|Thursday, 14 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-28
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Gov't achieved important results in foreign policyPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking during a televised debate between party leaders on Thursday evening and referring to foreign policy said that his government has achieved a series of considerable results in this sector, stressing that Greece supported Cyprus over the issue of the Annan plan in accordance with the will of the overwhelming majority of the people of Cyprus. He added that it raised a veto at the NATO Alliance regarding the accession of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in a case that required "boldness and courage".
Karamanlis also referred to the important energy agreements that the government has made, "agreements that make Greece an energy corridor," the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, the South Stream natural gas pipeline and the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline.
Referring to economic policy, the premier placed emphasis on reforms and mentioned the change in the framework regarding joint ventures between the public and private sectors, educational reform, the reforming of the social security system, the new land planning framework, the privatisation of the Olympic Airlines company and the longterm leasing of the port of Piraeus, while adding that more reforms were necessary.
On social policy issues, Karamanlis said that "despite the fact that we are experiencing a big economic crisis, the government is doing all that it can to support low wage earners and pensioners."
The prime minister admitted that delays exist in payments by the state but added that "what is certain is that money is not being lost." He also said that the government has increased the EKAS allowance, the minimum salary has been increased and the unemloyment benefit has been increased from 300 to 460 euros.
Referring to the issue of education during the televised debate, the premier said that the draft law on universities is being implemented "despite furious and undemocratic reactions," adding that changes are also being promoted in second stage education to enable the examinations system to change.
As regards the environment, the premier said that the environment is a great priority that must not be served with words but in practice and underlined that the government is promoting renewable energy sources and has reduced by 90 percent the number of 4,000 illegal landfills that it had received.
 PASOK leader at televised debateMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, speaking during a televised debate between party leaders on Thursday evening and referring to foreign policy, said that Greece must protect the human rights of all and not let others do it and accused the government of "laying down arms in the face of Turkey in 2004, 2005 and 2009, resulting in Turkey taking us for granted."
On economic policies, Papandreou said that "the planet must change its growth model and I want Greece to be in the lead in 'green development' for which we have an integrated political proposal that includes, among other things, reconstruction, recycling and renewable energy sources everywhere."
Referring to social policy issues, the main opposition leader said that "I do not have a weakness for the Swedish social state model, I have committed myself for a social state which is not merely a moral issue, but also an issue of growth. I also speak about the existence of rules in labour relations."
On national education issues, Papandreou said that "I have experienced the situation, I am aware of the problems," while refering to the funding of education with 5 percent of GDP and the linking of education to "green development" and new professions.
On environment issues, the PASOK leader said that he has ascertained from his contacts worldwide that ecological conscience is developing and raised the issue of "green development or barbarism, unless we go to another growth model."
 KKE, Syriza, LA.OS. leadersCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said that "if we adopt whatever the European Union says we would be in contrast with the working people" and added that in Greece there has been no referendum neither for the Maastricht Treaty nor for any other treaty.
Referring to economic issues, Papariga wondered which party pays the tax authorities, adding that none did, while businesses paid. She further said that parties' finances should be checked by their own institutional bodies.
The KKE leader said that "when pensions are in danger we cannot refer this problem to socialism," adding that her party had tabled its proposals in Parliament. She also spoke of "profits by entreprises amounting to billions which should be taxed."
She aslo called for equal, modern, high level, public and free education, adding that the examinations issue cannot be solved unless many other problems are resolved.
Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) President Alekos Alavanos said that "today amidst the terrible crisis, in the European Union the complete unaccountability of big capital has prevailed and the casino economy and banks do what they please."
Alavanos also said that "the problems facing shops are due to the big stores that violate the law and this is a problem that they are facing on a daily basis."
He added that the economic situation in Greece is explosive, there are unemployed people with 15 euros as a bonus per day, pensioners of the Farmers Insurance Fund (OGA) with 10 euros a day and a new generation of unemployed, rented working people, part timers, uninsured and those receiving receipts for providing services.
Regarding education and youth issues, Alavanos said that "we are proud to have stood by the side of young people, this constitutes a legacy and an achievement," while noting that the mass media and the political forces should also listen to youth and the problems they are facing.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis expressed support for the holding of a referendum to enable the Greek people to decide whether they desire Turkey's accession to the European Union.
Karatzaferis, asked why he gave consensus to the prime minister on the issue of the economy, said "in a period of crisis this is the stance dictated by responsibility."
He aslo called on political leaders to hold a Parliamentary debate on the issue of immigration, adding that illegal immigration constituted an important probleme touching the country's economy and other sectors of social life.
Karatzaferis said, on the issue of education, that alien pupils must not exceed 30 percent of pupils and pointed out that the British prime minister who epressed this "is not considered as being extreme."
 Indonesian Assembly chairmanPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received Thursday visiting Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly Chairman Hidayat Nur Wahid and noted that he was ?following with great interest the progress made by his great country.?
Papoulias also thanked him for Indonesia‚s position on issues of Greek interest such as the Cyprus problem, the Islamic Conference and the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), expressing satisfaction because Indonesia plays an important role in the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN.
The president of the Indonesian parliament expressed the belief that the exchange of views between high ranking officials of the two countries will further strengthen bilateral relations.
Parliament President Dimitirs Sioufas also received Hidayat Nur Wahid, at the head of an Indonesian delegation. The meeting was carried out in a warm climate with references to Alexander the Great, while Wahid invited Sioufas to carry out an official visit to Indonesia.
Sioufas thanked the Indonesian Assembly for its positions on Greece's name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and for its stance on the Cyprus issue, stressing that they were greatly appreciated by the Greek Parliament and Greek people.
Wahid noted that Greece was very well known in his country, through the ancient philosophers like Socrates and Plato, while the grave of Alexander the Great was rumoured to exist in the northern regions of Sumatra.
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