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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-15

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] ND leader briefed by Alternate FM
  • [02] FinMin in Brussels

  • [01] ND leader briefed by Alternate FM

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras was briefed by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas over a letter dispatched by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou as well as the latter's response.

    Immediately afterwards, ND foreign affairs sector chief Dimitris Avramopoulos, who participated in the meeting held at ND's headquarters, said the Papandreou-Erdogan letters "were not delivered, they were simply read and their contents are being evaluated, while it is believed that there shall be a Papandreou-Samaras meeting."

    On his part, Droutsas said he briefed the main opposition party leader on foreign policy issues, adding that "it was a very constructive discussion and more will follow within a framework and spirit of cooperation and consensus on foreign policy issues", while he pointing out that he arrived both to brief and to hear Samaras' views.

    Also participating in the meeting were ND spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos and the director of the ND president's political bureau.

    On economy

    Regarding the government's economic policy and the results of an EU summit last Thursday, New Democracy deputy and spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos emphasised that "in such difficult hours every Greek is asking himself why the prime minister preferred a river of insults against ND instead of providing a clear explanation over the results of the EU summit in Brussels."

    "The insults are aimed at the past and can be answered -- not with corresponding attacks -- but with facts and figures: Let us remind them that when PASOK assumed power in 1981 the country had the lowest debt in Europe, and it (PASOK) was able to transform it (Greece) into the most debt-ridden country in Europe in just eight years," he charged, adding: "PASOK is, as of Oct. 4, 2009, the land's government, and it is judged over the actions and omissions; demagoguery has its limits."

    [02] FinMin in Brussels

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, in statements he made during a press conference organised on Greece's economic state by the European Policy Center a few hours before the convening of the Eurogroup in Brussels on Monday, reiterated the Greek government's determination to implement the stability and growth programme strictly with the aim of reducing the monetary deficit below the 3 percent limit by the year 2012.

    Papaconstantinou stressed that the Greek economy's two major problems are the monetary crisis and the economic recession.

    The minister said that the present government "inheritted serious monetary problems from the previous one that swelled with the economic crisis and came to the surface." The result of the complete collapse of the receiving apparatuses of the previous government was that the present government ascertained last October that the deficit was more than double the one which had been announced in June, meaning 12.5 percent of GDP from 6 percent, he added.

    Moreover, Papaconstantinou noted the government's "readiness to proceed in March, after the Commission's relevant evaluation, and provided that it is considered necessary, with the adoption of additional measures." He further said that what is required now, after the declaration of support that was adopted by the EU's heads of state and governments at last Thursday's summit, is the existence of specialisation of the support apparatus that will be activated if it is considered necessary.

    As regards the economic recession, the minister stressed that the Greek economy is facing a series of structural problems, such as the functioning of the public sector, the pensioning system, as well as problems in the sector of health and education. He also referred to the lack of the Greek economy's competitiveness which is reflected in the foreign balance's deficit.

    Outlining measures to curb public expenditures that were announced by the government, the Greek minister referred to the freeze on salaries in the public sector. More specifically, he mentioned the curbing of bonuses for civil servants by 10 percent on average in 2010. He explained that this corresponds to a decrease in nominal remuneration by 4 percent of GDP, on average, compared to 2009.

    On the question of state revenues, Papaconstantinou focused on measures announced by the government such as an increase in taxes for fuel, cigarettes and drinks, the cracking down on tax evasion and the shifting of the tax burden to higher incomes.


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