The home ownership rate in Greece currently exceeds 84%. The pre-crisis construction boom was accompanied by easily available mortgage loans, which are now, however, proving increasingly difficult to service following the dramatic fall in earnings and the crushing burden of taxation, which is now threatening to tip the balance.
The special property tax imposed by the Troika has done nothing to equalise the burden but has simply added to the existing plethora of taxes levied on owners. Despite exemptions, many people, including the elderly, minimum pension recipients, the unemployed and those with disabilities, now find themselves with insufficient resources to meet the cost of property maintenance and day-to-day living, a situation that is seriously undermining social cohesion.
In the light of Article 17(1) and Article 114(2) TFEU:
— Does the Commission consider that the quadrupling of the burden resulting from a plethora of taxes on the same property at a critical moment, following a fourfold rise in unemployment and a devastating fall in average earnings, is in accordance with the principles of social justice and protection of the right to own property and the rights of the elderly, of persons with disabilities and of families (Articles 17, 25, 26 and 33 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU)?
— Will it investigate the actions of the Troika and their impact in the Member State concerned and take measures to protect the rights of property owners in Greece?
Answer given by Mr Moscovici on behalf of the Commission
The Commission supports efforts to rationalise property taxation in Greece and has worked extensively with the Greek authorities in this direction in the context of the 2nd economic adjustment programme for Greece(1). As a result, the Greek legislation for the new unified property tax ENFIA was adopted at the end of 2013 and entered into force in January 2014. The new property tax replaces both the existing real estate tax collected by the electricity company PPC (PPC levy) and the wealth tax on property (FAP) and should help to make the system simpler and fairer. The projected yield of the new tax is estimated to be lower than the combined yield of the previous taxes and levies. The introduction of any major new tax inevitably requires some refinements and a limited number of amendments were made in September 2014. The Commission will continue to assist the Greek authorities in their efforts to ensure full implementation of the new tax, which is considered to be in conformity with EC law.