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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] PM:'We continue along path of reforms'

  • [01] PM:'We continue along path of reforms'

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking in an interview with the MEGA television channel on Wednesday evening, stressed his determination to continue along the path of reforms to enable the country to be rid of the burdens keeping it back.

    Karamanlis said that a responsible and steadfast policy is required "to enable us to exit from the crisis," adding that the Euroelections are a very serious issue and noted that statements by main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou that the elections had a referendum character were "slogan talk lacking a content or oversimplifying".

    He further said that the Euroelections are a serious issue because the role of the European Parliament and of the European course is important. He also said that since a government and a prime minister are not being elected, a slacker vote is usually observed "but this does not mean that the election struggle does not have a serious political content and that I do not attribute exceptional importance to it."

    The prime minister further said that he is aiming at victory and mentioned that "I do not believe that we shall have a defeat or great condemnation" and that there is no question of popular acceptance for the government to continue, stressing that he had won the Euroelections with a considerable margin in 1999 and this fact did not raise such issues.

    Karamanlis went on to say that he is not preoccupied with, or is there the possibility of his withdrawal, saying that what is more important is "how we shall push the country out of this crisis as unscathed as possible. So, I feel both vibrant and strong to continue to struggle."

    He further said that he had no intention or aim of going to the polls in autumn and criticised main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou over the slogan of "socialism or barbarism", saying that it was "unsuitable and a fault".

    Karamanlis accused the main opposition party of permanent refusal, giving as an example the constitutional revision and the issue of non-state-run universities, which PASOK refused, the environment, greater transparency in the financing of parties, the overcoming of the rigid principle of permanent status for civil servants.

    Replying to criticism over "the closure of Parliament," the prime minister said that Parliament closes every year and in the case in question the Euroelections were lying ahead and there had to be ample opportunity for election dialogue.

    He also said that all the issues that were brought to Parliament were examined and in many cases a factfinding or investigatory committee was created. There was no pending issue for one to be able to say that it was closed speedily because the writing off of something had been being attempted at the time.

    Karamanlis said that the Vatopedi issue was a serious case, stressing that it was a case that was developing for years and that theoretically or superficially it did not appear to have something reproachable.

    "Along the way we see that there were ulterior and scandalous aims and, of course, mistakes on the part of the public sector. For this reason I made my self-criticism as well. In any case, the country's prime minister must by definition assume the responsibility for whatever goes wrong," he said.

    Asked whether people who have provoked public sentiment will be included in the New Democracy party's tickets in national elections, Karamanlis said that "all are judged and assessed on a daily basis from acts, actions, their contribution, their attitude and their activities in general".

    He added that all this is evaluated and the time comes when the lists are prepared and are taken into consideration by all of the party's bodies and ultimately by the party's president.

    Karamanlis insisted on the reforms, expressed his determination to continue along this path and also referred to the social security issue and mentioned that reform regarding heavy duty and unhealthy work will forge ahead and to incentives for voluntary further stay at work.

    Lastly, Karamanlis reiterated that he is not planning new taxes, but clarified that "if we see in two, three or five months that conditions are changing we shall also discuss tax revenues."

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