Greek parliament approved this week a permanent reduction by 30 percent in VAT (Value Added Tax) applicable to five Eastern Aegean islands.
Greek lawmakers passed the revised bill tabled by the development & investments ministry by majority vote with the new VAT tax reduction to go into effect on the islands of Leros, Lesvos, Kos, Samos and Chios, islands which have also been impacted in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic by the ongoing refugee crisis.
Under the law, as of 1 July 2021, VAT rates on these islands will be reduced by 30 percent on condition that they continue to host migrant reception and hospitality facilities for third country asylum seekers or refugees.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday, Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the regulation would apply to the listed islands as long as they continue to host refugee accommodation infrastructure.
“Despite reduced flows today, the expanded capacity of these structures is aimed at managing unstable future factors. In this context, the government has sought and succeeded in extending the reduced VAT rate to these five islands on a permanent basis,” he said.
The reduced VAT measures for Greece’s refugee-hit islands was first introduced in 2018 and was renewed every six months after assessment. “This procedure will no longer apply,” the minister said.