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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-09-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Samaras: Truths needed to move ahead
  • [02] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Samaras: Truths needed to move ahead

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras put heavy blame on the PASOK government and prime minister George Papandreou personally over the state of the economy, charging that the Memorandum had not been necessary, and accusing them of irresponsibility, while at the same time stressing that the lies must end. "Now, we need truths in order to move ahead," he said in his address Saturday night at the 75th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    He accused the government and prime minister of irresponsibility and of never having consented or given a helping hand, whereas ND has maintained a responsible stance and also having lent a helping hand whenever needed.

    Samaras recalled Papandreou's statement that "money exists" in his address, as the main opposition leader then, at last year's (2009) TIF, at the same time as then ND prime minister Costas Karamanlis had announced measures for the economy that, as Samaras said, were much milder than those actually implemented by PASOK.

    At last year's TIF in September 2009, Samaras continued, Papandreou had warned that "if we freeze the salaries, we will freeze the market...If we increase the taxes on the middle class we will reduce their buying power, deepen the crisis and reduce the state's revenues, bringing a vicious cycle towards collapse". But later, when he came to government, Papandreou did not simply "freeze" the salaries in the public sector but reduced them at that. "He did not simply increases the taxes on the middle class, but literally skyrocketed them, and is now destroying the middle class," he continued.

    "And he (Papandreou) had said all that in reference to much milder measures, which were announced at the time by (then prime minister) Costas Karamanlis," Samaras said, adding: "Back then, he had criticised the least. Today he has committed the most".

    Samaras also charged lack of coordination in the government and, referring to the recent Cabinet reshuffle, criticised Papandreou for having announced a "smaller and more flexible" governmental scheme but actually creating "one of the biggest governments ever" with chaos instead of coordination.

    Greece, he said, had become over-indebted in the 1980s under the then PASOK government and "since then no government has been able to control the debt".

    However, resorting to the Memorandum had not been inevitable nor the only option, Samaras added.

    The main opposition leader spoke of "seven lies" that describe the "era of decline", and "seven truths" reflected in ND's proposals for changing the climate and developmental model.

    The first lie "that has collapsed", is that of the "social policy" applied in the recent decades through the redistribution of borrowed money at the expense of the future generations, Samaras said.

    The second lie is the answer to the question 'when did the country become over-indebted?' Greece, Samaras said, became over-indebted in the '80s decade, under the PASOK government, when its debt skyrocketed from 32 percent to 110 percent of GDP "and since then all the consecutive governments have attempted, in vain, to contain the debt, because the debt breeds new deficits in the following years".

    The third lie is PASOK's claim that the previous government of ND created the current problem of over-indebtedness, said Samaras, presenting data according to which of the 80 billion euros in new debts accrued in the five-year period 2004-2009, 70 billion went to obligations undertaken by the preceding PASOK governments.

    The fourth lie is the claim that the situation handed over by ND to the new government was to blame for the events that followed October 2009, Samaras said, adding that the spreads are a mirror of the markets' confidence in the government at the time, "which were just 130 points last October and much later rose sharply when the new PASOK government did nothing to tackle the deficit". He added that the spreads started climbing after January 2010, under PASOK governance, due to its policy.

    The fifth lie is that resorting to the Memorandum "was supposedly 'inevitable'", Samaras said, adding that, on the contrary, the markets were lending money to Greece with ease up until January 2010 and at reasonable interest. But at that time the current government refused to borrow on the markets and started humiliating the country abroad, and afterwards found itself out of the markets in May.

    The sixth lie, he continued, is that the signing of the Memorandum was the only option for the country in early May. However, "there were margins for negotiation at that time, but the government did not negotiate and signed with the worst possible conditions".

    The seventh lie, according to Samaras, is PASOK's claim that, despite everything, the Memorandum is the only way out of the crisis and that it was an act of 'irresponsibility' on the part of ND to vote against it. The ND leader stressed that the Memorandum policy is leading to a worse crisis than that existing today and is sinking the country into a vicious circle of recession, while the overall debt at the end of the four-year period will be much higher and that after so many sacrifices it will once again be hard for Greece to re-enter the markets for borrowing.

    "The real irresponsibility is that PASOK was shouting that money exists, ahead of the 2009 elections, although it was fully aware of the deficit problem that existed then in Greece but also in all of Europe," Samaras charged.

    ND, he recalled, had not sufficed itself in simply voting against the Memorandum, but had also presented its own, integrated plan for bringing the country out of the crisis, that combated the deficit and recession simultaneously with targeted measures of zero or minimal cost aimed at boosting the market, which would eliminate the deficit in 1 1/2-2 years whereas, with the Memorandum, the deficit will remain at 2.6 percent of GDP after four years of harsh sacrifices. The plan also combats the deficit and the debt through exploitation of the state's unexploited real estate holdings, the result of which would be, in four years' time, a debt that be much lower than it is today whereas, under the Memorandum, the debt in four years' time will be much higher than it is today.

    ND's plan further provides for the restoration of injustices that have already been made, such as the cuts in low salaries, Samaras said.

    The ND plan, he continued, comprises seven reforms, which he called "seven truths": Drastic reduction of taxation after Greece exits the Memorandum, and no new tax increases until then, since the state can generate more revenues with lower tax rates.; gradual reduction of the social security contributions of employers and employees, with subsidisation of labor by the OAED (Manpower Employment Organization) programmes so that the resources needed directly by the social security funds will not be lost; combating bureaucracy not in words but with priority on five major no-cost and immediately applicable reforms; boosting competitiveness through specific, targeted actions; priority on extroversion; de-vilification of entrepreneurship; branch strategies in all sectors in which Greece has comparative advantages.

    The time has come, he said, to put an end to the lies. "Right now, we need truths to move forward. We need cutting truths, not 'rounded words'," Samaras said, adding that ND "doesn't believe that simply a few changes are necessary, but rather, a real revolution...a revolution of consciences, of priorities in policy and mentality in society...a veritable shock in competitiveness, investments and creation of opportunities.

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    [02] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The economy and Troika delegation currently in Athens, and main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' address at the 75th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Seven lies took us to the Memorandum - Samaras (main opposition New Democracy leader) uncovered Papandreou (prime minister) during his TIF address".

    APOGEVMATINI: "There is a way out - PASOK's 7 lies...and ND's 7 truths - Samaras, in Thessaloniki, sends message of hope and potential".

    AVGHI: "They fear the ballot (November's local government elections) - Prime minister being dragged to 'referendum' elections to halt the leakage of PASOK voters".

    AVRIANI: "Greek businessmen laundering money via investment companies".

    CHORA: "Samaras militant message of hope in Thessaloniki".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Derby in 7 regions - What the parties' secret opinion polls indicate".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Amnesty to the tax dodgers, who get discount of 90 percent of the taxes they owe, has been given over the last 35 years with 'closure' of accounting books arrangement".

    ETHNOS: "Window opening up for general abolition of tenure in the DEKO (public utilities and organizations) - Nightmare for 80,000 workers with dismissals, reduction of wages".

    KATHIMERINI: "A thousand businesses at the cliff's edge - They were entered under the regime for protection from creditors".

    LOGOS: "The troika 'signs' the budget - New measures will be asked if divergences are ascertained until December".

    NIKI: "Memorandum no. 2 with 7.5 billion euros in taxes".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The KKE-backed candidates in the country's regions and municipalities".

    TO VIMA: "100,000 Greeks with deposits abroad caught red-handed - 70 CDs with names of Greek depositors who did not declare the interest they received".

    VRADYNI: "Consecutive social security - Calculate the pension you will get - The secrets for higher revenues".

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

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