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Steve Chiotakis: European financial inspectors are back in Athens today after the Greek government passed a property tax that has a lot of citizens and business leaders upset — what could turn out to cost each household at least $1,000 a year. A lot of folks say they’ll be unable to pay. But European leaders say the government must be able to take in more money in order for the country to avoid default.
Constantine Michalos is chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he’s with us now from Athens to talk about it. Good morning sir.
Constantine Michalos: Good morning to you.
Chiotakis: Do these taxes affect business in Greece?
Michalos: Absolutely, especially the one that was voted last night, the co-called property tax, which was first of all totally uncalled for and secondly private sector in Greece has taken the full burden of this recession ever since the government began this austerity program. That was the eleventh taxation reform against the private sector in the over the last eighteen months.
Chiotakis: How does the country raise money then, I mean it’s buried in debt.
Michalos: What we need now is more austerity and less stimulus. And unfortunately both the government and the troika don’t realize that the recipe they have been following over the last two years is incorrect — it’s hitting against a brick wall, and unless we change very soon I fear the worst.
Chiotakis: Do you think Greece should stay in the eurozone?
Michalos: We fought very hard and sacrificed a great deal to become part of the European family, part of the eurozone. I think this is an excellent opportunity for Europe to show a united front, for Germany, who is the leader of the European in terms of economic indicators, to prove to the world that it’s a more European Germany than a Germanic Europe.
Chiotakis: Constantine Michalos, with the Athens Chamber of Commerce, sir, thank you so much.
Michalos: Thank you very much.
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