Samaras unveils 'creative shock' steps to restart Greek economy

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras called for a "creative shock" to restart the Greek economy, in a platform of proposals he unveiled on Thursday.

At an event dubbed "Zappeion 2", Samaras warned that the country's debt was a "paralyzing" factor and dangerous, and reiterated charges that the government had pre-decided the recourse to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while also criticising the government of not negotiating the terms of the Memorandum.

Greece can emerge from the crisis and become better, without returning to "dependent prosperity", Samaras said, and urged that the "ghosts of populism and fatalism" be laid to rest, adding that he was proposing a "pact of self-confidence and dignity".

Stressing that the economy needs to be restarted, Samaras said a bold and immediate, as well as medium-term, reduction of the tax rates, was the top priority, and proposed a 15 percent rate on corporate profits, a reduction of the highest tax rate from the current 45 percent to 40 percent, a reduction of the highest VAT rate from the current 23 percent to 19 percent, and a 5.5 percent tax rate for tourism businesses.

He further proposed a reduction in employers' contributions to social security funds, citing the example of Ireland, but with "draconian" penalties for uninsured labor.

Samaras also reiterated his call for review of the 'source of wealth' statements of all who served as ministers from 1974 to the present, and proposed a general reform of the taxation system so that it will evolve into a "daring system that strikes out at tax evasion".

On the recent killing of a 44-year-old man in a downtown Athens district by perpetrators who stabbed him to steal his video camera as the man prepared to take his pregnant wife to hospital to give birth, Samaras made a scathing attack on the government and called for "zero tolerance to such abhorrent phenomena", stressing that "protection of life and property comes ahead of the economy".

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