Brussels, 18 September 2008
The Commission considers that the exemptions provided in the Greek legislation constitute a violation the discrimination ban, as well as of the free movement of persons and the freedom of establishment laid down both in the EC Treaty and in the EEA Agreement.
The Commission is of the opinion that Greece may accord more advantageous tax treatment to persons living permanently in Greece and purchasing their first real estate there, compared with those who merely acquire such real estate for investment purposes. This difference in treatment may be justified by promoting acquisition of housing and preventing or at least impeding speculations. However, the same treatment must be granted to all first-time residential buyers who intend to live in the property, whether they are already permanently living in Greece at the time of purchase or not.
On the other hand, the Commission considers that Greece discriminates against non-residents who are not Greek nationals in comparison with non-resident Greek nationals insofar as only the latter are, under certain circumstances, exempt from paying real estate transfer tax in Greece when acquiring a first real estate there.
The Commission's cases reference number is 2007/4319.
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