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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou gives TV election interview
  • [02] A friendlier state for the citizen, minister says

  • [01] Papandreou gives TV election interview

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou gave his first election interview to the MEGA television channel on Tuesday night, stressing that "we are not only better, I want to prove that we are also radically different," while noting that he wants a strong majority and will form a government of experienced people after the elections.

    Papandreou said that the "risk contained in the elections is great" and underlined that his main concern is to help the country and for this reason he is calling on the citizens to trust him in order to implement policies that are radically different from those of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party.

    At the same time, he sharply criticised Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, saying that "it has been proved that he is inadequate for this country" and that "he is not suitable for the post he holds."

    Papandreou further said that he initially wanted to give opportunities to the Karamanlis government, taking criticism from his own party, but the "government not only rejected the offer but did not even build on what PASOK had left."

    However, the main opposition party leader expressed confidence that the people will think of the future of the country in front of the ballot boxes and will go to the polls with the logic that says that there must be a change.

    As regards the issue of wildfires, Papandreou said that PASOK has presented an integrated proposal, while referring to the 3,000 euros being given, he termed them "fares to enable the wildfire-stricken to emigrate to another region of the country."

    On the question of funding for this plan, Papandreou said that, first of all, "the people would not say no if we requested a sacrifice from them" and further said that the money can be found in what the government is losing from the Third Community Support Framework, which he estimated as being 2.5 billion euros, "from about 2 billion euros that we have to give back due to the increase in GDP, and which the PASOK government will claim, and from extraordinary funding from the European Union's Solidarity Fund which is about 5 billion euros."

    Assessing the results of opinion polls in which Karamanlis is ahead, the PASOK leader spoke of "a government that is functioning like a television station with comedies and tragedies" and stressed that "politics is not a beauty contest."

    Commenting on the government that he will be forming if he wins the elections, Papandreou said that it will combine experience with innovation, while adding that he will be announcing its structure before the elections.

    Focusing on a possible defeat for PASOK, he said that his problem is not himself but the future of the country and this is also the "bar" set by PASOK. However, he pointed out that it is inconceivable for him that "the people will reward ND after all that has taken place."

    Papandreou called for a strong majority and did not rule out the possibility of cooperation with forces of the "traditional Left." At the same time, he rejected the possibility of cooperation between PASOK and ND, in accordance with the "German model," stressing that "Greece with New Democracy has nothing to do with the seriousness of the Christian Democrat party of Germany. If we spoke of a serious party..."

    [02] A friendlier state for the citizen, minister says

    Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Tuesday that the government is capitalising on the experience obtained during the days of crisis to incorporate it in daily life, with the aim of achieving a state that will be friendlier towards the citizen.

    The minister further said that what the weaknesses were, is something that is being examined and to what degree were they observed, to enable procedures to be simplified and for the citizen to be served speedily.

    The axes will be the submission of a formal declaration and more so in the citizen's transactions with the state, the further decrease in signatures and documents within the administration and the recording of the experience obtained from the operation of the line 1555.

    Roussopoulos also said that line 1564 is already operating as a telephone centre for serving citizens, through the interior ministry on issues concerning the citizen and public services.

    The minister went on to say that aerial photos of farmland are being taken since February this year, and at the same time identification with their owners, that will be completed by 2008, to enable farmers to have immediate service.

    Moreover, he revealed that the accounts of 26,077 farmers and stockbreeders have been credited with 37 million euros, while 48,925 Greek citizens have already been compensated with the amount of 185 million euros.

    The 1555 line has received 172,074 calls, of which 49,901 from citizens requesting information on measures being implemented and 122,173 concerning offers from citizens and from businesses.

    Lastly, he thanked Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos for his contribution to the wildfire-stricken and to the regions affected and welcomed the European Parliament's resolution on "natural disasters."


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