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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-03-06

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM sharply raps PASOK over lack of consensus
  • [02] PM receives Euro Ombudsman, Mitsotakis
  • [03] EU Ombudsman in Athens

  • [01] PM sharply raps PASOK over lack of consensus

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday called on main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou to prove that he comprehends the need for a national understanding on the economy, speaking in Parliament during the Hour of the Prime Minister, as he replied to a question tabled by the latter on the impact of the global economic crisis on domestic demand and regarding what he charged was "credit asphyxiation" in the market.

    "The economy, under the weight of the severest financial crisis faced by humanity, at least in its post-war history, is a national cause with capital letters," Karamanlis said, stressing that "whenever we Greeks dedicated ourselves to national goals, we managed quite well, and this is what we must do now, too".

    Referring to the experiences of other countries, such as Spain, Finland and Sweden, "where the social partners and political forces sat together at the table and reached some common positions on the major issues - not on all issues - they avoided serious dangers," he said, adding: "we have, or should have, the obligation to do the same".

    "If the PASOK leader ... realises the need for national agreement, he is obliged to prove it," Karamanlis said.

    The Greek premier stressed that he had not asked for a "carte blanche" from anyone. "I asked for the self-evident, for all of us to accept six fundamental points...a rational framework within which we must forge the country's course for the following years, and for the following governments".

    Referring to a statement by Papandreou after their meeting that Greece needs a change of course, Karamanlis said that "it is monotonous and boring to hear you constantly resorting to unceasing election speculation".

    "This matter is closed. I have clarified that we (ND) do not play with the institutions, that we are not occupying ourselves with election scenarios. I made it clear that we are not considering (early) elections," Karamanlis reiterated, stressing that "our concern, unlike yours, is to limit the repercussions of the crisis ... This is the collective and national interest".

    Papandreou

    Papandreou, in turn, charged that the ND government has failed miserably and added that the country needs a change of course.

    "You are simply trying to cover up your own failures behind the veil of the international crisis. You do not have the confidence of our partners, you do not have the confidence of the Greek people, nor do you have the volition to change course, and the country needs a change of course. ND may have gone bankrupt, but we will not allow you to drive Greece to bankruptcy as well. It is the hour of the people. That is why we need a new beginning, a new government that will emerge from elections; a PASOK government that will take the country forward, with optimism and a plan," Papandreou said.

    The PASOK leader accused the prime minister of passing off his government's blame to the opposition, and charged that the government has no plan for the country's salvation but rather he was planning only for its own salvation and with that, the salvation of the interests it wishes to serve.

    He called on the prime minister to look over the proposals that have been tabled by PASOK, noting that the government could easily implement some of them.

    Papandreou further accused the prime minister of increasing the state debt by 16 billion euros annually and of a sharp rise in state spending.

    In reply, Karamanlis said the PASOK leader was the last person allowed to refer to debts and deficits, since "you took over the state debt at 30 percent of GDP and raised it to above 100 percent of GDP", while the deficit it handed over (to the ND government in 2004) was running at 7.5 percent, while its budget forecast had been 1.2 percent.

    "Is there greater dishonesty and irresponsibility than that?" Karamanlis asked.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] PM receives Euro Ombudsman, Mitsotakis

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held consecutive meetings on Friday with European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros and New Democracy honorary president and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis.

    Diamantouros afterwards said he briefed the prime minister on the European Ombudsman's actions regarding European citizens' rights, within the framework of his meetings with the Greek government.

    In response to a press question on the EU's role amid the current international economic crisis, he merely stressed that the Union made clear that no European country, member or not, that is facing problems will be left alone.

    Mitsotakis did not make any statements after the meeting.

    [03] EU Ombudsman in Athens

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held consecutive meetings on Friday with European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros and New Democracy honorary president and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis.

    Diamantouros afterwards said he briefed the prime minister on the European Ombudsman's actions regarding European citizens' rights, within the framework of his meetings with the Greek government.

    In response to a press question on the EU's role amid the current international economic crisis, he merely stressed that the Union made clear that no European country, member or not, that is facing problems will be left alone.

    Mitsotakis did not make any statements after the meeting.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of EU Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros


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