German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly called for an easing of tax rates in thrice bailed-out Greece, but without such a prospect affecting annual primary budget surplus targets -- a post-bailout obligation mandated by the country's institutional creditors.
Merkel made the statement in during a brief address at a reception for top Greek businesspeople, hosted at the German embassy in Athens and just before the influential chancellor departed for Berlin.
Merkel, who appeared well-briefed on the latest developments in the country, also cited the need for more reforms in the Greece's cavernous public administration and the thrice recapitalized banking sector.
Among others, the German chancellor spoke with the president of the Hellenic Banking Association, Nikos Karamouzis, the president of the Hellenic-German Chamber of Commerce, M. Mailis, the chairman of Aegean Air, Eftychios Vassilakis, Michalis Chamaz, the CEO of OTE and Cosmote, Mytilenos group president Evangelos Mytilenos and Melina Travlou, the managing director of Neptune Lines Shipping.
According to reports, Merkel's suggestion of lower tax rates came with a warning that this should not come at the expense of fiscal targets, which she said "could" affect the country's creditworthiness at a time when it remained "susceptible".
At the same time, she told business executives that Greece needs "significant investments".
Merkel even offered details, reports state, pointing to efforts to shore up systemic banks' balance sheets by citing the recent merger of Eurobank with Grivalia properties.