Greece to crack down on tax evasion and corruption

Greece to submit reforms for approval by lenders

National Bank of Greece  in Athens: Greece obtained a provisional deal from euro-area finance ministers. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg

National Bank of Greece in Athens: Greece obtained a provisional deal from euro-area finance ministers. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg

 

A crackdown on tax evasion and corruption, the streamlining of public administration and measures to increase the yield of overdue taxes are expected to form the main planks in a catalogue of reforms Greece’s left-led coalition government is required to submit to its lenders today under the terms of the agreement reached at a euro zone summit on Friday.

Greek ministers spent the long weekend compiling the list of proposals, which must be approved by the troika of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – now referred to as the institutions, in a nod to Greek sensitivities – so that euro zone members will ratify the bailout extension.

‘Tax evasion’

Nikos PappasAlexis Tsipras

While government ministers and officials were tight-lipped on the detail, local media reported that the list of reforms was not likely to identify austerity measures, such as cuts to pensions, which the previous government had considered but not implemented.

Nor is it expected to contain proposals for further changes to labour law, which the troika sought last year to implement mass layoffs in the private sector.

“If we keep cutting, this will reduce our ability to raise tax. National income is decreasing and our focus must be on reversing that trend,” one official said.

But as the government worked on finalising the list, signs emerged that Mr Tsipras could face a backlash from the left-wing of his party.

In a scathing criticism of Friday’s euro zone agreement, Syriza MEP Manolis Glezos (92), a veteran of the left-led resistance against the country’s wartime occupation by Axis forces, said Syriza was obliged to end “austerity, which is the strategy of not only the oligarchies of Germany and the other creditor countries but also of Greece”.

‘Meat as fish’

Mr Glezos

Apologising to the Greek people for co-operating in this “illusion”, Mr Glezos urged Syriza members and supporters “to react before it’s too late”.