused on attracting foreign investment by creating a secure business environment with tax reductions aimed to serve as incentives primarily for tourism investment. This in turn, he said, would help address the issue of unemployment which has plagued Greece since the economic crisis broke out.
In this direction, he also said over the weekend that value added tax on new construction would be suspended for three years along with capital gains tax on property sales.
“We’re setting the foundations of the country’s regeneration,” he said. “Greece has turned a page… Greece is no longer the black sheep of the EU, we’re a self-confident country now.”
The leading government goal is restoring market trust and regaining investor confidence. Topping the priority list is the highly anticipated – and delayed – Hellinikon project, which once completed is expected not only to upgrade the Athenian Riviera but also create thousands of jobs.
The Greek economy is forecast at growing by 2.2 percent this year driven by increased exports and stronger tourist spending.
This said, Mitsotakis also announced that Greece would be submitting a request to repay its IMF loan ahead of schedule.
With regards to Turkey and the refugee crisis, which is again heightening with monthly arrivals to Greece in August reaching 7,000 – the highest number in three years – Mitsotakis said that Turkey should not try to coerce either Greece or Europe in its attempts to get support for a plan to resettle Syrian refugees in northern Syria.
“Mr Erdogan must understand that he cannot threaten Greece and Europe in an attempt to secure more resources to handle the refugee (issue),” he said.
Meanwhile according to New York-based Greek-American community paper The National Herald, Mitsotakis is expected to speak to the diaspora Greeks on Wednesday, in Astoria.