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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-05-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Banks under scrutiny for Greek crisis, PM says
  • [02] Samaras: Economic policy mix is wrong
  • [03] Strauss-Kahn: austerity measures will bring results
  • [04] Tsipras urges unity in Left
  • [05] Anger against politicians

  • [01] Banks under scrutiny for Greek crisis, PM says

    In an interview due to be broadcast by the U.S. television network CNN on Sunday afternoon, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has apparently repeated claims that foreign financial institutions were largely responsible for Greece's debt crisis.

    Asked by a CNN reporter whether Greece was considering legal action over this issue, meanwhile, Papandreou did not rule out this possibility.

    "Decisions will be taken after the work of a Parliamentary investigation committee on the economy is concluded," he said.

    The Greek premier also pointed out that the role played by banks was now under careful scrutiny from U.S. and European authorities, since there were accusations of lack of transparency.

    [02] Samaras: Economic policy mix is wrong

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras once again attacked the government through an interview given to the newspaper "Real News" and published on Sunday. Just days after his party had voted against a raft of government-proposed austerity measures for dealing with the crisis, Samaras insisted that if the current mix of economic policy continues, the outcome will be very bad.

    Samaras underlined that if ND had condoned the measures passed by the governing majority in Parliament, "then for years there would be no other opposition save the cries of demonstrators".

    "If I am wrong and the mix of policy is the right one, then our refusal to vote for it has not harmed the country. If I am right and the policy mix is wrong, the I have offered a great service by voting against it because I have created an alternative prospect in the face of an apparent impasse," he said.

    Concerning the decision by former ND MP and minister Dora Bakoyannis to vote in favour of the government's bill, which led to her subsequent expulsion from the party, Samaras pointed out that Bakoyannis knew the party's line when she cast her vote and said he was unconcerned by the prospect of her forming a third party between ND and PASOK.

    On the issue of a political clean up, ND's leader said that his party wanted to find and reject those that had shamed New Democracy, but not to discredit the entire party.

    "We have no objection to investigating all the scandals. We are first in wanting the guilty found and punished. But we will not allow a selective investigation of only those cases involving New Democracy when much more serious scandals concerning PASOK remain in the dark," he said.

    [03] Strauss-Kahn: austerity measures will bring results

    Speaking to the newspaper "Ethnos on Sunday", International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he was convinced that the Greek austerity programme will bring results and allow Greece to exit from economic crisis.

    Strauss-Kahn expressed understanding for people's reaction to the measures, pointing out that he would be demonstrating in the same way if he was a member of a Greek trade union.

    If Greeks wanted to avoid struggling with problems for decades to come, however, they had to make an effort now, he added.

    Strauss-Kahn underlined, meanwhile, that the IMF were not "policemen" but more like doctors having to dish out bitter medicine and unwelcome advice.

    "A doctor gives medicine. We give you money and tell you that you have to change your behaviour," he said, expressing hope that the government would manage to implement the austerity programme because it was "absolutely imperative for Greece to do this" and there was no alternative for overcoming the crisis.

    The IMF chief noted that the problems were not confined to Greece, since sustaining a large debt was difficult for most countries after the global economic crisis, but that Greece was a special case because it had entered the crisis with an enormous debt to begin with.

    On the role of the IMF, he said the fund was acting as an intermediary because European countries were not used to dealing with such problems and it had taken them months and months to take decisions.

    "I am convinced that if the problem had been settled in February, it would have been less costly," he said, noting that the IMF's involvement had been requested in April and the issue was then settled in two weeks.

    He also noted that the IMF had initially called for a longer-lasting and less painful programme, that efforts were made for every to lend at the same rate as the IMF but that these efforts were not successful.

    [04] Tsipras urges unity in Left

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras made an overture to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in an interview with the latest issue of "FreeSunday" newspaper, calling for a "new pole of the forces of the Left, the socialist area and ecology to directly challenge the traditional two-party system."

    He noted that "sooner or later, Perissos [where KKE headquarters are based] will follow the road of unity in the face of the situation that is emerging".

    Tsipras also defended his decision not to attend a meeting of the political party leaders under the president, saying his "conscience was clear" and that those responsible for the current situation were known.

    "The Left finally, as a whole, did not trap itself into a meeting of prefabricated and false consensus with a policy of insanity. It was a historic decision of the Left to refuse to accept part of the responsibility, which does not in any case belong to it, for non-reversible destruction," he said.

    [05] Anger against politicians

    Greeks are angry with the way the major parties in the country have handled important issues and intend to express this discontent when they are next called on to vote, according to opinion polls published in three large-circulation newspapers on Sunday.

    According to a poll conducting by the firm ALCO and printed by 'Proto Thema', 91 percent of Greek citizens are angry with political parties and politicians. Of these 95 out of every 100 respondents say their anger would be assuaged by the removal of politicians who could not explain the origin of their assets, while 93 in 100 say they would feel better if those involved in scandals went to jail.

    In this poll, the winner of any election held now would be the 'undecided' vote (including blank and spoiled ballots, absention, and undecided voters) with 36.1 percent. Ruling PASOK is seen following with 26.3 percent and main opposition New Democracy with 18.3 percent.

    A Public Issue Barometer poll printed in 'Kathimerini', meanwhile, shows one in two citizens rejecting single party rule and less than one in five (19 percent) in favour of one party having a governing majority. About 35 percent of voters are in favour of coalition governments, while 15 percent favour a non-party government that is not made up of politicians.

    This poll also shows a majority of Greeks doubting the current government's ability to manage the country's affairs, with only 22 percent satisfied with its performance (down 9 percent since the previous poll). Main opposition New Democracy does even worse, with only 8 percent expressing confidence in its ability to manage the country.

    The lack of faith in politicians is also reflected in the MARC poll published by 'Ethnos'. This shows low regard by the majority of Greeks for both parties and trade unions, which are considered to have mishandled the issues.

    Specifically, 87.8 percent of those asked said that the burden of the measures was unfairly distributed while 47.5 percent predict that the government will not complete its four-year term, as opposed to 42.6 percent that believe the opposite.

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