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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-17

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Five-day debate on 2009 state budget begins

  • [01] Five-day debate on 2009 state budget begins

    The five-day discussion on the 2009 state budget, that will come to an end at midnight on Sunday with a rollcall vote which constitutes a vote of confidence for the government, began in Parliament on Wednesday in the presence of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou and with reference to the recent events prvoked by the killing of a 15-year old student.

    The first general rapporteur to take the floor, ruling New Democracy (ND) party Larissa Deputy Costas Agorastos, expressed his sadness over the youth's death and, on the occasion of the "unacceptable events that followed", said that "in crucial times there is no place for seeking petty partisan gains."

    Agorastos referred to the "multilevel struggle" being waged by the ND government to tackle the big economic and social problems "left behind by yesterday", criticising PASOK that "instead of realising its responsibilities it is applying itself to exercises of deadlocked populism, exercises of wellwishing and to vague talk."

    While PASOK had the possibility, it did not even make a minimum proposal on the reformation of the budget, because there was no substantiated proposal, Agorastos said.

    According to the rapporteur, the policy being applied by the government with the 2009 budget as well is the best possible response in the framework of the difficult international situation that has been shaped.

    He stressed that the government has two options: to continue necessary reforms, sidestepping the temporary cost, so as to consolidate a more secure perspective for all citizens, or to leave problems untouched, to worsen and to be led to deadlocks in the face of which no one will be able to choose solutions.

    FinMin

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis said in an address during the discussion that "tax conscience is social conscience" and called on all sides not to waste strength in domestic disputes in the middle of an international economic crisis.

    "PASOK created the huge debt that currently constitutes a great burden for the Greek economy, PASOK led the economy to low competitiveness, PASOK led Greek society to the biggest percentage of unemployment after the transition to democracy," Alogoskoufis stressed and pointed out that in the days of ND unemployment dropped to 7.4 percent from 11.3 percent in 2004.

    The minister also noted that the international economic crisis is highlighting the steadfast structural weaknesses of the Greek economy, while adding that the 2009 budget is difficult "because the conjuncture is very difficult as well."

    Main opposition PASOK party general rapporteur Christos Papoutsis spoke on his part of a budget that "is bringing desperation and hopelessness for citizens" and predicted that "the government is counting days" and that "the people will be speaking soon."

    Papoutsis said that the government is using the international crisis "as an alibi for the country's tragic deadlocks" and disputed the New Democracy party's possibility of convincing that it will guarantee incomes and investments since for five years "they have been bowing with 'Mount Athos respect' to neo-liberal doctrines."

    The rapporteur further said that there is a great lag in budget revenues, that the risk of supervision is returning and that the only shield for the economy is the country's participation in the EMU which is "an achievement of the governments of PASOK."

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general rapporteur Nikos Karathanasopoulos spoke of an "antipopular, class-oriented, tax-imposing budget at the expense of workers" and claimed that the international economic crisis "is a capitalist crisis which is aggravating workers' problems and it is that which is leading social groups, and young people in particular, to mass demonstrations."

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) general rapporteur Panayiotis Lafazanis said the budget is imposing a "tax tsounami" exceeding 7 billion euros which, instead of tackling the crisis, will ignite it even more, just as it will ignite great social outbursts and stressed that "Greece needs a new progressive development course with a new socialism as a horizon, distant from the failed authoritarian doctrines of real socialism."

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) general rapporteur Costas Aivaliotis spoke of a "ghost budget" that is charecterised by extremities and noted as an "extremity" that "7.1 billion euros are being sought in new taxes in conditions of a stormy crisis, while at the same time state extravagance is not being curbed, public investments are decreasing and tens of thousands of new employees are being hired."


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