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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-09-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Boosting development, major reforms up next

  • [01] PM: Boosting development, major reforms up next

    Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday referred to the country‚s economic course, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party's stance, a draft bill envisioning the irrevocable settlement of outstanding tax obligations as well as high-profile and damaging mobilisations in the road freight sector.

    Speaking to reporters at Maximos Mansion, Papandreou underlined that "we have met our obligations by doing everything we have said we‚ll do," pointing out that "we are on the right track, a fact that is being recognised internationally, and the country is regaining its credibility."

    He pointed out that "a different Greece from what we have known so far is emerging, despite the protests and the pain from the sacrifices made ... we know that the measures taken were of temporary use, adopted in order to deal with the crisis. Now, we are moving on to boost development and proceed with major structural reforms."

    The PM stressed that "the government was expecting a broader consensus from the opposition parties which has not been the case," adding that "we have the society‚s consensus."

    As regards the position expressed by main opposition New Democracy (ND) president Antonis Samaras, namely, that the deficit could be eliminated in 2011, Papandreou countered that "he should have given us his formula and presented his proposals six months ago, so that our problems would be solved."

    As regards the Vatopedi Monastery land swap case, he stressed that the relevant parliamentary committee has highlighted what he called the "huge damage" caused to the state and stressed that ND and former PM Costas Karamanlis have issued contradictory statements.

    Responding to a question on whether former PASOK premier Costas Simitis will testify before a separate parliamentary committee probing the Siemens bribery scandal, Papandreou stated that "we have said that everything will be brought to light."

    On the irrevocable settlement of outstanding tax cases, a measure that has been criticised as unfair to law-abiding and conscientious taxpayers, he justified those who are against it, adding that this is the last time that such a measure will be implemented, considering that the new tax system puts an end to such practices.

    As regards the protests against the liberalising of the road freight sector, Papandreou attributed the ongoing opposition to the relevant legislation by "closed-shop" interests. He stressed that the so-called "closed professions" will be opened to ensure more job positions.

    Commenting on the role of his advisors, such as former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos and Italian banker and economist Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, the Greek PM stated that "they have their views, but the fact that they are advisors does not mean that they make decisions."

    Finally, in response to a question related to a "Financial Times" article co-signed by Schioppa, he said the advisor never spoke of default.

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