Arab Today, arab today ahead of vote greek farmers warn we refuse to be serfs
Last Updated : GMT 22:27:42
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Ahead of vote, Greek farmers warn we refuse to be serfs

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Ahead of vote, Greek farmers warn we refuse to be serfs

Greek farmers are facing a radical income overhaul under the terms of a new international bailout
Mavrothalassa - AFP

Party rallies are drawing crowds in most Greek cities ahead of Sunday's general election, but in the village of Mavrothalassa, deep in the country's agricultural north, politicians would be wise to stay away.

"Political parties have no place here," says Yiannis Panagis, a farm unionist coordinating a tractor protest outside the area's defunct tomato processing factory, shut down due to competition from China.

"After the election, we know we'll have the political system against us. But we will not let them turn us into serfs," he says.

Once part of Greece's tax-privileged classes, farmers are facing a radical income overhaul under the terms of a new international bailout agreed by the leftist government of Alexis Tsipras before his resignation in August.

Their income tax rate is to progressively double to 26 percent from 13 percent currently, their pension contributions will rise, and a vital tax break on fuel will be scrapped.
Yiorgos, a 37-year-old farmer, describes these measures as the "final nail in the coffin" of the Greek agricultural sector.

"I am disappointed and angry. For the first time in my life I don't want to vote," Yiorgos says.
Greek farmers have suffered years of falling prices, but have faced criticism for being over-reliant on EU subsidies and failing to adapt to a changing market.

They mount protests almost every year, blocking toll and border crossings against the rising cost of supplies and the falling price of produce.

To avoid taking sides ahead of Sunday's vote, the protests have been kept local so far.

"We will gather to take decisions after the election," says Stelios Vogiatzis, general secretary of the Panhellenic Farmers' Union.

But the backlash they plan later this year will rival the angry French movement in August that saw highways blocked, foreign trucks ransacked and manure dumped in cities, some warn.
"The French mobilisation will be nothing compared to what we are prepared to do if the new government tries to enforce these tough measures," says 40-year-old sugar beet farmer Zafeiris Kyrgiannakis.

"In a few years, the village will be abandoned. The conglomerates will buy our land and put us to work on it. Is this Europe's plan for us?" adds 43-year-old farmer Thanasis Gegas, a father of two.

"For 20 years, governments and parties have lied to us. Now it seems they want to wipe us out," he says.

"I'm one of the few people who stayed behind in the village. But the way this is going, there will be no young people left."

- Failed to adapt -

Greek farms tend to be run on a smaller scale than some of their European competitors, which analysts say has left them struggling to keep up.

"The Greek agricultural model is condemned to change," says Stavriani Koutsou, a professor of urban and rural sociology at the technical institute of Thessaloniki.

"The average size of a Greek farm is 4.9 hectares compared to over 20 hectares in France. It's difficult to stay competitive in Europe," she says.

But union leader Vogiatzis argues that the new measures are impossible to manage.

"The average farm family earns 12,000 euros ($13,500) a year and with the new tax rates it must pay 6,000 euros. Which family can live on 6,000 euros a year?" he asks.
Farmers remain a key voting group in Greece -- especially for the conservative New Democracy party, which has a clear shot at taking power on Sunday and has jumped to their defence.

Speaking in the agricultural hub of Velestino earlier this month, New Democracy chief Vangelis Meimarakis said he would oppose the tax changes.

"The farmers have given what they can to the national effort... It is unthinkable to accept even tougher measures," Meimarakis said.

His leftist opponent Tsipras has also pledged to renegotiate as much of the bailout as possible to help the country's poorest citizens.

The next Greek government must approve the farmer tax overhaul in October -- or offer credible alternatives -- in return for bailout funds.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today ahead of vote greek farmers warn we refuse to be serfs Arab Today, arab today ahead of vote greek farmers warn we refuse to be serfs

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women
Arab Today, arab today Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions

GMT 17:46 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions
Arab Today, arab today To release new antiques collection

GMT 20:33 2017 Friday ,17 February

To release new antiques collection
Arab Today, arab today Leader Omar Abdel Rahman dies in US prison

GMT 19:00 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Leader Omar Abdel Rahman dies in US prison
Arab Today, arab today Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 22:45 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic
View News in Arabic - Business: قضايا ساخنة
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Porsche reveals new 2018 Panamera

GMT 17:31 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Porsche reveals new 2018 Panamera
Arab Today, arab today Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity

GMT 07:30 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 07:05 2017 Friday ,17 February

Singer Diana Karzon will issue a new album soon

GMT 06:40 2017 Friday ,10 February

MP calls for removing text from Islamic story

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 14:04 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

"Lagom" new Swedish concept in interior design

GMT 12:07 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Bite-mimicking malaria vaccine

GMT 09:03 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Tour guide praises women’s beaches

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 21:42 2017 Sunday ,12 February

Rania al-Ghazali designs candles of bubbles
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday