This article was published by Al Jazeera International.
Greece’s Syriza government on Wednesday approved a slate of tax sweeteners and handouts worth well over a billion euros, as it tried to boost its popularity days ahead of European Parliament elections.
Opposition parties joined Syriza in voting for a measure that allows tax debtors to schedule their arrears in 120 instalments.
They also supported the government in lowering sales tax on food and restaurants from 24 percent to 13 percent.
More controversial was the government’s handout of a 13th monthly pension to 2.5 million retirees.
Syriza has promised further fiscal relaxation ahead of a general election due by October.
“We have a brand and we have recognition value in Europe. It is a left wing brand and we shall contest the next election as the left and win it as the left,” finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos told parliament.