Given both the resumption of consultations between the Greek Government and technical teams from the ‘Institutions’ and the apparent (despite the lack of relevant information) agreement on the completion of the evaluation, the level of primary surpluses is once more under discussion, with the government declaring itself satisfied with the 2016 surplus and hoping that it will eventually reach 3%.
However, no ‘celebrations’ are warranted, given that this surplus is not the result of reforms or reducing government spending, but of an unprecedented tax onslaught through direct and indirect taxes, taxing Greek citizens to the very limits of their ability to pay. Furthermore, a decisive role played in achieving this accounting ‘surplus’ is played by overdue payments of more than EUR 3 billion in debts owed by the State in the broadest sense to private individuals, either through social security institutions’ debts (over EUR 2 billion) or through outstanding tax refunds. Combined with the increase in tax rates, this has ‘dried up’ the liquidity of the market.
In view of the above, will the Commission say:
1. As regards the evaluation, will it refer to the requirement to achieve primary surpluses through genuine reforms rather than additional taxation?
2. For the next tranche to be disbursed, will any provision be made for a significant part to be channelled to the real economy through the settlement of overdue payments?