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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-04-30
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Greek FinMin: Mandate for Radical ChangesFriday, 30 April 2010 19:36
Addressing the Economist conference, Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou touched on the current economical affairs, the activation of the support mechanism, as well as on the Greek government's political goals. "The country has reached a critical turning point. It has found itself before major decisions. Decisions that will determine not only the coming months, but also the coming years and the future generations," stressed Papakonstantinou.
The Financial Situation
Commenting on the financial situation, Giorgos Papakonstantinou argued: "It goes without saying that the deficit and debt problems did not come into being yesterday. They have resulted from years of policies. They have resulted from the fact that when country had high growth rates, it failed to take the necessary measures. They have resulted from the fact that we had long been living on the edge, with the debt going down gradually, due to the high growth rates."
Outlining the government's goals, the Greek Finance Minister claimed:
...the kind of public sector we want to have, with how we perceive its size, the wages...
"The solution to the country's fiscal problems requires pivotal decisions that have to do with the kind of public sector we want to have, with how we perceive its size, the wages, the way the state reinforces pension funds, the viability of our pension system, how we subsidize several public businesses."
Papakonstantinou then went on to touch on Greece's lack of credibility, the non-rationalized operation of the world markets aiming to short-term profit and not to long-term return, as well as on the inability of the Greek exports to be absorbed in foreign markets. He then highlighted the need to attract foreign investments and the stability of the tax system.
The Finance Minister defended the activation of the support mechanism. Shifting his attention to the political spectrum, he stressed:
"We have been clear on one thing, despite the hardships and despite the fact that we are being called on to carry out tough things. We have interpreted the mandate we got as a mandate for radical changes. And we won't back off. We will not be weighed down by the political cost."
Quoting the phrased used a few days ago by the Prime Minister, "It is either now or never, Papakonstantinou underlined that the country needs major changes. "The people will offer their backing to major changes, they will offer their backing to us, as long as they know two things: that their sacrifices - there will be sacrifices - will not be wasted. And we can guarantee that," concluded the Greek Finance Minister.
Source: ANA News item: 36112