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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-15

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Party leaders consider heated issue of corruption
  • [02] FinMin in Berlin, Paris

  • [01] Party leaders consider heated issue of corruption

    Tackling corruption was the focal point of a political party leaders' meeting at the presidential mansion on Tuesday, chaired by President Karolos Papoulias and following a proposal by Prime Minister George Papandreou, a gathering that the former termed as a "national matter".

    In opening the session, Papoulias said Greece's political leadership owes it to the next generations to undertake major institutional and cultural changes.

    The meeting was attended by Papandreou, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) President George Karatzaferis and Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras.

    On his part, Prime Minister George Papandreou appeared upbeat and positive as he left the first meeting of political party leaders, chaired by Papoulias, saying the results of the meeting were significant.

    The prime minister noted that many of his own proposals were accepted by the leaders of the political parties, while he was prepared to look positively on some of the proposals made by the opposition party leaders.

    He also emphasised that ruling PASOK, even before the elections, had raised the issue of corruption as a key issue for the country's political life, which needed a new sense of trust and reliability.

    We have to strike at lawlessness and inequality, which creates corruption and strikes at the country's credibility, as well as leaving the Greek people out of pocket, he stressed.

    Samaras, meanwhile, also appeared satisfied at the outcome of the meeting, confirming that he agreed with Papandreou's proposals and vice-versa.

    He cited the example of the regime governing ministers' liability, calling it a good step forward.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga, meanwhile, cited the issue of political parties' funding, something she said was brought up by Papandreou. Papariga again underlined that her party will not publicise the names of its cadres and supporters.

    "Monitoring public sector expenditures is one thing, the shamefulness of parties' campaign spending is another thing," she added.

    LA.OS leader George Karatzaferis requested more such meetings on a regular basis.

    Finally, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) head Alexis Tsipras cited reforms in ministers' liability, campaign spending and public sector procurements, among others.

    [02] FinMin in Berlin, Paris

    Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou on Tuesday held meetings with his German and French counterparts in Berlin and Paris.

    Papakonstantinou expressed his satisfaction over talks with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schauble, which focused on an analysis of measures announced by the Greek government on Monday aimed at cutting the country‚s fiscal deficit and ensuring an economic recovery.

    Speaking to Greek reporters, Papakonstantinou reiterated that the country‚s biggest problem currently was a loss of credibility and stressed that a tour of European capitals was aimed at offering a personal briefing over the Greek government‚s plans and to convince his counterparts and representatives of institutional investors - worried on the Greek economy's prospects - over the government‚s determination to swiftly implementing specific measures.

    The Greek minister said he was aware of a very negative climate currently prevailing in Germany and European media and stressed that "our partners in the EU and institutional investors are waiting to see actions and a gradual implementation of measures will restore confidence in the economy, affecting the media‚s presentations," he said.

    Commenting on his meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, Papakonstantinou said the German side was worried over the possibility of pressures on the Eurozone and that he offered details of the government‚s plan in order to avoid any "side-effects" on the Eurozone‚s cohesion. The Greek minister said talks with his German counterpart did not include any "support plan" for Greece. The two men discussed the Greek state‚s debts to German enterprises, HDW‚s shipyards and German medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies, with the Greek minister offering reassurances over repayment of debts.

    The Greek government will submit to the European Commission in January an updated stability and growth program which would include in detail the package of measures announced by Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday, Finance Minister Papakonstantinou said later in Paris.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with his French counterpart, Christine Lagarde, the Greek minister said Greece did not need any rescue plan. "We do not have any such discussion with our counterparts. Greece will do what it is necessary to cut its fiscal deficit. Markets are monitoring us very carefully. They expect to see actions. It is obvious that it is difficult to convince, but at the same time they see a government determined to take action," Papakonstantinou told reporters.

    He briefed his French counterpart over initiatives taken by the government over a reduction of the fiscal deficit and controlling the public debt through lower spending and higher revenues, in the medium-term.

    Arriving at the French economy ministry for the meeting, Papaconstantinou said he had come to present the initiatives announced in Athens the previous day by Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    "[These are] initiatives for dealing with problems arising from the public debt, initiatives that are also part of the preparation of the budget and the stability and development programme. I came here so that we can exchange views in the framework of the close cooperation with the French economy minister," he said.

    Asked to comment on the negative response of international markets on Tuesday to Papandreou's announcements, Papaconstantinou noted only that markets fluctuated while the Greek government was making a long-term effort to redue the deficit, chiefly through a reduction in spending.

    "Difficult decisions were taken with reforms in public administration and in taxation for which we will propose new legislation in February".


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