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FinMin Tsakalotos: “We had no time to go after the rich” over unpaid taxes

Euclid Tsakalotos, the Greek finance Minister gave an interview to the Guardian and talked about the drawbacks of Grexit, the need for debt relief and the task of pursuing the elite for unpaid taxes. The Greek finance Minister tries to justify the important steps the SYRIZA-led government did or did not. However, I stick to this one, “taxing the elite of oligarch”, one of the most important issues that the average Greeks expects form the left-wing government. A Must-Do to restore social justice. But Tsakalotos claims, the government, now 11 months in power, simply “had no time.”

Excerpt from the Guardian:

“In its first term in office, Syriza was widely criticised for failing to enact policies that would have set it apart from other administrations. Like Pasok and New Democracy, the two parties that alternated in power for the past 40 years and have been widely blamed for Athens’ financial woes, the leftists were accused of cosying up to an oligarchical elite.

Tsakalotos ackowledges that not enough was done. Since the second world war, he says, Greece has been blighted by an upper class that has gone out of its way to avoid helping their country.

More than €100bn is thought to have left Greek banks since the start of the crisis, forcing the government to impose capital controls to avert the collapse of the system in July.

Tsakalotos says he is determined to use stick and carrot to pursue those who had got off lightly, with the aim of getting the affluent to contribute to rebuilding a country that has lost 25% of its national output.

“We were so under stress, going from hand to mouth and crisis to crisis [during Syriza’s first term in office] that we didn’t have time to go after the rich and create a sense of fairness,” he says.

“Now we are seriously considering voluntary disclosure programmes for Greeks who have got deposits outside Greece. We are carrying out important work matching outflows of Greek banks with tax receipts and we are looking at all lists, including the list of Greeks who have real estate in London.”

Neither New Democracy nor Pasok would ever have dared address the issue “because that would be like turkeys voting for Christmas – their whole social base is based on old clientelistic politics”. (full interview in The Guardian)

PS I assume that now the government is working on it 🙂

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  1. Pathetic trumped up lies. The corruption of Pasok is now ensconced as the corruption of Syriza: that is why they are not going after the criminal rich of Greece.