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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM:Greece won't turn back to the past
  • [02] FM: Athens' volition to solve 'name issue' strong

  • [01] PM:Greece won't turn back to the past

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday reiterated his government's intent to proceed, unwaveringly, with its reforms policy, "referring to a responsible choice that we will not change or negotiate."

    "Greece won't turn back to the past," he told members of his ruling New Democracy party central committee during an address in Athens.

    In other comments, Karamanlis referred mostly to a second round of reforms for Greece's creaky social security sector as well as to the timely FYROM "name issue".

    Karamanlis again called on the leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to immediately resume negotiations over a mutually acceptable solution to the "name dispute". Referring to a NATO Summit in Bucharest last week, he said Athens is clearly interested in solving the long-standing issue - the only real difference between the two Balkan neighbours - while pointing to continued intransigence by the other side over the years as the primary reason preventing any breakthrough.

    "We have made it clear that no solution means no invitation to NATO, however, FYROM's government did not believe us and remained adamant in their positions. Our position was adopted by the Alliance - the joint communiqué -- and is now a political clause for its (FYROM) accession."

    Reviewing the government's work to date, Karamanlis said critical reforms in the economy and the state were being implemented, as promised.

    "Results have shown that we are on the right course," he stressed, adding that he is determined to move on with other reforms and changes. "The hour of major decisions is now, together we are changing Greece, this era won't forgive inertia and immobility, we are the party that takes major decisions," he told party delegates.

    Moreover, the prime minister attacked the opposition saying, "there is a battle going on amongst them over who will best counter-attack each other's initiatives ⦠we are not going to follow them".

    "The state (Greece's extensive and cavernous public administration) is the real sick man," Karamanlis said, adding that social security reforms were inevitable and fair, providing for a long-term solution to the social security problem and guaranteeing the system's viability for future generations.

    Karamanlis also referring to this past week's college students elections, as he congratulated the New Democracy-affiliated grouping (DAP) for again coming in first in the polls.

    Concluding his address, the prime minister referred to the links between the ruling party and the government, a point over which in the past, when he was main opposition leader, generated stinging criticism against then ruling PASOK.

    "The party does not identify with the government and the state, it supports the government and is a communication link with society ⦠the doors of ministers' offices and public services must be always open to citizens," he said, in an indirect reference to previous criticism by several ND MPs.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during his address to ruling New Democracy party central committee in Athens on Saturday 12 April 2008.ANA-MPA/KATERINA MAVRONA

    [02] FM: Athens' volition to solve 'name issue' strong

    "We will keep trying to reach our goal, which is none other than a composite name with a geographical determinant that will be applied in all cases," Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis reiterated on Saturday, in reference to the FYROM "name issue", this time in front of ruling New Democracy's central committee members.

    "We are absolutely sincere when we say that we will gladly welcome our neighbours into Euro-Atlantic institutions when a mutually acceptable solution is found," she said, while once again echoing Athens' standing position of avoiding a compromise that will leave "winners and losers" or jeopardize, even in the slightest, security and stability in the region.

    She also used Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' repeated statement towards FYROM to stop looking back to the past and end, but to instead consider Greece's overtures of friendship.

    Referring to the NATO Summit in Bucharest, Bakoyannis underlined that Greece's position is now the Alliance's official position for FYROM's accession.

    Finally, she said Athens had successfully carried out an international campaign in order to better brief foreign government and the wider public opinion on this often obscure, for third parties, issues, underlining that these efforts are instrumental in overcoming the other side's intransigence

    Caption: Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis during her address to ruling New Democracy party central committe on Saturday 12 April 2008 in Athens.ANA-MPA/KATERINA MAVRONA

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