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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: 'Either we change or we sink'
  • [02] Dutch Dep. Minister tours Samos illegal migrants' centre

  • [01] Papandreou: 'Either we change or we sink'

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, speaking during a televised press conference held at the Zappeion Mansion in Athens on Wednesday, stressed that the slogan and message with which PASOK will be participating in the Euroelections is "either we shall change or we shall sink."

    Papandreou said that what is at stake in the Euroelections is "clear and crucial."

    "Either we shall continue along the deadlocked path of a policy of injustice and inequality, or we shall change course and we shall enter the path of green development with a redistribution of wealth," he said

    He also noted that "in the Euroelections we shall be deciding for Greece, but for the progressive turn of Europe as well, with a strong socialist majority in the European Parliament and for us to promote Greece's strong demanding voice in Europe."

    Papandreou stressed that voting for the ruling New Democracy (ND) party "means voting for those who plunged Greece into a crisis long before the international crisis broke out."

    He described the Greek crisis as a "multifaceted crisis of institutions and values, a social crisis and a political crisis, that heightened with the personal responsibility of (Prime Minister Costas) Mr. Karamanlis when Parliament closed suddenly and led to the writeoff of possible offences by ministers."

    The PASOK leader further said that voting for PASOK "means voting for hope and victory in the Euroelections, it shall be the first step that will lead to the second step, that of securing a majority in the national elections, whenever they may take place."

    Replying to a relevant question, Papandreou predicted that Karamanlis, "in the face of deadlocks, will be forced to go to early national elections long before this coming March with the election of the President of the Republic."

    Papandreou reiterated that PASOK will support Karolos Papoulias for a second tenure at the Presidency of the Republic, provided that he desires this.

    He also underlined that the country needs "a serious and reliable government and not a government that conceals truths and plans new burdens for the citizens after the Euroelections."

    PASOK, he added, is claiming the confidence of the citizens and is gaining it on a daily basis. The citizens, he noted, are realising the crucial nature of the elections and added that with participation "we are taking the situation in our hands, while with abstention we are leaving our fate in the hands of others."

    Referring to the government's criticism over the dilemma of "socialism or barbarism," Papandreou accused the government of making a double mistake. "On the one hand, they do not wish to recognise the problems of the Greek people and say that all is well and the second mistake is that the government attempted to conceal its own problems by using the ordinary ND voter as a shield, whom the party's leadership treated unfairly and in a barbaric manner."

    Papandreou also accused the government that after five years instead of speaking about its work it decided on polarisation.

    The PASOK leader said that this "is its only weapon to conceal lawlessness, covering up and the indigence of the Greek citizens, and this is indicative of where the government currently stands."

    "It cannot oppose the opposition," he added. "If this is the case, let it go into the opposition which is also its natural position and let it make way for Greece to pass."

    On the question of Turkey and the stance that the Greek government must observe in December 2009, when Turkey's progress in its European Union accssion course shall be assessed, Papandrerou accused Karamanlis of "abandoning all the advantages that the country had and giving up his weapons and abandoning the veto in advance."

    He stressed that he supports Turkey's accession course with strict observance, however, of the rules and preconditions that the neighbouring country must fulfill. He said that if elections have been held in Greece by then and PASOK comes to power, the country will take its measures in the event that Turkey does not meet its commitments. "I am saying this so that all can hear, Europeans and Turks," he concluded.

    CAPTION: PASOK leader George Papandreou addressing journalists in Athens on Wednesday. (ANA-MPA Photo)

    [02] Dutch Dep. Minister tours Samos illegal migrants' centre

    The Netherlands' Deputy Justice Minister for immigration issues, Nebahat Albayrak, on Wednesday visited an illegal migrants' reception centre on the eastern Aegean island of Samos.

    "Certainly many problems exist, but we also have many possibilities for cooperation, not only on a bilateral basis, but also within the framework of the European Union between member-states," Albayrak told reporters.

    The Dutch official is heading up an eight-member delegation focusing on the problems that illegal immigration is having on Samos, which lies on a major migrant-smuggling route operating from the opposite Turkish coast.

    "I wanted to see the situation here with my own eyes. I believe that many efforts are being made by the EU. What, however, must be understood a little bit more is the fact that the southern borders of Spain and France have been closed, making it difficult for illegal migrants to enter and this resulted in a tremendous increase in pressure on Greece," the Dutch minister, who held talks on Tuesday in Athens with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, emphasised.

    "The problem is not a Greek problem, it is a European problem, because if one illegally enters Greece one also illegally enters the European Union and the Netherlands," Albayrak added.

    She also said the EU should enhance cooperation with the would-be migrants' countries of origin, whereas efforts should be made for the signing of new agreements for their repatriation.

    On his part, the president of Athens-based Institute of Immigration Policy, Alexandros Zavos, who accompanied the Dutch delegation, said that cooperation was necessary, otherwise, the problem will intensify for all entire Europe.

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