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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-09-21

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: need for immediate measures in economy
  • [02] PASOK leader proposes three axes on economy

  • [01] PM: need for immediate measures in economy

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reiterated the need during a televised debate with party leaders on Monday evening, in view of the October 4 general elections, for the necessary, although unpleasant, measures to be taken immediately to tackle the economc crisis and to avoid worse in the future.

    Karamanlis said that in 2004 "a great effort was made to tidy up the public sector and expenditures, which resulted in the deficit decreasing from 7.5 percent to below 3 percent. The effort was made and this decrease took place for this reason."

    The prime minister further said that due to the international economic crisis there was an increase in public expenditures and for this reason it is necessary for measures to be taken now.

    He added that the question is "shall we take the necessary measures now, or shall we remain with wellwishing and the pleasant measures that the main opposition (PASOK) party is proposing."

    The prime minister said "the path of responsibility necessitates the taking of measures to handle the public debt."

    Karamanlis said that the country has the ability to exit from the crisis and stressed that Greece is experiencing the economic crisis less intensively than other countries. "However, it is necessary that the fiscal debts inherited from the past should be handled."

    Summing up, the prime minister said that "a considerable effort was made, reforms were carried out, on some issues we did not move speedily enough, a great deal has yet to be done, we must make certain dificcult policies and make them now. On some issues we must move faster."

    "Let's be sincere. The citizens have honoured me twice. It is time that we take decisions as a people. I ask for the confidence of the citizens on the basis of this sincerity," Karamanlis added.

    Foreign policy

    Focusing on foreign policy issues, the premier stressed that his party supported Turkey's European orientation "to the degree that it shall fulfill all, but all its commitments towards the European Union."

    "A Turkey that has assimilated the European rules is in the interest of all its neighbours and of Greece," he added.

    Asked whether Turkey has fulfilled its commitments, the prime minister said "because, precisely, it has not fulfilled them, Greece has made its demands part of the European demands."

    He added that "Turkey is being judged and indeed a focal point of its evaluation is the coming December," when the neighbouring country's EU accession course will be assessed.

    Karamanlis also mentioned that Greece has two considerable successes: "Firstly that it joined allied planning, an exercise on the Ai Stratis island and, secondly, with regard to illegal immigration which, apart from internal measures, we have made EU policy with Turkey being the main recipient."

    The prime minister further stressed that it is a mistake to say that "Turkey has closed all its fronts with other countries. Its biggest front is in the east."

    Referring to Greek-US relations, he said that "we are allies with the US and we must have relations of cooperation. I saw (U.S. President) Barack Obama and a visit by me to Washington was pending, which would place things again in a relation of close cooperation."

    Karamanlis stressed that the American government had a different opinion in Bucharest on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), that wanted its accession to NATO, and "we had a different position and convinced the rest of the partners."

    Lastly, the prime minister referred to the energy pipelines, stressing that Greece is proceeding with national interest as its criterion and not the interest of any third party.

    [02] PASOK leader proposes three axes on economy

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, speaking during the televised debate of party leaders on Monday evening and responding to the question where will his party get money from and how will it negotiate in Brussels, said that "Mr. (Prime Mnister Costas) Karamanlis was pleasant for the few and powerful and unpleasant for the few."

    Papandreou said that "he (the premier) created debts for the state amounting to 100 billion and did not absorb two EU programmes to the extent that was necessary, while the second supervision was imposed before the crisis. Therefore, the question is not only where shall we get the money from but also where did the money go."

    The PASOK leader further said that "the money went to clientele extravagance, untransparency and corruption" and stressed that he is determined to clash with these phenomena.

    Papandreou presented three axes in his economic policy, the tidying up of the state, redistribution through the tax system and growth, mainly through "green development."

    He further spoke of "toning up the market with a realistic programme in the fiscal framework being left by the Karamanlis government."

    Asked whether PASOK will borrow or will tax if it succeeds in persuading EU finance commissioner Joaquin Almunia, Papandreou said that first of all he has "personal contacts with the Commissioners and Mr. (EU commission president Jose Manuel) Barroso" and pointed out that PASOK's programme that anticipates tidying up and growth and the toning up of the economy coincides with what the Commission has said.

    "We shall go to negotiate on this basis, we know and I know how to make negotiations," Papandreou said and set a duration of three years for a decrease in the debt and the country's development.

    Foreign policy

    Addressing foreign policy issues, Papandreou said that Greece "has lost its prestige on the international scene" and accused the government, with regard to Turkey, of "losing two considerable opportunities and of abandoning the right of veto, when the issues that were related to the continental shelf, flights and violations over the Aegean and the issue of Cyprus, could have been raised and us to negotiate toughly to get it over with."

    Papandreou stressed that if PASOK comes to power "it shall not abandon the right of veto to Turkey's European course in December."

    He also said that he was opposed to the antimissile shield, "while the government was positive during Bush's term" and is opposed to the installation of missiles in the region of the Southeastern Mediterranean.

    On the question of relations with Russia, Papandreou said that "I have worked with the Russians on Kosovo, jointly shaping a text on which the integrity of Serbia was based," while about the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline in particular, he said that "it started during our (PASOK's) tenure and I hope that it will come to an end during our tenure, however negotiations are continuing and certain points require renegotiating."

    Papandreou said that there was no displeasure from Russia "and I know this from the Russians."

    Regarding relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the PASOK leader said that "if there is a promotion of a solution there is no reason for a veto," reminding that "PASOK set the 'red line' and supported the government."

    Lastly, referring to Greek-US relations, Papandreou said that with his government relations will be in the interest of Greece.


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