Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Tax pain ahead for Greeks as parliament approves increase

Austerity measures designed to lift Greece out of its financial crisis have sparked protests across the country.

Story highlights

  • Greek lawmakers approve a new tax bill intended to raise 2.3 billion euros
  • The move is likely to anger many Greeks struggling under austerity measures
  • An anarchist group says it planted makeshift bombs outside the homes of journalists Friday
  • It accuses the media of representing a corrupt system and supporting the elite

Greece's parliament approved a tax increase Saturday that should add to the government's revenue, but is likely to anger citizens opposed to the country's austerity measures.

The new tax bill, passed in the early hours, is needed to help the debt-stricken country meet its commitments to international creditors, state-run ANA news agency reported Saturday.

The legislation makes it compulsory for all taxpayers to lodge an income tax declaration while raising property and corporate taxes, the news agency said.

The new tax bill is one of "fiscal necessity" and will ensure that shortfalls are met in a socially fair way, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told lawmakers ahead of the vote, ANA reported.

The measure, intended to raise an extra 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) this year, is part of a raft of measures enabling Greece to qualify for further international bailout funds.

The vote by lawmakers came a day after arsonists critical of the country's media coverage of the crisis attacked the homes of five prominent journalists in Athens using makeshift bombs.

Greeks escape austerity for farm living

    Just Watched

    Greeks escape austerity for farm living

Greeks escape austerity for farm living 02:20
PLAY VIDEO
Blaming immigrants for Greece's woes

    Just Watched

    Blaming immigrants for Greece's woes

Blaming immigrants for Greece's woes 02:17
PLAY VIDEO
Greece's new homeless

    Just Watched

    Greece's new homeless

Greece's new homeless 01:59
PLAY VIDEO
Greek: We are getting hungry

    Just Watched

    Greek: We are getting hungry

Greek: We are getting hungry 02:08
PLAY VIDEO

An anarchist group angry at the Greek media coverage of the country's economic crisis claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement posted on a leftist website.

It was the first such coordinated action in Greece since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008.

The anarchist group, calling itself Lovers of Lawlessness, described the media as "the official representation" of a corrupt system and said it was time for "fear to change camp."

The group said the five journalists targeted were "double tongued," because they were "using a pro-workers rhetoric, but at the same time winking mischievously at their political bosses."

All five journalists, including two broadcast news presenters, work for mainstream media outlets.

"Only small material damage was caused by the explosions," police spokesman Christos Manouras told CNN.

Friday's predawn attacks came after a number of recent media reports on Greece's "triangle of power," providing detailed accounts of the strong links among the country's financial and political elite and the media.

The Greek government has condemned the attacks. Spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said they were "an attempt to terrorize the media," which he described "as a vital part of our democracy".

It is the second time the group has targeted journalists. In July, it also claimed responsibility for an arson attack outside a restaurant owned by a prominent Greek journalist.

Greece's international partners agreed on a second bailout program late last year, and gave the government elected in June more time to meet its budget commitments.

But the austerity measures imposed to tackle the country's debt crisis have provoked violent protests in recent months and mass strikes by public and private sector workers.

The Greek economy has shrunk by about a fifth since 2008, adding more than 500,000 people to the jobless total in a country with a population of 10 million. The unemployment rate has more than tripled over the same period and stood at 26% as of September.

      Europe's financial crisis

    • German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble during a session at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on June 25, 2013 in Berlin.

      German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says the eurozone's problems are not solved, but "we are in a much better shape than we used to be some years ago."
    • IBIZA, SPAIN - AUGUST 21:  A man dives into the sea in Cala Salada beach on August 21, 2013 in Ibiza, Spain. The small island of Ibiza lies within the Balearics islands, off the coast of Spain. For many years Ibiza has had a reputation as a party destination. Each year thousands of young people gather to enjoy not only the hot weather and the beaches but also the array of clubs with international DJ's playing to vast audiences. Ibiza has also gained a reputation for drugs and concerns are now growing that the taking and trafficking of drugs is spiralling out of control.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

      Summer could not have come soon enough for Lloret de Mar, a tourist resort north of Barcelona. Despite the country's troubles, it's partying.
    • The Euro logo is seen in front of the European Central bank ECB prior to the press conference following the meeting of the Governing Council in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on April 4, 2013.

      The global recovery has two speeds: That of the stimulus-fed U.S. and that of the austerity-starved eurozone, according to a new report.
    • The flags of the countries which make up the European Union, outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

      The "rich man's club" of Europe faces economic decay as it struggles to absorb Europe's "poor people", according to economic experts.
    • Packed beaches and Brit pubs? Not necessarily. Here's what drew travelers to one of Spain's most beautiful regions in the first place

      Spain's economic crisis is in its sixth straight year yet tourism, worth 11% of GDP, is holding its own, one of the few bright spots on a bleak horizon.
    • Photographer TTeixeira captured these images from a May Day protest in Porto, Portugal, Wednesday by demonstrators angered by economic austerity measures. "People protested with great order, but showed discontent against the government who they blame for this economic crisis," she said. "They want the government to resign and the Troika [European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank] out of this country."

      As European financial markets close for the spring celebration of May Day, protesters across Europe and beyond have taken to the streets to demonstrate.
    • Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic delivers a speech in Mostar, on April 9, 2013. Prime Ministers from Bosnia's neighboring countries arrived in Bosnia with their delegations to attend the opening ceremony of "Mostar 2013 Trade Fair".

      As Croatia prepares to enter the 27-nation European Union, the country's Prime Minister says Italy must return to being the "powerhouse of Europe."
    • Anti-eviction activists and members of the Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH) take part in a protest against the government's eviction laws in front of the Popular Party (PP) headquarters in Mallorca on April 23, 2013.

      Spain's unemployment rate rose to a record high of 27.2% in the first quarter of 2013, the Spanish National Institute of Statistics said Thursday.
    • People protest against the Spanish laws on house evictions outside the Spanish parliament on February 12, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.

      Spain has seen hundreds of protests since the "Indignados" movement erupted in 2011, marches and sit-ins are now common sights in the capital.