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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis: Government's election pledges to be fully materialised over four-year period
  • [02] Opposition criticism of PM's TIF speech

  • [01] PM Karamanlis: Government's election pledges to be fully materialised over four-year period

    The government's election pledges will be fully respected and materialised over a four-year period, prime minister Costas Karamanlis assured on Sunday, and at the same time ruled out the prospect of a government reshuffle, in reply to questions during a press conference on all issues at the Vellidis Congress Centre in Thessaloniki.

    Replying to a relevant question, Karamanlis also said that he was satisfied with the government's work throughout its 18 first months in power, but stressed that a greater effort was necessary.

    "The government is not transposing the problems, but clashing with them, and the first steps are already visible," he said.

    The premier referred again to the issue of newly-hired employees in the DEKO state utilities and organisations, and stressed that the role of the ASEP (public sector hiring examinations board) continued to be in force and "is not changing in any way". The target, he added, was abolition of favouritism and partisanship, and respect of the taxpayers' money.

    On the issue of a heating oil subsidy, Karamanlis said that the difficult fiscal conditions left no margins for such a benefit in the current state of affairs.

    To a quesion regarding the ailing national carrier Olympic Airlines, the premier said the situation was difficult, the result of faulty actions in the past, adding that OA could not function in its present form. He assured, however, that in every instance the government would protect the rights of the employees and "no one will be put out on the street".

    Asked whether the problem of "special interests" has been solved, Karamanlis said that the issue was a "constant struggle", and a matter of principles for his government.

    To a question on whether he considered main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou an easy adversary, the prime minister said that he respected Papandreou as an institutional figure, liked him as a person, and was still awaiting specific proposals from him.

    [02] Opposition criticism of PM's TIF speech

    The main opposition PASOK party, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) late Saturday night criticised prime minister Costas Karamanlis' address on the national economy and the reforms and measures announced for the coming year -- during the traditional speech at the annual Thessaloniki International Fair delivered by Karamanlis earlier in the evening.

    PASOK party press officer Nikos Athanasakis accused the prime minister of "trading in hope", and postponing his commitments to the future and the responsibilities for the past.

    He futher called the premier's address a "display of lack of credibility, misleading, deception and wrong policies".

    Athanasakis said that Karamanlis has been responsible for the governance of the country over the past one-and-a-half years, and that he was judged on the basis of his accomplishments and not on his generalised announcements "on which, in fact, he has not made any specific commitment".

    The PASOK spokesman said that the Greek people had expected to hear from the prime minister substantic and specific announcements on the economic policy of the following year but, instead, had heard Karamanlis "once again presenting himself as the great reformer, the leader of growth, and the champion of the working police and of social cohesion".

    Athanasakis accused the prime minister of leading the country in "the wrong direction".

    "He's leading the country to stagnation and regression, to the facilitation and reinforcement of the few at the expense of the many, to the decline of growth and the standard-of-living of the working class and middle class, he's leading the low salary and pension earners to despair," the PASOK spokesman said.

    Athanasakis spoke of a collapse of (state) revenues, inability to contain the expeditures, and increase in the state debt.


    A KKE announcement said that the prime minister's address confirmed the need for the working people to "abandon (ruling party) New Democracy and very agent of the anti-popular policy, such as PASOK, now, and to join forces with the Communists in the action for their rights".

    The KKE charged that with the 14 points of his address, the prime minister was advancing the anti-popular Lisbon Strategy "which crushes the rights of the working class family on the altar of competitiveness, and of profit-making by the plutocracy, aimed at consolidating and reinforcing its position in the wider region".

    The KKE also said that the working people should not become entrapped in the "counterfeit, ineffective demands for crumbs being advanced by PASOK...which pretends that it does not know that ND is governing with its (PASOK's) own laws, too".


    SYN political bureau member Panayiotis Lafazanis, who is responsible for thye party's economic and social policy, said that Karamanlis, with his address in Thessaloniki, addressed himself to the businessmen and not the Greek people.

    "The message issued by the prime minister is obvious: We give everything to the big business interests for the good, supposedly, of the working people," Lafazanis said, adding: "In America, they used to say that what was in the interests of General Motors was in the interests of the US. The tenet of the ND government is: What is in the interests of big capital is in the interests of Greece".

    Lafazanis warned that the "super-privileges of capital" and the new harsh austerity on salaries and pensions portended even more difficult years for the Greek people, with "greater inequalities, more poverty, and nightmarish unemployment".

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