Άρθρο στο Φαϊνάνσιαλ Τάϊμς - Greece urged to tax the rich
By Kerin Hope in Athens
December 7 2010
Greece urged to tax the rich
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has urged Greece to accelerate its restructuring effort, saying “this is a defining moment” for the country.
“The next stage of structural reform is even more crucial to unlock the true potential of the Greek economy,” Mr Strauss-Kahn said on Tuesday at the end of his first visit since the country agreed a Euro110bn bail-out with the the European Union and the fund last May.
“This is not an easy task . . . the progress made so far, however, offers a sound platform on which to build,” he added.
The governing Socialists face strong political opposition to the current round of structural reforms: cost-cutting at public sector corporations, measures to make the labour market more flexible and an overhaul of the he tax administration.
Mr Strauss-Kahn stressed the need to boost tax collection saying the “richest should participate” – a reference to Greece’s longstanding problem of tax evasion by wealthy professionals.
His message struck home, even among leftwing Greeks holding an anti-IMF protest outside parliament, where Mr Strauss-Kahn fielded questions from members of the house economics committee.
“The wealthy aren’t being made to pay up in this crisis in spite of all the government’s talk about justice,” said Antonis Adamopoulos, a student who was standing by a banner that read “Peoples of Europe, rise up”.
More protests are set for Thursday when Olli Rehn, EU budget commissioner, is due to visit Athens on a similar mission to reinvigorate commitment to the reform programme.
The conservative New Democracy party has backed some legislative reforms but opposes the whole programme, saying it “stifles economic growth”.
The Communist party and Syriza, a radical leftwing party, which are both demanding the immediate reversal of austerity measures, said they would boycott the parliamentary committee session with Mr Strauss-Kahn. The two parties organised separate protests on Tuesday, a day after about 40 youths were arrested in violent clashes with riot police marking the death in 2008 of a teenager shot by a police officer.