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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Parliamentary debate on the 2008 state budget begins
  • [02] PASOK leader addresses Parliamentary Group
  • [03] Israeli recognises Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos

  • [01] Parliamentary debate on the 2008 state budget begins

    The Parliamentary debate on the 2008 state budget began on Sunday evening in the presence of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) general rapporteur Marios Salmas stressed that ?the 2008 state budget serves the policy of changes and reforms which started four years ago and implemented to the full are all the important commitments which we undertook before the (general) elections.?

    According to the ND‚s Etoloakarnania deputy, the new budget ?strengthens the social state and the income of the economically weaker individuals with targeted actions and grants, while indicative also of the decisiveness and the government's pace is the immediate tabling and voting in the first three months since the elections of five important economic draft laws which we had announced before the elections. The new system of management of the EU funds of the new program period, the National Social Cohesion Fund, the provisions for the combating of tax evasion, the increases in pensions and the tax adjustments on fuel and real estate are already laws of the state.?

    Salmas criticized the main opposition PASOK party of ?fabricating the fiscal figures," when it was in power and noted that ?we always find before us in the planning of the future the mistakes of the past.?

    He praised Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, saying that the minister‚s effort is bearing fruit. ?All the reports which to date have seen the light of publicity, as the per capita GDP in purchasing power is assessedd to have been increased in relation to the average limit of the ‚15‚ of the EU, while the index of the economic climate in Greece remains very close to the EU average level and exceeds significantly the average in the Eurosone,? Salmas said.

    The Parliamentary debate on the 2008 state budget will come to an end on Friday midnight with a vote.


    Main opposition PASOK accused the government of "shortsighted policies which have led the economy to an impasse and low and medium income earners to asphyxiation."

    Addressing Parliament during the debate on the 2008 state budget, PASOK's general rapporteur Louka Katseli claimed that the government "tries to paint a fausse picture of the Greek economy, beautifying measures that hit low and medium incomes."

    Katseli proposed the reinforcement of infrustrures in the regions through "an increase in public investments, taxation of capital's incomes, broadening of the taxation base, stregthening public enterprises of strategic importance, productive restructurings and targeted motives for the private sector, a turn to a 'green economy' and securing a respectable basic pension."

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis responded to the PASOK deputy saying that the main opposition party "remains trapped in the impasses of its own past."

    "The policies we listened to today are the same policies which had over-indebted the country in the 80's and some of what we heard today had not been heard even then," the minister commented.

    PASOK leader George Papandreou, in response to the minister, said that Alogoskoufis' response "was not a response, it was some of those generalities with which you are trying to hide the truth for the past four years."

    Katseli also charged that the government's "claim that reducing taxation for enterprises leads to productive investments is a myth."

    "In practice, reduced taxes on profits was translated into a profit record of 11 billion euros, mainly for the banks, the social insurance and investor companies, while the only investments that were increased were those regarding houses and construction," she noted.


    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) criticised the government's 2008 state budget terming it a "deeply class oriented and antipopular which will broaden social inequalities in favour of plutocracy and against working people."

    Speaking during the debate on the 2008 budget, the party's rapporteur Nikos Karathanasopoulos said that "hard reality and truth are manifested through Sunday's discussion. That young people, pensioners, broad popular strata have nothing to wait for. On the contrary, this budget as well is yet another instrument for the worsening of their position. That is why they should build up popular barricades and oppose the antipopular policies which are being promoted."

    The KKE rapporteur also attacked the main opposition PASOK party accusing it of applying the "same antipopular policy."


    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) general rapporteur, Yiannis Dragasakis, on the 2008 state budget, spoke of ?an austerity budget for the many, excessive profits for the few and the widening of incomes inequalities.?

    He stressed that ?the target of zero deficit would have meaning if it was incorporated in a broader plan for no unemployment, the combating of poverty and the safeguarding of the viability of social security."

    The SYRIZA deputy added that the new budget ?lacks transparency and credibility, it is based on an over-evaluation of taxation revenue and an under-evaluation of the public expenditures.?


    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) general rapporteur Makis Voridis, speaking in Parliament during the debate on the 2008 state budget,? said that ?the government‚s economic policy is ineffective, with unclear targets.? He also spoke of ?a particular form of reproduction of the bureaucratic state as an apparatus of interests.?

    Voridis noted that the governments of the past years "are unable to deal with the problem of corruption which has a great economic cost for the operation of the public sector,? as well the problem of tax evasion, which, as he said, ?remains unsolved after 14 draft laws.?

    ?The only certain thing is that you (the government), will receive 6.6% more indirect taxes in 2008,? the LA.OS rapporteur added.?

    [02] PASOK leader addresses Parliamentary Group

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday evening addressed the party‚s Parliamentary Group which convened to discuss the 2008 state budget which started earlier in the day.

    ?We shall reveal the forgery of reality attempted by the government with its beautified numbers,? Papandreou said.

    ?PASOK will table its own alternative proposals which show that there is another road for the country, and which has three basic parameters. A new national strategy, which will include the overturning of the existing operation of the political system. A new developmental model. And a new welfare state,? he said.

    Papandreou termed the government as ?incompetent to advance any reform? and accused it that ?instead of reform, it is promoting the service of specific interests and the ‚comfort‚ of its own people. At the same time, the government is systematically undermining every meaning of meritocracy in the public sector and undermines independent authorities.?

    The PASOK leader also accused the government that ?in order to serve its objectives, it is recruiting police violence so as terrorize the progressive citizens.? He also spoke of ?the directing of Justice? by the government "for the impunity of police officers who abuse their authority."

    [03] Israeli recognises Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos

    The Israeli government recognised on Sunday Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, according to A Greek foreigm ministry press release.

    The press release said that Israeli Minister of Pensioners Rafi Eitan, who is also president of a three-member ministerial committee on the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, called on Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis to ask him to convey to Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis that the Israeli cabinet decided during a meeting Sunday, to recognise Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III.

    Kassimis thanked Eitan and welcomed the decision "as a move in accordance with Israel's committments towards the international community and Greece regarding the respect of the pilgrimatic status and of the centuries old privileges of the Jerusalem Patriarchate."

    Kassimis also expressed "certainty that the road is henceforth open for the Patriarchate to respond, with the creative contribution of all, to its sacred mission in the fullest possible manner.'

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