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Greek Parliament Weighs Property Tax Amid Protests


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


Sylvia, good morning.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Good morning.

GREENE: So this new property tax, if it is approved, would come on top of a slew of other tax hikes and wage and pension cuts. I mean, how deeply would this new tax dig into people's pocketbooks?

POGGIOLI: And you know, there's just lots and lots of strikes - a transport strike yesterday, one today. And even the police held their own protest on Monday, unfurling a giant black banner with the words: payday, day of mourning.

GREENE: Wow. As I understand, even tax inspectors were going on strike, which is pretty incredible.

POGGIOLI: That's right.

GREENE: Well, with all this strong public opposition, I mean, is there a chance that parliament might, you know, cave to the pressure from the public and vote against this tax?

POGGIOLI: International pressure is incredibly intense. Yesterday, an E.U. spokesperson said in Brussels, we are at the moment of truth for Greece. This is the last chance to avoid the collapse of the Greek economy. The criteria must be fully met in order to allocate the funds. Pretty ominous words.

GREENE: Well, we know that the E.U., the IMF, pulled out its inspectors earlier this month out of frustration with the Greek government. I mean, what is the relationship right now? Does the Greek government seem to be cooperating now with the international lenders?

POGGIOLI: In fact, I learned just recently that Greece is the country that bought the largest number of German-made Porsche Cayenne SUVS. And in honor of that, the grateful German company presented, with great fanfare, one of its newest models here in Greece.

GREENE: Thank you, Sylvia.

POGGIOLI: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.
Sylvia Poggioli is senior European correspondent for NPR's International Desk covering political, economic, and cultural news in Italy, the Vatican, Western Europe, and the Balkans. Poggioli's on-air reporting and analysis have encompassed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the turbulent civil war in the former Yugoslavia, and how immigration has transformed European societies.