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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FinMin outlines agenda for second gov't term
  • [02] FM: FYROM must abandon irredentist propaganda

  • [01] FinMin outlines agenda for second gov't term

    The government is planning specific actions to combat tax evasion and simplify the tax system during its second term in office, while at the same time emphasis will be placed on the better operation of the state and improvement of citizens' quality of life, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said in an interview published on Sunday.

    The minister explained that there were "no margins for benefits mongering", and clarified that this would not take place during any upcoming election campaign because "that would be totally irresponsible". Besides, he added, as it became evident during the 2004 general elections that "the people do not appreciate such moves made for the sake of impressions".

    "We must set specific and measurable targets, such as balancing budgets, which must be achieved by the year 2010. The reforms programme will also be continued, as will implementation of (ruling) New Democracy's platform," he said, adding that incorporation of a low-pension benefit (EKAS) into the base pension was being examined within that framework.

    He also noted that two billion euros would be available at the end of the next four-year term in order to finance actions benefitting working-class households.

    Asked whether a second ND government, if elected with a reduced majority, would have the strength and courage to carry on with reforms, Alogoskoufis replied that what was of importance was "the mentality of the government and the prime minister", adding that Premier Costas Karamanlis has proven that "he does not take the political costs into consideration".

    He also described the opposition as "negativist" and "phobic", and particularly the main opposition PASOK party, which, he added, "has opted for a politically malicious strategy", attributing this to the short time remaining before the next elections. The minister predicted that the climate would be different after the elections, as it would not be conducive to political clashes.

    He also considered important the opposition's consensus in order for social insurance reforms to be passed, as well as revision of the Constitution.

    Alogoskoufis' interview was published in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Kathimerini".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Alogoskoufis.

    [02] FM: FYROM must abandon irredentist propaganda

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis echoed Athens' standing position that the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) must abandon irredentist actions, practices and propaganda and actively prove that it was following a policy of good neighbourliness, in press interview published on Sunday.

    Bakoyannis noted that Skopje must abide by the "letter and spirit" of all agreements between the two countries, because only in that way will "our bilateral relations be fully normalised, regional cooperation reinforced, and the neighbouring country's Euro-Atlantic course proceed smoothly".

    Replying to a question, Bakoyannis said she saw no link between the fact that the Skopje government's application for NATO membership will be examined in March 2008 and the scheduled holding of general elections in Greece the same month, in accordance with the provisions of the Greek constitution.

    She stressed, in fact, that "the Greek government exercises its foreign policy with the aim of strengthening the country's national interests, and not at creating impressions for domestic consumption".

    Questioned on the developments in Turkey, Bakoyannis said "our desire is that the outcome of recent developments will be a stable, democratic government in the neighbouring country", stressing that the basic target of policy exercised by Athens is a full normalisation of relations between the two countries.

    Asked to comment on recent criticism of her personally by main opposition PASOK leader and former foreign minister George Papandreou, Bakoyannis stressed that "foreign policy does not proffer itself either for manufactured disagreements or for virtual clashes".

    Referring to the upcoming Congress of ruling New Democracy (ND) party next month, the foreign minister sent a message of unity while, asked whether early general elections would be called, replied that this was an issue that was exclusively under the domain of the prime minister.

    Her interview appeared in the Sunday edition of the Thessaloniki-based newspaper "Macedonia".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis.

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