|Wednesday, 15 July 2020|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-13
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 National duty calls for continuation of reforms, PM Karamanlis tells election rally in ThessalonikiPrime Minister and New Democracy (ND) party President Costas Karamanlis told an election rally in Thessaloniki, central Macedonia, on Thursday evening that "all Greeks together defend and reinforce national interest" and that "it is a national duty to continue at an even faster pace, with even more determination."
"This is the message arriving from all over the country," he said, adding that Greece needed a stable government because "only a stable government can take quick and bold decisions."
"On Sunday you are deciding on the course which the country will follow. I am asking from you a positive option. I am asking you to unite our forces in order to continue the reforms which the country needs," Karamanlis outlined.
The prime minister also addressed a severe warning to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) leadership, calling on it to avoid irredentist propaganda against Greece and to opt for a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the neighbouring country's name.
"If our neighbours (FYROM) really want to move towards Europe, if they really want to join Euro-Atlantic structures, they must avoid actions of irredentist propaganda. They must respect fully the Agreements, they must abandon their intransigent stance, in order for a mutually acceptable solution to the pending issue of the name to be found," Karamanlis emphasised, before noting: "I said it before and I again reiterate that we have developed good bilateral relations, we have a close cooperation in many sectors. But, if they (FYROM) do not abandon provocative actions of propaganda, if they do not show in practice a disposition for a mutually acceptable name, they must know, and they know it well, that with their stance they are putting by themselves obstacles in their way to Euro-Atlantic institutions."
"We have clearly said to all directions, that we are not moving a single step backwards from this position. I say this in simple, clear-cut words. In the 21st century, we peoples can all be winners together. Winners in consolidating peace, in expanding international cooperation, in development and progress. This is our strategy, a strategy that makes Greece a model in the region, strong in Europe and respected in the world," Premier Karamanlis underlined.
Greece rejects the use, by the landlocked republic, of the name 'Macedonia' on the grounds that it serves irredentist designs against the Greek province with the same name. An interim agreement was signed by the two countries in 1995 providing for talks, under the auspices of the United Nations, for the finding of a mutually acceptable name for Greece's northern neighbour. Talks are still going on.
"We have clear-crystal positions, based on principles and values. We serve these positions with consistency, prudence and national self-confidence. We support neighbouring Turkey's European prospects. We made it clear, however, that these prospects depend, primarily, on Turkey itself. Its full accession demands and is conditioned by its full adherence, its complete adjustement to the principles and values of Europe. This also applies for any other case. It certainly applies also for Skopje," the prime minister said.
The prime minister also referred to the energy agreements his government has signed while in office, namely the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline, the Greek-Italian under-the-sea natural gas pipeline, the agreement with Italy and Turkey for the construction of the south European natural gas pipeline, the agreement with Russia and Bulgaria for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and Greece's cooperation with Russia, Bulgaria and Italy for the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline.
He spoke of "important national achievements which upgrade our country's prestige and attract big investments to Greece thus creating new jobs," and enumerated the big projects under construction in northern Greece.
Referring to reforms in the education system, the prime minister committed himself for the revision of Article 16 of the Constitution, thus allowing the operation of private universities in the country.
"We all Greeks know very well what patriotism is: it is the values that unite us, the respect to our traditions, the solidarity to our fellowmen," Karamanlis concluded.
 PASOK leader addresses Athens election rallyPASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed his party's main rally in a downtown Athens square on Thursday evening, ahead of Sunday's general elections, calling for mobilisation and a victory message, saying that "Sunday's election is a referendum for the Right to leave power."
Papandreou used for the first time during the election period the slogan with which he became the party's leader, "George change everything," promising that he will honour the commitments he has undertaken.
Appealing once again to citizens wavering between PASOK and the parties of the Left, he invited them to "a common course and to the victory of the new change." He also summarised the dilemmas contained, according to him, in the elections saying "either a PASOK government or a New Democracy government."
The PASOK leader underlined three main reasons why PASOK should be voted for on Sunday:firstly, for confidence to be secured in every household and in every family, secondly, for hope to exist for the children and the youth of the country and, thirdly, for Greece to have a prospect.
Continuing his address, which was attended by former PASOK prime minister Costas Simitis and Socialist International Secretary General Louis Ayala, Papandreou said "the end of Right-wing governance has come, Athens has decided and PASOK guarantees hope, confidence and prospects."
He further spoke of a "great victory for the democratic party and a victory for all the Greeks," while reiterating that Sunday's vote is very crucial.
Papandreou said that what is at stake "is the course of national issues, the future of the new generation, the cohesion of society, social solidarity, social justice and economic growth, the attitude and ethics of authority and the effectiveness and seriousness of governance."
He said that what is also at stake is "whether Greece will continue to totter and sink in the incompetence of the Karamanlis government or whether it will turn page and achieve the creation of a just society."
Papandreou stressed that now is the time of truth, the time for the new change. He noted that "an end must be put to the anti-Right policy that is deceiving the people and a strong progressive government must be promoted."
PASOK in government, he stressed, "will be a guarantee for employment, for equal possibilities to be provided for all and it will guarantee a strong social state and a just society, democratic institutions and the rights, freedoms and vested interests of every citizen."
The PASOK leader placed the New Democracy party "opposite all the democratic and progressive forces," saying that "no democrat, no progressive, no socialist and no leftist will cede his country's fortune to the Right and will not cede to New Democracy the possibility of ruling contrary to his values and ideas with his tolerance."
Papandreou also said that "what the Right can do is to slip even more to the Right and become the hostage of the far-Right."
He further accused New Democracy of using "deceitful tactics with intimidation and rumours to dampen PASOK's morale".
He also accused New Democracy of speaking of dangers "in its fear of defeat to disorientate citizens" and claimed that "an apparatus exists that disseminates rumours," adding that "this apparatus is the Maximos Mansion, the government's ministers, the basements of Rigillis and salaried parrots of theirs."
Papandreou accused New Democracy of having "a secret agenda for the day after the elections which it is hiding from voters and which includes, among other things, an increase in maximum pensioning ages and a decrease in pensions, the lifting of working people's social security rights, the lifting of the dismissals percentage in the private sector, an increase in VAT to 21 or 22 percent, an increase in indirect taxes and the objective values of real estate, the dissolution of the National Health system (ESY) and of public education and the imposition of a poll tax on small and medium-size property."
The PASOK leader also criticised Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, terming him "a prime minister of interests, of scandals and of cover-ups." He added that the prime minister "is an absent prime minister who is bound and held hostage by those who he is protecting."
Lastly, Papandreou considered the rally as being "the prelude to the victory" in Sunday's elections, adding that it is "the celebration of popular participation and the mobilisation of victory and of the new change."
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