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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: 'Ready to curb deficits considerably'
  • [02] ND leader strongly criticises government

  • [01] PM: 'Ready to curb deficits considerably'

    Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing an informal cabinet session at the Maximos Mansion on Wednesday afternoon, stressed that "we are ready to turn a page, we are ready to curb the deficits considerably, placing at the same time the country on a course of growth, however we do not want to be a lightning rod for whatever profiteers who do not permit us to deal with the programme that the Europeans and we want to implement."

    The prime minister briefed the council on his contacts in Paris and Brussels that were concluded with a joint declaration of political support for Greece by the 27 heads of state and government.

    "We are not asking for money from others, we are not asking for money from Germans, Italians, French or whatever other taxpayers. We are asking for the necessary time to enable us to implement our programme which will secure for the country the credibility and the possibility to borrow with regular terms," Papandreou stressed.

    The prime minister also pointed out that "we want a serious evalualation of the existing stability, growth and reconstruction programme and not general and irresponsible talk of measures on what Greece needs and what not."

    "We are asking for support so that the easiness of profiteering and the degradation of the country with secret aims or not will stop," he said, adding at the same time that the problem is not exclusively Greek but a wider European one.

    Referring to the implementation of this programme, Papandreou said that checks at ministries will be monthly and with indexes which is something, as he said, that is taking place for the first time in the Greek state.

    The prime minister mentioned that Greece "is receiving blows continuously due to unreliability" and added that the Committee of independent experts from the government highlighted the size of the cover up of the deficit last year, as well as the size of the political problem that it created.

    "Our decision for a fact-finding committee on the economy does not have a revanchist logic," Papandreou underlined noting that "we want the country's new page to be built in the light and in truth and in addition that consensus required must be based on a state of law and not the concealment of the truth."

    [02] ND leader strongly criticises government

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras launched on Wednesday evening a stinging attack against the government for its economic policy and its option to establish a fact-finding committee to probe responsibilities regarding the state of the country's economy.

    Addressing reporters at the party's headquarters after a meeting he had earlier in the day with Prime Minister George Papandreou, Samaras accused the premier of "doing everything in his power to break up the internal front" adding that in this way and in times of a world crisis the battle of the economy will not be won.

    "The government is lucky for having before it a responsible opposition which has offered it consensus on difficult issues," the ND leader noted, adding that "the (ruling) PASOK, however, is provoking and demands a fact-finding committee on the economy. Without caring about the image the country will project outside and about the consequences."

    "ND fears nothing. It has nothing to hide. Let everything come to light. But when we say everything we mean everything. Since 1981 (when PASOK came to office for the first time). We say 'yes' to the fact-finding committte, but they (the government) should consider the consequences," Samaras said.

    The ND leader further said "the country's immense debt which we are now paying back, has not been created during the past five years" (during ND's rule) adding: "The debt amounts today to 112 per cent of the GDP. In 2000, during PASOK's rule, the debt stood also at 112 per cent, when there was no world economic crisis."

    Referring to the consensus his party has offered, Samaras noted: "I have said that the consensus is virtue and not weakness. The government has taken it for weakness. It will now realise its mistake."

    The ND leader also launched an attack against Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, noting that "the real economy is being seriously harmed by dangerous and irresponsible statements, such as that made by the finance minister regarding the...Titanic!"

    Samaras proceeded to an overall criticism of the government's tactics saying: "In an economy which experiences a deep recession with zero investments, increased taxation brings about less income and results in great unemployment. It was this soaring of unemployment which I mainly wanted to prevent today, by proposing concrete measures and presenting proposals for the economy's strengthening without burdening the budget." He added that his party would be presenting on Thursday a package of concrete measures on the economy.

    During his meeting with the prime minister, Samaras also discussed developments in GreeK-Turkish relations.

    "I underlined to the prime minister that the Greek government should avoid slipping into a bilateral dialogue on all issues with Turkey, under tight timeframes (something which Ankara appears to be pursuing) and stick to the line defined and followed by all previous Greek governments since the restoration of Democracy until today," the main opposition leader concluded.

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