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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-07

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Reforms to continue after 2008 elections, PM tells ruling party MPs

  • [01] Reforms to continue after 2008 elections, PM tells ruling party MPs

    The government's strategy of change and reform will continue after the 2008 elections, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Thursday in his address to a meeting of ruling New Democracy's MPs regarding the 2007 draft budget, which also attended by representatives of the social partners.

    "We have an obligation to dare to make necessary reforms; the reformist strategy is not for the few, it serves the collective interest. The reforms are not based on obsessions and prejudices, the address society in its entirety," the prime minister stressed.

    Pointing to improvements in Greece's main economic figures, such as a drop in the public deficit by five percentage points to below 3%, continued strong growth rates averaging 4.4% in the first nine months of 2006 and a 20% rise in exports, Karamanlis said that the government's economic policy appeared to be on the right track.

    He also underlined a sharp rise in foreign investments and a halt in rising unemployment, which had fallen to 8.8%.

    According to the premier, the year 2007 would be one of intensive and targeted work to complete the reforms already underway and prepare for more in the future.

    Presenting the draft budget for the coming year, he said this was balanced between the goals of growth and social cohesion. He particularly emphasised the second phase of tax reforms that increased the tax-free allowance for wage-earners and pensioners to 12,000 euros a year, so that more than three million Greeks would not have to pay any tax at all. He also outlined modifications to developmental law designed to provide greater support to small- and middle-sized businesses and measures to complete a map on land use.

    The prime minister's went on to list a number of measures and reforms being initiated by the government in a variety of areas, such as new infrastructure, the energy sector, e-government, state administration, education and a new operating framework of state companies and others. In this context, he particularly emphasised the next round of privatisations planned by the government, including the search for a strategic partner for the bourse-listed Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and changes to the banking sector.

    Karamanlis underlined that the government's goal was "development, prosperity and progress in the life of citizens," and that achieving this required a strong economy and the spread of growth to all.

    Finally, he announced plans to introduce legislation that will allow Greeks resident abroad to vote in Greek elections, saying that the measure would apply in the elections after next since he did not want to surprise anyone and the measure needed to be very carefully prepared.

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