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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-19

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Strike at Athens metro on Thursday
  • [02] FinMin:There are no easy solutions
  • [03] Interview : Govermnent's spokesman

  • [01] Strike at Athens metro on Thursday

    The Athens Metro will be not working on Thursday due to a 24 hour strike. The metro staff is demanding the signing of a new collective labor agreement.

    The metro employees will convene on Thursday to decide whether they will continue their strike on Friday.

    [02] FinMin:There are no easy solutions

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis spoke extensively on the global financial crisis and its effects, while also outlining the government's policy aimed at limiting its impact in Greece, during a meeting Wednesday of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's parliamentary group on the theme "International financial crisis: Challenge of responsibility for everyone" chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Alogoskoufis said that there were two "schools of thought": that of the easy solutions and populism, and that of seriousness and responsibility.

    "We are following the path of seriousness and responsibility. We know the problems and will do everything possible to solve them, but we also know that there are no easy solutions -- those put forward by the opposition", Alogoskoufis said, adding that such irresponsible policies had pushed the state debt "to 100 percent".

    Lack of seriousness and populism have been proven, in the past, to entail an immense cost for the economy and the citizens, the minister said, stressing that 12 billion euros were required annually to service just the interest of the state debt.

    "We cannot allow the efforts of the last five years to be lost. We will do everything possible, in the framework of fiscal discipline, and all those who react to these truths either don't understand, or pretend not to understand, this reality and do so for petty political reasons," Alogoskoufis warned.

    Alogoskoufis further referred to the European Commission forecasts, and to the forecasts for the Greek economy.

    He stressed that the forecasts for the Greek economy were better, for all the indices, than those for the other European economies, adding that this fact also affirmed the correctness of the economic policy being applied by the ND government.

    The government, he added, was not complacent, nor would it change policy.

    He noted that the position of economy minister required a great degree of responsibility. "We all would like more resources in order to reinforce those who have need. But we cannot overlook what resources we have at our disposal," Alogoskoufis added.

    The minister particularly stressed the need for further reduction of the state debt, which he called the "Achilles' heel" of the Greek economy, which he said the government had inherited in 2004 at 100 percentage points of GDP and has brought it down to 90 percentage points of GDP today.

    Turning to the measures taken by the government to limit the effects of the crisis, Alogoskoufis said that "we are being slandered by the opposition and some representatives of the social partners that we are giving away 28 billion euros to the banks. If we were giving away that money, they (the banks) would not be so hesitant (to join the bailout program) and all the banks would have immediately come running".

    "That is the truth," Alogoskoufis said, adding that the 28 billion euros plan aimed at supporting the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).

    [03] Interview : Govermnent's spokesman

    Government spokesman Evangleos Antonaros elaborated on issues concerning elections, the government programme and its priorities in an interview with ANA-MPA. "National elections are not close at hand," stressed Antonaros, adding that there is plenty of time ahead for the government to implement its pact with the people, noting that reforms which, a few years ago seemed impossible, have already materialized. As regards the likelihood of a government reshuffle, he reiterated that this is the prime minister's exclusive privilege. "The government priority is to improve living standards for the people, with focus on the real economy," he said, stressing that a comprehensive plan that has been drawn up to ensure liquidity will soon be brought to parliament for approval. "The government has proved in practice that it adopts substantive measures for those who are in greater need," Antonaros stressed, referring to raises in pensions and benefits for low income earners. He also mentioned the tax exemptions adopted and the sum of 170 million euros earmarked for the financial support of the farmers who are faced with income reduction due to the unexpected drop in the prices of farm goods. The main opposition PASOK party has no right to accuse the government of failed economic policy, Antonaros said, pointing out that in 2004, when the ruling New Democracy (ND) party took over, the economy was faced with huge deficits, debts and high unemployment. "The ND government took measures to cut deficits from 7 percent to less than 3 percent while maintaining the growth rate as high as possible and keeping unemployment down," he said, stressing that it was reduced from 11 percent to 7 percent. As regards the Euro-elections, Antonaros expressed certainty that winning is a feasible goal for New Democracy.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of government's spokesman Evangelos Antonaros


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