Greece to be taken to European Court of Justice for its refusal to drop taxes on visiting yachts

The European Commission has announced that it is to take Greece to the European Court of Justice over the tax it imposes on pleasure craft. Port fees have increased dramatically in the last two years, as has the bureaucracy visiting yachtsmen face in Greece.

Despite a previous ruling by the European Court, when the tax was declared equivalent to an import duty and declared illegal, Greece has refused to remove it. Yachts were charged 2,000 Drachmas (approximately ‘3.70) a metre on first arrival, with a penalty of 15,000 Drachmas a metre if a boat left Greece and returned within 30 days. Yachtsmen who refused to pay up had their papers taken from them and were threatened with detention.

Graham Watson, a Liberal Democrat MEP, has been campaigning against the tax and wants the Commission to keep up the pressure on Greece. “This move by the Commission is most welcome. Greece has clearly been in violation of the EC Treaty and this must not be allowed to continue.”