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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Economy most urgent national issue
  • [02] Papandreou: 'We shall change so as not to sink'

  • [01] PM: Economy most urgent national issue

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing a rally in Athens on Friday evening ahead of Sunday's Euroelections, stressed that the economy is currently the most urgent national issue and told citizens that "we shall lead Greece forward together."

    Karamanlis also raised the dilemma of "responsibility or irresponsibility" and accused the main opposition PASOK party of "irresponsibility, populism, arrogance, levelling and lacking boldness and a plan to tackle the crisis."

    Referring to the challenge attached to the elections, the prime minister said "the course of our country will be judged in the period that will follow, some are playing with institutions, they are playing with the economy, they are playing with the country's course."

    Karamanlis further said that politics "are faced with two paths. The first is the path of responsibility that leads to collective, social and national interest. It means difficult decisions that produce real solutions. It means seriousness, determination and responsibility."

    "The second path, he added, is the path of irresponsibility that leads to petty-party selfishness. It places the party above all. It provides pleasant but unattainable promises. For this reason, it leads nowhere, it leads to deadlock. It is identified with populism, the lack of boldness and the lack of a plan to manage the crisis."

    The prime minister referred at length to the Siemens case, placing the exclusive blame on the main opposition PASOK party and stressing his confidence in Justice. He added that the unprecedented Siemens case is a scandal for PASOK and the investigation being carried out by Justice is being awaited, while it is inconceivable for PASOK to appear as a critic in a scandal that occurred during its governance.

    "Those who signed programme agreements cannot appear as criticis. Those, in other words, who signed the direct awarding of billions. Nobody can forget their practices. They never probed any scandal and they did not accept the creation of any Factfinding Committee," Karamanlis pointed out.

    Outlining the government's work over the past five years, Karamanlis said that "during the five years that passed, we provided solutions for longlasting problems. We dared to take difficult decisions. We achieved considerable results."

    Specifying the government's achievements, he said "we strengthened the Social State, we reduced public deficits considerably, we curbed unemployment drastically, we boosted security for the younger generations by reforming the Social Security System, we completed the Egnatia motorway, providing a new strategic importance for Northern Greece, we started the construction of big motorways, changing the country's road map, we dared to make international agreements, on oil and natural gas pipelines, that include our country in the international energy map, we applied a new energy policy that paved the way for 'green development' and we gave a final solution to the issue of Olympic Airlines, achieving a benefit amounting to one million euros a day. We also scheduled a solution to the problem of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) that is leaving a daily loss of two million euros."

    Karamanlis also referred to the upsurge in crime and made honourable reference to policeman Spyros Theodorou who died at noon on Friday, saying that "we are grateful to him for his sacrifice and his contribution. Those who exercise easy criticism against the Police, those who are overtly behaving in a populist manner must realise that this is the Police that performs its duty with self-sacrifice. It serves society and stands by the citizen."

    Concluding his address, Karamanlis addressed his audience in a personal tone, stressing that "I believed and I believe in a Greece that will be an ally of all its citizens. We are together for this Greece. We are one. Support it with your vote. You are my strength. Im am aware of the difficulties. We shall face them together. I am aware of the problems on the path to the future. We shall achieve it together. We shall lead Greece ahead together. With confidence in our strength. With optimism over the result. All men and all women together. For Greece. For all the Greeks."

    [02] Papandreou: 'We shall change so as not to sink'

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing a party rally in the city of Iraklio on the island of Crete on Friday evening ahead of Sunday's Euroelections, sent his message to Greeks that on Sunday "we shall change so as not to sink".

    Papandreou said that the vote for PASOK "is a vote for the country to change course, to enter the path of green development, for the fair distribution of wealth, for social justice and cohesion, for a state that places the citizen first and a vote for hope."

    The PASOK leader said once again that "we can change the course of the country together" and urged citizens to participate in Sunday's elections, stressing that "PASOK's victory will be the victory of all the forces of labour and of creation, of the forces of democracy, progress and the Left, a victory of the big social majority."

    Papandreou further said that a vote for the ruling New Democracy (ND) party "will be a vote for those who plunged Greece into crisis, for those who invest in lies, polarisation and slander, for a government and a prime minister who deceive."

    Referring to his policy, Papandreou said that he is determined to go ahead with big changes and to honour the citizens' confidence.

    "I shall only serve you," he said and added that in the citizens' name he "is determined to clash with the big interests and with the corruption that is dissolving the country."


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