Greek Farmers Plan Protests Against Tax Hikes

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Greek farmers are planning to take their tractors onto the roads in protest against tax increases that Greece has agreed to in exchange for a third bailout package from its lenders.

The Panhellenic Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) said late on Wednesday that Greek farmers were to decide on the form of their protest action after a meeting with Minister of Rural Development Vangelis Apostolou.

The meeting was held on Wednesday to discuss the issue of taxation and other problems that concern Greek farmers.

Head of the Panhellenic Farmers’ Initiative, Theodoros Papaconstantinou, said after the Wednesday meeting that Greek farmers would launch protests in the coming days as union leaders failed to reach a compromise with the authorities over planned tax increases.

“The government is sticking to the plan it agreed with the lenders, which has no growth potential for farmers,” Papaconstantinou said as quoted by the Kathimerini newspaper on Wednesday.

According to the Greek daily, another union, the Panhellenic Coordinating Committee for Farmers and Livestock Breeders, has not decided on what action to take over tax hikes and is waiting for the Greek government to finalize its plans.

The Greek economy has been severely strained for several years, because of the country’s multibillion debt accumulated after the 2008 world economic crisis.

In July, Greece’s international creditors signed an agreement with the country’s government, approving a third bailout package for Athens worth 86 billion euros (about $95 billion) in exchange for highly unpopular austerity reforms such as pension cuts and tax hikes.

The funds that Greece received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) and Eurozone countries under two previous bailout packages also came in exchange for austerity measures.

Greece’s left-wing Syriza party led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised to revise the austerity reforms after securing victory in the January parliamentary elections.

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