|Tuesday, 20 August 2019|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-07-02
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 No votes in disasters, human pain, Premier Karamanlis tells ParliamentPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing Parliament on Monday during an off-the-agenda debate on the issue of family economy, referred to the ecological disaster occurring on Mount Parnitha as a result of the forest fire last week, saying that "there are no votes in disasters, or in human pain."
Karamanlis said that "the fire in Parnitha was a wound in our soul" and promised that "wherever there was a forest, there will be a forest:The forests will be restored in their entirety without even a palm's length being lost."
The prime minister also reassured the Greek government's alignment with the rest of the European Union countries on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on the environment.
"While the weather conditions we have faced have no recorded precedent, it is certain that they will continue in the coming years. We were witnesses of the disaster awaiting the planet unless measures are taken, and the environment is among our top priorities," he assured.
"The environment does not only concern the government of the day, it concerns the country, the planet, the citizens, our children. I am confident, however, that the citizens want responsibility and not deadlocked slogans," Karamanlis added.
Referring to the essence of the debate, the prime minister stressed that the New Democracy party government accepts the challenge of its comparison with the previous PASOK governments since, as he said, the reforms it has put on track with the support of a wide social majority are already producing results.
On the contrary, "the main opposition party is insisting on realising its role as barren reaction. It is insisting on distortion and disfiguring," the prime minister further said.
"In the letter with which the main opposition party called for the holding of today's debate, it spoke of a crude redistribution of income. This is disinformation, since the most crudest redistribution took place with the crime of the Stock Exchange. Borrowing by households was increasing during the 2000-2003 period at a rate of 34 percent, while over the 2004-2006 three-year period it decreased to 26 percent," Karamanlis said.
"It is easy for the main opposition party to annul and to speak of a slap from Russia, where national successes are being achieved. If this is not due to the misery of its policy, the main opposition party leader must say what the reasons are," the prime minister noted.
As regards the high cost of living, Karamanlis attributed it mainly to the increase in oil prices from 26 dollars a barrel in 2003 to 73 dollars in 2006, while reminding of the government's initiatives to protect the consumer.
Karamanlis also placed emphasis on social policy measures either taken or scheduled by the government, such as the founding of the Social Solidarity Fund, the increase in pensions paid by the Farmers Pension Fund OGA, the minimum unemployment and social solidarity benefits, the tenfold increase in subsidisation for "tourism for all" programnmnes and the gradual equating of three-children families with large families.
"What has changed over the past three years is for the benefit of the family, even if it is not at the desired level. For as long as problems exist reforms will be necessary. No minority, no establishment can stop the course of changes," the prime minister concluded.
 'PM distant from real problems', PASOK leader saysMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, speaking during an off-the-agenda Parliamentary debate on Monday which was held at his initiative on the family budget issue, accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of "living in a vase and of being distant from the real problems of the Greek people."
Papandreou also reiterated his appeal for early elections which, as he said, will provide the message of prospects for Greece, selecting PASOK and sending New Democracy into the opposition, "because the citizens have realised that they were deceived."
"You are an unreliable governent in all sectors. You are heading for a crushing defeat, both in politics and in elections. Our care is that you will not drag Greece with you," the main opposition party leader said.
Papandreou also referred to the fire on Mount Parnitha, speaking of an ecological disaster and accusing the government of lacking a plan and of incompetence, while criticising the statement made by the public order minister Vyron Polydoras that "the finances of the country do not allow for a preventive policy for forest protection," terming it a "statement of horror".
Also commenting on the appeal made by the President of the Republic for a national policy, Papandreou said "this requires the existence of a reliable government that will cooperate and plan and not carry out a policy of political favours and fiestas for countryside guards."
Lastly, Papandreou said "we heard of a fictitious prospering reality. The citizens, however, are experiencing a reality that hurts. Your statistics might be prospering, but the citizens who are experiencing reality will send the message of prospects in the elections, selecting PASOK which will lead the country forward."
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing the debate called by the main opposition PASOK party, stressed that the worsening of family economy is a fact and is due to the policies followed over the past 20 years.
"The government is placing all the responsibilities on PASOK. And as far as PASOK is concerned, we were having a good life until now and now everything has changed, even the preparatory schools. A good policy, however, requires more time than three years to produce results. And the consequences of a bad policy do not appear immediately," Papariga said.
"The two major parties sacrificed the development course of the processing industry for the benefit of the construction sector. The jobs that were created, however, do not offset the jobs that were lost in the processing sector," she added.
Papariga further said that the programmes of the two mainstream parties also share a common goal "to help sections of monopolistic capital and businesses to withstand competition. All aid was given to these businesses and all closed down because in competition the big fish eats the smaller one. Because, for as long as competitiveness goes on, unemployment will grow and there will be wreckages all around."
The KKE leader also rejected the social policy of both the PASOK and New Democracy parties.
SYN leader Alavanos
Addressing the same debate, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alekos Alavanos reiterated his party's call for the withdrawal of the amendment of article 24 of the constitution concerning forests.
In parallel, he proposed the creation of a United Management Agency in which firemen and forestry officials will cooperate, as well as the creation of a forest registry with a specific timetable.
Alavanos placed emphasis on the issue of environmental protection and on the ecological disaster taking place on Mount Parnitha, referring to responsibilities in coordination, planning and prevention.
Lastly, he also criticised the public order minister, saying that "if Mr. (Vyron) Polydoras dealt less with the Coalition party and more with the fire brigade then the results would be better."
 Theodorakis decorated by Russian FederationWorld famous Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was decorated on Monday with the Medal of Friendship of the Russian Federation at the Russian embassy. The decoration was carried out by Russian Culture Minister Alexander Sokolov on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sokolov termed Theodorakis "the heir of the tradition of great Greek artists from antiquity until today," underlining that the composer's work and life "constitute a magnificent and proud hymn to the ideals of freedom, independence and human honour which were born on Greek land." He also thanked Theodorakis for his contribution to the anti-fascist resistance.
On his part, Theodorakis noted the "particularly pleasant development of Greek-Russian relations which demonstrates the persistence of peoples in the road of cooperation and friendship, the only road that leads to progress and the consolidation of peace."
Referring to the issue of installing anti-missile systems in the Chech Republic and Poland, Theodorakis said that the latest proposals by President Putin "fill us with optimism and hope that there can be, at last, a counterbalance which will put an end to the terrible glissing towards destruction, to which the sole superpower, with its arrogant arbitrariness, is driving humanity today."
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