With the Troika representatives back in Athens, Greece reportedly gives a battle to achieve the lowering of Value Added Tax in catering services and goods from currently 23% down to 13%.
So far the signals from the country’s main lender International Monetary Fund are not promising. Christine Lagarde was clear on her statement issued on May 31st 2013 on the occasion of the bailout tranche approval
“Pressures to reduce taxes using the space from any fiscal over-performance should be resisted.”
““Greece is well underway to complete its ambitious fiscal adjustment plan, and is on track to meet its 2013 fiscal targets. A critical priority is to tackle tax evasion by pressing forward rapidly with reform of the revenue administration to improve operational independence and make the burden of adjustment more equitable. Pressures to reduce taxes using the space from any fiscal over-performance should be resisted. Decisive steps are needed to reform public administration, including through targeted staff reductions, to lower costs, improve efficiency, and increase fairness.”
However the Greek government is confident that it will achieve the VAT reduction arguing that this is the only way to be competitive to tourist destinations in neighboring countries. Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras will officially submit a request.
Powerful steamers crash Great Expectations
In fact I didn’t want to write about taxes today but about a film I watched on Saturday. Great Expectations. The most recent adaption of Charles Dickens novel.
Great Expectations(1861) a novel by Charles Dickens about a young man called Pip who wants to become rich and successful. He is given money by an unknown person (Magwitch), and as a result he becomes a less nice person, but after several difficult experiences, he finally realizes that he must work hard to make enough money to live well, and he becomes a kind, generous man.
What is Great Expectations about? Quite often from this blog I have drawn a parallel between Dickens’ world of social hardship and injustice and modern Greek reality. Dickens is classic. Because what he describes it can be valid for all times.
So what is Great Expectations about? Is it about a poor boy wanting to become a rich gentleman in the Victorian era? Is it about to want to help a benefactor escape the arm of law? Or is it about a debt-ridden country tied up like a hog by its lenders? Is it maybe about a government desperately trying to keep up its pre-elections promises it gave a year ago? Or is it about a government desperately in need of a success?
In a scene of the most thrilling dramatic effect, Pip and his friend Pocket try to help his benefactor Magwitch escape from England on a German steamer. As Pip and Pocket row towards the ship, another boat with rowing policeman approaches them and tries to hinder them.
Although the scene is kind of difficult to follow due to the darkness of the night and the water, a two- or three-second long scene sets the drama highlight of how a Great Expectation can be crashed.
With the strong maelstorm, with a powerful whirling motion the steamer pulls Pip’s boat straight into a fatal collision.
You hear the oars of the police boat beating the water in rhythm, you hear the rotating blades of the steamer announcing with violence the inevitable disaster. Hera and there a weak a scream.
Then the crash. The collision. The steamer demolishes the boat. The end of one of the many Great Expectations…
PS the streamer’s name was NOT Christine Lagarde…
and I wish, I could find this powerful scene on Youtube. But I couldn’t.