A cursory look at the “new” Greek proposal to creditors suggests PM Alexis Tsipras may have sold out the referendum “no” vote in a final, desperate attempt to avert an economic catastrophe and the collapse of the country’s banks which will be cut off from ELA as of Monday morning in the event Brussels and Athens do not come to terms over the weekend.
As Commerzbank’s Markus Koch said on Thursday, “the ‘No’ in the referendum appears to be turning into a ‘Yes’ from Tsipras.”
And even as it does indeed appear that Greeks (not to mention Syriza hardliners) will be forced to stomach a “compromise” that amounts to an outright concession.
The differences between the “old” and “new” Greek proposals, via Bloomberg…
Financing and Debt
Greece is asking for three-year loans of at least 53.5 billion euros ($59.9 billion) to cover its financing needs between 2015 and 2018. It is also seeking debt restructuring and reprofiling of its long-term debt due after 2022. The earlier proposals were in return for a five-month extension of an existing bailout program for loans of as much 15.5 billion euros and didn’t involve any debt restructuring.
With few exceptions, the Greek government adopts the creditors’ proposal on sales and corporate tax rates. The government is seeking to eliminate sales tax discounts on islands gradually by the end of 2016 instead of immediately, starting higher-income islands that are popular tourist destinations. It also seeks to keep hotels under a reduced 13 percent rate instead of the standard 23 percent.
The government proposes implementing a “zero-deficit” clause for supplementary and lump-sum pension funds, adopted in 2012, from October instead of immediately. While it agrees to phase out a supplementary allowance for low pensions by the end of December 2019, it wants to start phasing-out these benefits from March 2016 instead of starting immediately.
Fiscal and Structural Measures
Greece wants to increase advanced income tax payment on corporate income to 100 percent and gradually for individual businesses by the end of 2017, as part of steps to close loopholes for tax avoidance. It also proposes to eliminate preferential tax treatment for farmers by the end end of 2017. The creditors wanted these steps to be implemented by the end of 2016.
The government appears to backtrack on its own earlier proposals for military spending cuts, offering to reduce spending by 100 million euros in 2015 and 200 million euros in 2016. It had earlier suggested to cut military spending by 200 million euros in 2016 and 400 million euros in 2017. The creditors have sought an immediate cut in annual military spending by 400 million euros.
It offers instead to extend implementation of a luxury tax on recreational vessels in excess of five meters instead of in excess of 10 meters.
Government insists to legislating changes to collective bargaining agreements this fall; creditors don’t want any changes to already agreed labor framework and demand that any changes be negotiated with the three creditor institutions first — the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the EU.
This is where the government appears to fully adopt the creditors’ demand for all agreed sales of state assets to proceed, including transferring the state’s shares in the Hellenic Telecommunication Organization SA to the asset sales fund and selling regional airports under terms already agreed with a venture led by Fraport AG, the winning bidder already selected by the previous government.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.