ATHENS, Greece – On Wednesday public transport in Athens were on strike for 24 hours to the appeal of unions protesting against the new austerity measures decided by the government deal with the debt crisis.
Buses, subways, trams and taxis were stopped. Customs officials and tax have also disengaged, while around 350 people demonstrated outside the Ministry of Finance against the lower pensions and higher taxes.
On Tuesday, Greek Members approved the creation of a new property tax, while Athens is trying to convince donors, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank to pay a new tranche of 110 billion euros granted in May 2010.
The Greek state expects to receive EUR 8 billion to avoid mid-October as a default to potentially disastrous consequences for the entire euro area.
This new tax will be charged through electricity bills, to facilitate the task of collecting the tax authorities. The Greeks who refuse to pay will have their electricity cut off.
In September the new measures announced to provide for the layoffs of 30,000 public sector employees in 2011 instead of 20 000 initially planned, a further decline in pensions and lowering of the minimum tax, which will increase from 8000 to 5000 euros per year.
In Brussels, a spokesman for the European Commission, Amadeu Altafaj, announced that representatives of the “troika”-IMF, EU and ECB-would return to Athens for an assessment mission to the Greek government accounts on Thursday.
This return after the suspension of talks earlier this month, follows the “recent announcements by the Greek authorities on fiscal consolidation measures that constitute an important development,” added the spokesman.