Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday unveiled plans for tax cuts and pledged spending to heal years of painful austerity, less than a month after Greece emerged from a bailout program financed by its European Union partners and the International Monetary Fund.
Tsipras, who faces elections in about a year, used akeynote policy speech in the northern city of Thessaloniki toannounce a spending spree that he said would help fix the illsof years of belt-tighteningand help boost growth.
But he said Athens was also committed to sticking to thefiscal targets pledged to lenders.
“We will not allow Greece to revert to the era of deficitsand fiscal derailment,” he told an audience of officials,diplomats and businessmen.
Tsipras promised a phased reduction of the corporate tax to 25percent from 29 percent from next year, as well as an average 30percent reduction in a deeply unpopular annual property tax onhomeowners, rising to 50 percent for low earners.
He also said a pledge to maintain a primary budget surplusat the equivalent of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product could be achievedwithout further pension cuts, and that he would discuss thiswith the European Commission.
The government had been expected to announce further pensioncuts next year — a deeply controversial measure in a countrywhere high unemployment means that pensioners are occasionallythe primary family earners. It is also a group that has beentargeted for cutbacks more than a dozen times since 2010.
The leftist premier said he would also reinstate labor rights and increase the minimum wage. And he said the state would either reduce or subsidize social security contributions for certain sections of the workforce.