Gov’t tries to improve aspects of agreement for farmers

18 January 2016
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The Greek government is trying to improve and change aspects of an agreement with the country’s creditors with the aim to lower tax and social contributions burdens on farmers, Agricultural Development Minister Vaggelis Apostolou said on Monday.

In comments made to a television station, Apostolou said that the country will need to drink “the bitter glass of implementing the agreement” and particularly mentioned the need to safeguard around 3.5 billion euros annually from EU agricultural funds.

“This was the most serious thing we had to think and to take in mind for the agreement,” he noted, although he acknowledged that the most difficult part of the agreement for farmers was the pension issue as the agreement would raise social insurance contributions from around 940 euros annually to 1,540 euros, gradually over the next four years. He said that the tax burden would be smaller as the agreement envisaged raising tax revenue from farmers to 240-250 million euros, from 220 million euros currently.

The Greek minister called farmers, who are preparing strike mobilizations, to begin talks with the government.

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