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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM urges: Turn crisis into a catalyst
  • [02] Tourist Panorama exhibition opens
  • [03] KKE demands measures for youth

  • [01] PM urges: Turn crisis into a catalyst

    Prime ̀inister Costas Karamanlis stressed the need of "turning the crisis into a catalyst" and "proceeding with a second wave of reforms", speaking in parliament on Friday during an off-the-agenda discussion on the youths' rights to education, culture and sports initiated by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga.

    "We need to lay down new, firmer foundations and build, on those foundations, the country's progress and prosperity in the post-crisis period," Karamanlis said.

    Addressing himself to the opposition, the prime minister asked whether "we can promise more than the economy can hold up under, through well-wishing and unreal recipes and polarisation"?

    In such an eventuality, he warned, "we would not be giving a solution, we would not be responding to the citizens' concerns ...We would be alienating the young people and all interest for their participation in public affairs".

    Karamanlis reiterated that the current global financial crisis was unprecedented, noting that every country sets out its own priorities but adding that the collective lesson learned from the crisis was that "in order to once again consolidate security and stability, it does not suffice to simply confront its impact" but it was necessary "to tackle and uproot its causes, to confront the weaknesses that were shown up".

    He stressed that there was only one road to follow in that direction, "the road that responds to what it is that we must change and change it, what must be revised and revise it, what must be reformed and reform it".

    "In these difficult hours that are determinative for the country's future, politics cannot be dominated by petty party expediencies nor exhausted with barren reactionism through monotonous nihilistic 'nos', nor subjugated to the interests of the 'accommodated'. In critical circumstances, we do not have the right to aspire to ephemeral party impressions." the prime minister stressed.

    "We do not have the right to abandon the difficult but necessary decisions in fear of the passing political cost. We do not have the right to 'caress ears' in order to appear pleasant," Karamanlis warned.

    The premier stressed that whoever genuinely cares about the country's problems takes tough decisions that produce social benefit, and whoever cares about the expectations of the young people takes decisions aimed at overcoming the crisis, rather than party expediencies.

    "The global crisis demands realistic and tough decisions," he said, adding that "it requires that policy is not trapped in the past, in populism and irresponsibility" but, rather, that it "seeks and wins a future from within the path of responsibility".

    "That is the only way we can succeed," the premier stressed, while, in a reference to the business community's stance regarding the working people, in the midst of the crisis, he warned that the current conjuncture "cannot be used as a pretence for an unjustified change of the labour relations", adding that any unforeseen problems that may arise can and should be met only within the framework of the law, and following dialogue with the employees themselves.

    [02] Tourist Panorama exhibition opens

    The 14th Tourism Panorama exhibition opened on Thursday its gates for the public at an exhibition centre in northern Athens with exhibitors from Greece, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The Cyclades Islands, and the Prefectures of Laconia and Xanthi will be the honored Greek regions at the exhibition.

    The trade show, which will run until May 10, was first organised in 1996, addressing the roughly four million residents that live in the greater Athens area other Greek regions at a time when they make decisions for their summer holidays in Greece or abroad.

    [03] KKE demands measures for youth

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga stressed that her party's platform for young people is not determined by election or campaign rationales.

    "What we were saying in the past, we are also saying today. What we are saying today, we have also said before the (global) financial crisis. Because the problems were not caused by the crisis. A screen has now been placed on the past by both (ruling) New Democracy and (main opposition) PASOK," the KKE leader said Parliament on Friday during an off-the-agenda discussion on the youths' rights to education, culture and sports, initiated by Papariga herself.

    The KKE's position was one of suggesting measures that confront and ameliorate the problems, as was its duty, she said, and also defended the party's positions against the EU, noting that "the reasons that our country joined (the EU) were purely political", and so are the repercussions on all the popular classes, and especially the youth.

    Papariga stressed the need for measures for the youth, of which "14.8 percent are obliged to abandon school early, in junior high".

    The KKE, she continued, considered it a given fact that the Greek family "can and should live better", meaning that all young people should have work, regardless of whether or not they have completed high school or university -- a five-day work-week of 38 hours.

    "Is that demand excessive? Utopian? Dogmatic? Backward?" Papariga asked. "Is that which we call housing for the people populism? Is it backwardness when we say that the child should be in school and not have to work until the age of 18?" she continued.

    The KKE leader opined that the ability -- both financial and practical -- existed for all the above, but "this is not the case because the capitalistic system undermines everything, and everything is determined by profitability".

    Papariga further stressed the problem of unemployment, with the youth the most hard-hit population bracket, adding that "there is immense insecurity".

    The KKE, she continued, did not want "subsidised unemployed" but was waging its battle within the existing status quo, seeking measures for the students, for 6-hour work with 8-hour pay, for the students of night schools, for a uniform, free education, abolition of what she called anti-education laws passed by the PASOK and ND governments, and measures for young farmers.

    Papariga noted that the KKE submitted its positions a while back, and will give "theme" press conferences on those ahead of the European Parliament elections, while it will also carry on with its struggles against the anti-popular policies, so that the people may decide whether they want an anti-capitalist, anti-monopoly policy or a social-democratic or conservative policy.

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