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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-23
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Loberdos-Tsipras Strong Confrontation over Social SecurityFriday, 23 April 2010 11:04
Parliament debate on reforms in social security sparked strong confrontation between Employment Minister A. Loberdos and president of SYRIZA Parliamentary Group A. Tsipras who spoke of an intentional crime Greek people could not forgive. Mr. Tsipras blamed the government for planning to reduce pensions by 255 and 50% and wandered how Mr. Loberdos could tolerate humiliation for so many months with IMF experts dictating the articles of draft-bill on social security. "Either return this schizoid fabrication they dictate or resign, or else your portrait will stand among the ones who led Greece to bankruptcy".
In response, Mr. Loberdos said that meetings with EU representatives are being held because the social security system from a social issue has turned into a fiscal problem and fiscal dynamite. He belied rumours about 35%, 40% or 50% reductions in pensions.
"The country's survival, stressed the Employment Minister, means to take into consideration talks with our European partners and implement with self-denial the growth and stability plan or whatever other measure agreed , or else the country has no way out".
"Whoever objects to this course should voice an alternative prospect or else he merely organizes his personal future and does not participate in the salvation of his country".
He criticized SYRIZA stand underlining that whoever objects should make alternative proposals.
"If we do not cooperate with the ECB, what is the next solution, next move? If the country does not pay the 10-year bond on May, 19 and go bankrupt? If we do not discuss with our EU partners, representatives of states and international organizations, what is the next step? There aren't many alternatives and whoever objects should voice his reasoning. Whoever objects to this course should speak out the specific alternative solution. We lost the opportunity for monitoring, we can not lose this opportunity", stressed the Employment Minister.
"Greek people can forgive unintentional gaffes, however, they do not forgive intentional crime", Mr. Tsipras had said earlier. He spoke of no ending government alchemies, contradictions and lies, stressing that it planned to refer to the IMF since December.
The longer we remain inactive, the worse the situation becomes. It is a bankrupt, post-war and burdened by clientelism interventions for many decades system and we all bear our share of responsibilities. It is a problem of negligence, fear of responsibility and inactivity. We must give solutions now", said Mr. Loberdos.
Source: ΝΕΤ 105.8, ΑNA-ΜPA
News item: 35801
 EU-IMF Ready to ActFriday, 23 April 2010 14:29
In an immediate response to Greece's call for activation of the EU rescue mechanism, the European Commission spokesman, Amadeu Altafaj said Europe would take rapid action to assist Greece, stressing that Euro zone Finance Ministers would take a formal decision to allocate emergency loans to Greece following European Commission and European Central Bank decision that the request was valid. The ECB has not made any comment yet while German Finance Ministry spokesman said "German government ready to act". "The IMF stands ready to act" said its managing director Dominique Straus Khan.
EU Commission: "Activation of Rescue Mechanism only Matter of Days "
Both EU Commission and IMF are ready to act while EU Commission spokesman said activation of rescue mechanism is a matter of few days.
EU spokesman Amadeu Altafaj expressed belief that there would not be any delay in activation of rescue mechanism as EU member states and IMF have already worked together. He underlined that Euro-group would unanimously take the final formal decision after the European Commission and European Central Bank decide whether the request was valid.
In reference to the interest rate, Mr. Altafajsaid that it depended on the market circumstances, however, reminding, that Euro-zone leaders had made a commitment for a 5% interest rate.
He added that EU services are in permanent contact and cooperation with Greek authorities and reminded that the EU believes Greece has taken all necessary measures to drastically cut down state deficit. He characteristically said that all Euro-zone member states have committed to participate in Greece's rescue mechanism.
Concluding, spokesman for EU Commissioner Olhi Rehn assured that EU services would act rapidly, taking into consideration that the largest part of EU-IMF preparations have already been completed.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today on Greece:
"We have received Greece's request for a Stand-By Arrangement. We have been working closely with the Greek authorities for some weeks on technical assistance, and have had a mission on the ground in Athens for a few days working with the authorities and the European Union. We are prepared to move expeditiously on this request."
Sources: ΝΕΤ-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ΑNA/ΜPA
News item: 35813
 Papandreou: "We Call for Activation of EU Rescue MechanismFriday, 23 April 2010 13:09
From the remote island of Kastelorizo, Prime-minister G. Papandreou announced that Greece has formally requested activation of European rescue mechanism and has given relevant instructions to Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou. "It is imperative to ask for activation of the rescue mechanism to gain time that markets refused", he said. "Our ultimate goal is to exit Greece from monitoring", said the Prime-minister adding that the EU sends a message that it does not play games and protects our common interest and currency.
"The real figure of 2009 state deficit was announced yesterday. It reminded us all of the inconceivable mistakes, omissions ,criminal selections and the storm of problems we inherited from the former government. We all-the present government and the people- inherited a sinking boat. A country that had lost credibility and respect even from its friends and partners. An economy exposed to the mercy of doubt and speculators practices. We started hard work to reverse the negative climate from the day we assumed office.
We drew a plan, took strict measures, some even painful but we regained our credibility. We created new alliances after real marathon effort, we claimed and reached a decision about a strong EU mechanism to rescue our country, unprecedented in the history of the EU.
Both Greece's government and our EU partners hoped that decision would ease markets in order to continue financing our country with lower interest loans.
We hoped that it would bring calmness, so that we could dedicate to our plan, the big reforms necessary to make our economy viable and competitive.
It would help Greece stand on its feet, strong so all Greeks could feel proud. Markets did not respond either because they did not trust EU willingness or some decided to continue speculative practices.
The present situation in the markets threatens to destructure the sacrifices of the Greek people and the smooth course of the economy. Their sacrifices are also endangered by the higher interest loans and even worse by difficulty in borrowing.
We will not allow it.
It is imperative to officially call for activation of the rescue mechanism, we jointly created with the EU.
I have given the relevant instructions to Finance Minister G. Papakonstantinou to proceed to the necessary actions.Our partners will immediately and effectively assist Greece to rebuild the boat with strong and credible material. But they will also send a strong message that the EU does not play games and protects our common interest and currency. We have a long journey ahead but under a new collective conscience and common effort to arrive safe, more confident, just and proud.
Our ultimate goal, final destination, is to free Greece from monitoring and patroonships. To free the forces of Hellenism from concepts, practices and systems hampering them for decades. To provide oxygen where there is suffocation, justice and rules to injustice, transparency to darkness, security to insecurity and development for all.
Source: ΝΕΤ - ΝΕΤ 1058
Σχετική είδηση: Revised Deficit Figure- Spreads Skyrocketed
News item: 35810