Greek parliament approves one billion euro new taxes for 2017

DW — Greek parliament passed next year’s budget on Saturday evening, giving Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hope his country will take bigger strides out of its financial crisis in 2017.

“(Next year) will be a milestone in taking the country out of crisis, and this is the first budget of optimism, growth and recovery,” Tsipras told parliament.

The budget called for of approximately one billion euros of new taxes on cars, telephone services, television, fuel, tobacco, coffee and beer. Public spending on salaries and pensions will be cut by 5.7 billion euros.

The country is also eyeing 2.7 percent economic growth next year, having achieved a higher than predicted primary surplus in 2016.

The budget was approved by 152 of the 298 present lawmakers after a five day debate. The budget was backed by the ruling coalition from the left, and opposed by all other parties.

“You’re the living nightmare of productive Greeks…the only thing you know is to levy taxes,” said conservative New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Tsipras announced in a surprising move Thursday there would be a tax break for Greek islands sheltering thousands of migrants. “Europe owes a debt to (these islanders), the Greek state owes them its support,” said Tsipras.

Greece has been at the forefront of the migrant crisis, with thousands of migrants landing in Greece hoping to seek asylum in Europe. Tens of thousands are waiting to be processed in Greece in order to continue on into Europe.

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