|Sunday, 18 March 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-03-20
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 C. Karamanlis' Press ConferenceIn a press conference after the European leaders' summit on Friday, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed the need to respond with flexibility to what he described as an "unprecedented" international economic crisis and, in Greece's case, to avoid further burdening the country's already very high public debt and fiscal deficit.
Outlining the policy agreed by EU leaders, he said the emphasis would be on improving lending performance by banks, countering trends toward protectionism and maintaining free markets but also support for households and low incomes.
The prime minister said that the Greek government's policies had a threefold aim, each of which had to be pursued simultaneously: boosting development, trying to maintain a fiscal balance and supporting the poorer, more vulnerable sections of society. He stressed that none of these could be focused on at the expense of the others.
He defended the new revenue-raising measures announced by the government earlier this week, including the one-off levy on high incomes and a decision for a salary freeze in the public sector, denying that these constituted a U-turn on earlier pledges that the government would not impose new taxes.
Karamanlis emphasised that these were 'emergency' measures taken in response to an emergency situation and constituted a responsible approach to the crisis. Leaving hints for the opposition party the Prime Minister stated: "This is the time that difficult decisions are being taken. Today we live an unprecedented situation of financial crisis. Constant surveillance is necessary so as to re adjust our policies. The government will pay its due. In such a situation we will help the formation of the social and political understanding and common convergence in matter-off-courses.
The Prime Minister also stated: "Tax evasion is a serious and diachronic issue and can not be solve by magic. In a time of crisis and recession businesses' txa burden will not be attempted. There is an immediate need for support of employment. Up to this moment unemployment in Greece has received tremendous dimensions and we do whatever possible to support employment. The government is constantly concerned over low wage employees. Every day we closely watch the evidence and those that are definite are being announced. Every financial organization has to be constantly controlled and monitored so as stability to be preserved".
PASOK Press representative Giorgos Papakostantinou spoke of the government's unreliability accusing the government of lacking a plan during a crucial time of fiancial crisis. Source: Athens News agency
News item: 20373
 Crucial EU Summit on EconomyPolitics
Determination of a common stand to tackle the global financial crisis is the focus of EU leaders Summit Meeting, which concludes in Brussels on Friday afternoon. Prime-minister Kostas Karamanlis underlined the need for more coordination, solidarity and acceleration of decisions under these particularly difficult circumstances. EU 27 leaders appear unwilling to agree on an extra stimulus package, placing priority on strict implementation of measures already taken and strict fiscal discipline.
The EU 27 leaders are expected to agree on the need for pan-European regulation and supervision of financial and evaluation agencies. EU leaders are also considering doubling the emergency funding ceiling to 50 billion euros to eastern European countries, whose economies are in real trouble. Furthermore they asked for reforms in the International Monetary Fund. However, EU leaders approved a plan to spend several more billion euros on upgrading energy and broadband connections. Greece's interest energy programs to be financed by the EU include, Italian natural gas pipeline, Greece-Bulgaria pipeline, and linking of natural gas pipelines passing through 7 EU member states.
"Solidarity Spirit for Strong Europe"
EU leaders placed importance on strict implementation of measures already taken to avert deadly fiscal deviation. Earlier at the European Popular party meeting, Prime-minister Kostas Karamanlis had underlined the need for more cooperation, solidarity and acceleration of decisions under these difficult circumstances. Mr. Karamanlis stressed that Europe would come out stronger from the global financial crisis provided that all act in a spirit of solidarity, protecting the European social status. Mr. Karamanlis will today attend the 2nd day of works of the European Council and will give a press interview at noon.
In the meantime, Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou briefed competent EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia on the recent government measures to reduce state deficit, which were seen as sufficient. It was also estimated that Greece is not facing any problems with borrowing. However, re-examination has not been ruled out in the event of state incomes shortage.
Commenting, PASOK said that the Prime-minister flew to Brussels again without an agenda while the GCP presupposes EU 27 leaders agreement on an attack against the people. SYRIZA called the Prime-minister to ask for suspension of stability pact and claim issue of euro-bonds and reform of common agricultural policy. LAOS underlined that Mr. Karamanlis is trying to convince EU partners that his government is reducing fiscal deficit without, however cutting down on state overspending.
News item: 20351