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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM announces new measures to tackle crisis
  • [02] ND leader's statement on economy
  • [03] Droutsas meets H. Clinton

  • [01] PM announces new measures to tackle crisis

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing the Greek people on Tuesday evening after holding meetings with political party leaders at the Maximos Mansion during the day, announced new measures to tackle the economic crisis.

    Papandreou stressed that the country was at the centre of speculating games that have the euro as the ultimate target and used Greece as a weak link. He added that the annulment of all these attempts through which leading the country down a cliff is being attempted, is a national duty and stressed that the government is determined to take all measures to prevent such development.

    "We must act immediately and decisively," he said and mentioned that on Wednesday the European Commission will be considering the country's stability programme positively, a programme that, as he said, "will tidy up the economy."

    Among the measures announced by Papandreou are an increase in tax on distributed profits that are not reinvested, the taxation of dividends in the way that incomes are taxed and an increase in the taxation of offshore companies.

    Papandreou also stressed that it will be necessary in 2010 for public sector revenues to increase and announced that one of the measures that will bring revenues quickly will be an increase in the taxation of fuel.

    He further announced that the bill on incomes policy will be tabled in Parliament soon, issues related to high incomes in the public and wider public sector will be handled and that increases that will be given will not move further than salary maturity. He said that all this will also concern local administration and the wider public sector.

    The prime minister went on to say that the country's lost competitiveness must be tackled and called on employers and employees to contribute in this direction.

    Referring to the social security system, he said that it will be fair and gave an indication of decisions which, as he said, have been implemented in other European countries and concern, among other things, an increase in pensioning age limits.

    The prime minister stressed that the government is fully aware of the difficulty and crucialness of the situation, as well as of difficulties facing the Greek family. He added that for this reason it will move with a feeling of justice, that the measures may be painful but the government's effort is aimed at stopping the country's course towards the abyss.

    Papandreou promised that he and the government will do everything possible to support the weak, to support the average Greek family and the younger generation. He added that "there is no ground for strikes, work stoppages and blockades since, as he said, we must all wage the struggle together".

    He also stressed that the more powerful must contribute more and, in parallel, the weak must be protected more.

    Lastly, the prime minister pointed out that the government is here to guarantee all this and expressed certainty that the citizens are also here to help the country achieve its targets. He stressed "we know the abilities of Greece and Hellenism" and underlined that "I am sure that we shall succeed."

    [02] ND leader's statement on economy

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras said on Tuesday evening that all serious measures regarding the state of the economy should be taken immediately and that his party was ready to support whatever was necessary.

    "All serious measures must be taken now, they must be implemented immediately without waverings and disagreements within the government," Samaras told a press conference at the party's headquarters after a meeting earlier in the day with Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    "We say 'yes' to measures that curb the state's extravagances, tax evasion and contribution evasion, but we say 'no' to measures such as the increase in fuel taxation or a VAT increase which will hurt the financially weak. We also say 'no' to measures that intensify the flight of capital abroad," Samaras also said.

    "We offer a decisive support as regards to what is beneficial to the country but let the government know that our support is not a card blanche," the ND leader added, noting that the dramatic developments in the economy "have not arisen suddenly" and accusing PASOK that when it was in the opposition and the world crisis broke out, it "understood nothing or it did not want to listen, promising everything to everybody."

    "PASOK won the (October 2009) general elections but it did not react timely after the elections," Samaras said. "One cannot handle such a crisis with hesitations, dramatic delays and double talk," he added.

    [03] Droutsas meets H. Clinton

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas met in Washington on Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying afterwards that he had expounded on Greece's positions on major national issues as well as Greece's will to help, through initiatives in its broader region and primarily in the Balkans but the Middle East as well.

    In statements to the press after his meetings with Clinton and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Droutsas said:

    "I met with the U.S. State Department's leadership, with Secretary Clinton and Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg. It was a good opportunity for us to deepen our relations with the US again, to exchange views on all the issues of mutual interest, international developments, for us to also highlight the fact that Greece can play a role in these international developments, particularly in our direct neighbourhood. We have a role to play in the Balkns, we have a role to play and to offer in the region of the Middle East and the Arab world. This is the image that we want to present to the international community again. An image of Greece with a presence, a voice, a real role in international developments.

    "It was also an excellent opportunity for me to reiterate Greece's positions on the issues of particular Greek interest. On the issue of Cyprus we are again experiencing an important phase, in our relations with Turkey our effort for a new approach and cooperation with Turkey is known, on the issue of the name of FYROM Greece's will and desire for a solution is known, as well as the Greek national red line on this issue is. It is important that the US also knows our positions on all these issues as well, for us to repeat them so that they will also know our approach, always in the framework of cooperatiopn between our two countries, cooperation on an equal basis between two allies and partners."


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