Minister proposes big cut to public funding for parties

Greece’s political parties are to receive 14 million euros less in taxpayers’ money this year, according to plans presented on Tuesday by Interior Minister Tassos Yiannitsis.

Speaking to Parliament’s institutions committee, Yiannitsis said the parties would have to accept a cut of more than 20 percent. “Whatever government will be in power next, it will have a huge task in improving the country’s finances,” he said. “It cannot ease up in order to benefit parties. It is an issue of political integrity.”

Greece’s parties received about 550 million euros over the last decade. The government has yet to release the final 14-million-euro tranche of last year’s funding, set at 54 million euros. Yiannitsis assured the MPs the money would be forthcoming but said that parties would have to accept this year only 40 million euros, 26 percent less than last year.

The minister said that the law to reduce party funding would force 60 percent of the public money to be used to pay off some 250 million euros in bank loans.  

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