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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-05-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM addresses lawmakers during debate on tax and pension reforms bill
  • [02] Tsakalotos heading for Eurogroup with 'agreement in principle', sources say
  • [03] Syrian refugee families to visit Acropolis in action for Europe Day

  • [01] PM addresses lawmakers during debate on tax and pension reforms bill

    Taking the stand to address Parliament after main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday said the main opposition party lacked "any kind of alternative proposal" and that Mitsotakis was in danger of making ND a "protest party". Replying to Mitsotakis' criticism of the proposed measures in the tax and pension reforms bill, which is to be voted on by lawmakers at the end of Sunday's debate, Tsipras accused the opposition of "having no proposals".

    "When you ask for elections without having any alternative proposal, anyone can understand the reason why you do this. Your concern is to save of your friends that face prosecution, some media owners that see the system of graft crumbling," he added, promising to fight corruption and set Greece back on its feet at all costs.

    "For decades the pension funds were looted and the opposition recounts the myth that the pension system was derailed by a government that negotiated," he said. He said ND and the other parties in its camp were in a strategic impasse, on the one hand accusing the government of leading the country off the rails and on the other hand of giving in to the creditors demands.

    He also pointed out that Mitsotakis, while criticising the government for pension cuts and reducing incomes, "had the bravery to say that ND's alternative proposal for exiting the crisis is to cut spending: in other words, cut salaries, pensions and lay off workers."

    "For the first time the agreement, even though it is difficult, can be implemented," he said.

    Tsipras insisted that the government would not cut main pensions by even a single euro, while pointing out that those now complaining of a "tax storm" had earlier gladly voted for measures amounting to 62 billion euros.

    [02] Tsakalotos heading for Eurogroup with 'agreement in principle', sources say

    Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is heading for the extraordinary Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Monday with an "agreement in principle" on key points in the negotiations, finance ministry sources said on Sunday. They said this agreement also included the new privatisation fund, the treatment of non-performing loans, pension reforms, income taxation and indirect taxes.

    In addition, they said the Greek proposal for an automatic deficit regulating mechanism had been sent to the institutions and that a discussion on this was expected to take place, while the Eurogroup meeting will for the first time also discuss the debt, as foreseen in the agreement made last summer.

    In preparation for the Eurogroup meeting, there will be a Eurogroup Working Group meeting on Monday morning that will be attended by Alternate Finance Minister George Chouliarakis. The Euro area finance ministers are then scheduled to convene at 15:00 local time.

    [03] Syrian refugee families to visit Acropolis in action for Europe Day

    Culture Minister Aristidis Baltas is to receive 100 refugees from the Elaiona and Schistos reception facilities at the Athens Acropolis on Monday, in a gesture to mark Europe Day. The refugees - mostly families - will be shown around the site and then given a tour of the Acropolis Museum, a ministry announcement said. The aim of the visit is to raise international sensitivity to the crucial issue of the refugee crisis.

    The initiative will be carried out with the assistance of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Flux Laboratory organisation.


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