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Greek firms paying price for debt woes

Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - 01:34

Dec. 6 - As Greece prepares to approve its 2012 budget, the country's National Confederation of Commerce warns that 60,000 small businesses closed in the past two years and another 60,000 could fold next year. Joanne Nicholson reports

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Sixty thousand small businesses have closed in Greece over the past two years - and it seems there's worse to come. Just days after another loan installment was approved in exchange for a new austerity programme, the National Confederation of Greek Commerce says a further 60,000 small businesses could fold next year. The group's president says those providing the loans are to blame (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF GREEK COMMERCE, VASILIS KORKIDIS, SAYING: "The report will be translated and sent to the troika so they can see the results of their inspiration - or, in other words, so they can see what they have done to us. Our assessments and predictions tell us 2010 was the year of falling profits, 2011 the year of closures and 2012 the year of uncertainty." On Tuesday the Greek parliament votes on its budget for 2012, which includes heavy tax increases. The leader of the opposition, Antonis Samaras, says changing the tax system to fight tax evasion is only one way to save the economy as the country enters another year fighting to escape recession. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) OPPOSITION LEADER ANTONIS SAMARAS, SAYING: "What we are living through these days is that anyone who can leave Greece, is doing so, and those who cannot survive is closing down. The tax base is shrinking as opposed to widening. And those who cannot leave and decide not to close, are searching for ways to avoid the huge burden of taxes and because of this, tax evasion is increasing." Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has a mandate to make a success of the bailout deal and take Greece to elections in February. And even though most Greeks expect their economic situation to deteriorate, a recent poll showed more than three out of four people still want to stay in the euro. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters

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Greek firms paying price for debt woes

Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - 01:34