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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM appeals for national unity in tackling crisis
  • [02] Greek Press Review

  • [01] PM appeals for national unity in tackling crisis

    Prime Minister George Papandreou appealled for national unity in order to fight the causes of the current economic crisis in Greece, shortly before the start of a debate on the draft budget for 2010 in the Greek Parliament. Papandreou was addressing a meeting of ruling PASOK's Parliamentary group held on Saturday afternoon, on the occasion of the budget debate later that evening.

    The premier said the budget tabled by the government was a first step toward reviving the economy, as well as the country's credibility and prospects, and he urged PASOK MPs to give it their full backing. He stated that the government's goal with the 2010 budget was to reduce the deficit 4 percent by next year.

    He also clarified that his call for national unity in the fight against the crisis did not mean amnesia or absolution for those responsible for nationally damaging policies like the general government audit, or the attempts to cover up major cases of scandal.

    The premier went on to attack main opposition New Democracy, accusing the party of "abandoning ship" rather than facing problems it had helped create and said that it had become part of the problem by allowing the growth of graft and corruption.

    Papandreou was positive, however, about the stance displayed by the opposition parties during a recent meeting of political party leaders chaired by President Karolos Papoulias, both on issues of corruption and on that of relations between politics and the media.

    Turning to the economic crisis, the premier underlined that this was a "purely Greek problem" that needed a solution tailored to its own requirements, rejecting the idea of "one-size-fits-all" methods modeled after those of other countries, such as Ireland. He identified the Greek political system and a wasteful public sector as the main causes of the economic crisis in Greece, underlining the need to carry out possibly painful changes and not shy away from them.

    He also emphasised the need to carry out necessary structural changes straight away, saying that there were no margins for postponing reforms.

    "We must act now and we must act decisively," he told MPs.

    Debate on 2010 draft budget

    Shortly after the meeting of PASOK MPs, the debate on the draft budget began in Parliament with the opening address of PASOK general rapporteur Yiannis Koutsoukos, who described it as the start of a major and difficult effort to bring Greece out of the dead end in which it was mired.

    He said the draft budget unveiled by the government was "transitional" and had multiple goals, while it was part of an overall plan that would be outlined in the four-year stability and growth programme, through which the government would seek to bring the deficit below 3 percent of GDP at the end of PASOK's four-year term.

    Main opposition New Democracy rapporteur Manolis Kefaloyiannis, on his part, accused the government of having a hidden agenda and demanded more information and explanations.

    "The budget is fake. The government is keeping double books," he said, calling the budget unveiled by the government "the apogee of creative accounting" that had artificially increased the size of the deficit. Kefaloyiannis asserted that this was closer to 19 billion euros or 8.3 percent of GDP, instead of the 12-odd percentage points claimed by the government and central bank.

    According to speakers of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), the budget unveiled by the present government was essentially indistinguishable from that tabled by its predecessor ND, with LAOS MP Aivaliotis slamming it as a "ghost of extremity number 2" and saying that the tabling of the budget for Greek people had become a "series of ghastly horror films".

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) rapporteur Panagiotis Lafazanis accused the government of having set aside the promises it made before the elections and of having promised something different again in statements abroad.

    "It is a different budget you have tabled in Parliament to that you announced on Bloomberg's television, organ of international capital markets," he said.

    [02] Greek Press Review

    Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The economy and the pressures on Greece from international markets and the European Union were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Safari for the black money cartels - wage earners and pensioners will not always have to 'pay for the party'".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Seven changes in retirement [rules] during 2010. What will apply for men and women in the public and private sectors".

    AVGHI: "'Peoples' bond the answer to speculators".

    AVRIANI: "George [PM George Papandreou] falls out with media barons and clashes with the racketeers of construction and procurements".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "George backpedalling. The period of grace for the government is over and the uphill climb begins".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "At panic stations. Government seeking additional measures by mid-January in order to convince the EU that it will carry out its promises".

    EPOCHI: "Our lives at the mercy of markets. Copenhagen: no decisions for the planet. Athens: harsh measures, here and now".

    ETHNOS: "Irish 'suit' ushered in from the back door after pressure from markets - Public sector: wages will not be cut but benefits are being 'snipped'".

    FREE SUNDAY: "Doubletalk in view of measures".

    KATHIMERINI: "30 crucial days for the economy. Banks. New evaluations on the way. Pressure from EU. Doublespeak from government".

    LOGOS: "Popular dissatisfaction at taxation measures".

    NIKI: "Party for the speculators. 'Gold-diggers' to attack Greek bonds in January".

    PARON: "Civil war over measures within PASOK. [Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou] paving the way for the bad news".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Dynamic class showdown at the prospect of a counter-attack".

    TO THEMA: "An end to tax rebates for five years. Emergency 'Plan B' due to international pressures".

    TYPOS ON SUNDAY: "The 10 'dangerous duos' in the government". [runs article claiming deep divisions between members of the government and ruling party].

    VETO: "Shock report by deputy prosecutor about Siemens"

    TO VIMA: "Dietary 'bombs' and 'fakes' at our table - adulterated and spoiled foods - dietary scandal in the hands of the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET)".

    VRADYNI: "New taxes and measures on the way - who loses out the most, who the least".

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