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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK: econ policy 'a recipe for disaster'
  • [02] Farmers stand fast on Crete, in Serres

  • [01] PASOK: econ policy 'a recipe for disaster'

    With yet more criticism aimed at the government's economic policies, main opposition PASOK's political representative for economic issues Louka Katseli stressed in an interview appearing in the newspaper "Realnews" on Sunday that any stability or austerity programme targeting those that were weakest was a "recipe for disaster".

    "Those who fight PASOK's proposals are those who are nice and comfortable with untransparency, lack of meritocracy, graft and closed circles of power," she added.

    Katseli named the prime minister, Costas Karamanlis, as the one chiefly responsible for "the government's dead-end economic policies" and said that Greece was already "essentially under supervision" since international markets were "punishing" the country for its fiscal aberrations and its collapsed competitiveness.

    "Whether or not we are placed under European Union supervision in the strict sense of the term, in other words whether we are placed under the excessive deficit process, is a secondary issue," Katseli claimed.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of main opposition PASOK's headquarters in Athens

    [02] Farmers stand fast on Crete, in Serres

    Amid government appeals that they leave their tractors behind, farmers in Iraklio, Crete on Sunday disbanded their five-day road block at Linoperamata and arranged to meet at the island's port the same evening, in order to take their protest to the capital.

    They plan to board ferries headed for Piraeus in private cars and agricultural vehicles, arriving on Monday morning for a protest demonstration outside the agricultural development and foods ministry, where they will also seek to have a meeting with the minister and present their demands.

    From Athens, Deputy Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis appealed to Iraklio farmers to abandon their plans to bring their tractors to Athens, warning that it would result in traffic gridlock that would turn all of Attica against them.

    "I have no right to say that someone does not have the right to make demands, but they must bear in mind, those that create these things, that they will cause a huge problem and bring the entire society of Attica prefecture against them. For this reason I am appealing that they come as individuals, as farmers, to protest and make demands but not with tractors, not cars, not agricultural vehicles," Markoyiannakis stressed.

    In northeastern Serres at the opposite end of Greece, meanwhile, the tractor roadblock at the Promahonas border crossing with Bulgaria was still going strong as it entered its 14th day, with farmers there determined not to give in. The border remained closed apart for one hour after 6:30 in the morning, when trucks carrying perishable products were allowed through.

    The Promahonas road block was one of the last bastions of the farmer protests apart from the one at Nikaia, on the Thessaloniki-Athens national highway near Larisa, where the farmers of Thessaly finally decided to suspend their mobilisation and depart during a meeting on Sunday afternoon.

    They announced that the road block would end in an organised fashion at 10:00 on Monday morning, and that they would meet against at anniversary of the Kileler uprising on March 15.

    With their departure, the farmers of Serres and Iraklio are the last that continue to reject the aid package offered by the government, on the grounds that the aid on offer is being unfairly distributed, while elsewhere around the country protesting farmers have dispersed and gone home.

    In comments on the aid package of 500 million euros that the government offered farmers to support their flagging incomes, which have been slashed by the collapse of global food prices, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis stressed in an interview with the newspaper "Eleftheros Typos" on Sunday that this was "fully compatible with existing Community regulations".

    "Those trying to undermine Greek positions in Brussels offer a bad service," he added, noting that main opposition PASOK was "the big loser of the agricultural mobilisations" and expressing satisfaction that the majority of farmers had trusted him and left the road blocks.

    The minister also dismissed claims that the compensation offered farmers was based on "geographic criteria", stressing that the only criteria had been the true extent of damage suffered by farmers.

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