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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-09-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM calls for collective effort to change the country

  • [01] PM calls for collective effort to change the country

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Saturday sent a message of collective effort, collective responsibility and decision for reforming the country. In the traditional prime minister's speech to the country's producer groups, from the podium of the Thessaloniki International Fair, Papandreou said: "The battle we are waging is for the survival of Greece".

    "This not a battle that the prime minister or his government will win or lose. This battle we will either we all win it together or we will all sink together," the Greek Premier stressed, while he sent a message of optimism saying: "Together we will make it! Together we will reform Greece. This is not a party challenge. It is a patriotic one".

    Referring on the 11-month governance by PASOK, Papandreou said the government has averted the bankruptcy of the country. "We have made a really big effort. We gave a hard, daily, merciless struggle to save our country from what everyone though to be a fact a few months ago. The bankruptcy of Greece. The issue was not if, but when. Instead, with the struggle by all Greeks, with hard effort and sacrifices, we managed to avert what everyone inside and outside the country thought was inevitable".

    Papandreou said that positive comments made abroad for the country, for its will to change, belong to all the Greek people, "the only one deserving these praise, because everything we have accomplished over the last few months, we have accomplished together".

    "Greece is all of us," Papandreou said, adding that after saving the country from bankruptcy he believed we can also reform the country. He underlined that the Greek people not only have the right, but also has every reason, to hope. "We are here for all those wishing to change the country. Who want to live better, with opportunities and possibilities. I fully believe in the power we have".

    The Prime Minister said he was giving a battle from the European Union to the United Nations, from China to the US, from the Arab world to our neighborhood in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, without considering any political cost. "I do this because I believe in this place, I get angry when an injustice is done, I am anxious to take advantage of its huge human resources, the young and capable people, I hurt when I see the weak suffer".

    Papandreou presented his vision for economic growth and noted: "Our vision for growth is very closely linked with basic principles:

    a) rule of law and strengthening democracy

    b) a social state guaranteeing equal rights for all and not privileges for the most powerful

    c) investing in the human to proceed to the green development of creation, cultivation and innovation.

    "To us, sustainable growth means investing in the human potential, conquering knowledge, absorbing technology, investing in our products, in knowledge, history, know-how, aesthetics and quality. We can and, yes, it is underway! The people around us on a daily basis are the sound proof of this. They are making the revolution of the self-evident."

    Papandreou stressed that the big challenge for the government was to free all creative forces in the country, creating a Greece where innovation, science and entrepreneurship flourish because of the country's excellent human resources. Creating a Greece that is flourishing by investing in nature and in its history.

    "Greece is not a poor country," Papandreou said, adding that Greece was a country with many comparative advantages. ęBut what is keeping us pinned down? A deep, old, outdated view of our capabilities and our relations summarized into one phrase: 'It can't be done'. We built a world of bureaucracy and lust for power. A world of corruption, of small and big privileges and interests for anyone who could take advantage of other people. We managed to drown the hopes and dreams of a whole generation. And now we see our youth leaving to foreign countries again. Leaving in bitterness. Something we have not seen since the 1960s. That's why we began a battle side-by-side with the Greek people, against established rationales and sick mentalities."

    The Greek Premier gave an answer to all those saying that the government will not make it and stressed: "A few months ago, many people said we will not make it. With the passing of the days, however, with our work and the efforts of all the Greeks, we proved them wrong. No one believed that Greece - the Greeks -- could put their budget in order and cut their deficits. Here we are, in the first eight months of 2010, our budget deficit is shrinking at an unprecedented rate. Our fiscal deficit is 7.0 billion euros less than last year. A 40 pct decline. Every day we build the prospect. Within months we have begun and completed major structural reforms, we have built the foundations to get out of the misery the soonest possible."

    He added:

    "-We created an independent statistical authority to stop this game with the Greek statistics.

    -We radically changed our tax system.

    -We introduced a new transparent fiscal framework, enhancing the inspection and participation of parliament.

    -We changed the country's administrative map with the "Kallikratis" plan.

    -We legislated the biggest reform of the pension system ever, to guarantee its viability and pensions for all people.

    -We managed to reverse a negative climate. The voices saying that Greece will make it, are multiplying.

    -Confidence and credibility are returning."

    Papandreou also referred to the next steps to be made by the government. By the end of the year, the government must deregulate the road cargo transport sector, open up all other so-called closed-shop professions, implementing a restructuring plan for Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) and the restructuring of all loss-making public sector enterprises. Also, restructuring the tax mechanism to combat tax evasion and to offer better services to citizens, introducing a new framework for a speedier implementation of justice, a new development law, promoting privatizations and a better management of the state's real estate property, promoting a plan for restructuring the country's banking system. Also, completing the creation of a Single Payment Authority in the public sector, a new framework for state hospital supplies, introducing a 24-hour hospital service, operating a general commerce register, simplifying procedures for new company set ups and promoting a new plan to promote research and innovation.

    Commenting on the big changes promoted by the government, Papandreou said: "Our first big change and message - with a huge impact on growth - is: we are changing the state. Our second big change/message is protecting the vulnerable population groups, a third change is opening the road to new investments, supporting healthy business activity, a fourth is putting an end to tax evasion and corruption, a fifth change is green development and a sixth change/message to the society is proceeding with a revolution in the education system."

    Papandreou said the country was making a fresh start. "We will win this battle together. All together. Turning the established view of 'It can't be done' into 'Yes, it can be done'.".

    "Fully confident in our power and abilities of being capable of doing everything. That we can make our country into all that it is capable of being. We owe it to ourselves and to our children," the premier concluded.

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