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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis: Reforms and changes are continuing with vision, broad social consensus

  • [01] PM Karamanlis: Reforms and changes are continuing with vision, broad social consensus

    Reforms and changes are continuing in accordance to planning, with a programme and a vision for the country, prime minister Costas Karamanlis said Sunday, addressing the pre-Congress of his ruling New Democracy party (ND) for the Peloponnese and Western Greece held in the western port city of Patras, where he announced the imminent establishment of a minimum national pension, and reiterated his government's commitment that 80 percent of the national and EU funds from the new National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF for the new Programming Period covering 2007-2013) will be chanelled to the Periphery.

    In his address to the pre-Congress, which covered the economy, development, employment and social cohesion, Karamanlis said that the study for the establishment of a Minimum National Pension (MNP), which he had announced on March 22, was nearing completion, adding that the MNP would be above the poverty level, and stressing that it was one more important step in the direction of a dignified existence for pensioners "whose incomes today are below the poverty level". He said announcements would be forthcoming soon by the national economy and finance minister and the employment and social protection minister on this issue.

    The premier also announced that the creation of a National Social Cohesion Fund was also being prepared in tandem, adding that 2 billion euros would be earmarked in the state budget for the Fund over the next five years.

    "Our choice is targeted interventions to support those who are truly in need," Karamanlis said, adding that this applied to the poor households, the single-parent families, the unemployed, and families with three children, to which the "large family" (four children and up) benefit would be extended.

    He said a series of measures have already been instituted and applied aimed at equating the three-children families with the large families, and the government was now proceeding to the next major step, which was the allocation of the large-family benefit to the three-children families as well.

    "Within 2008, our commitment for equating the three-children families with the large families is becoming, too, a reality. It is an obligation of social responsibility. It is one more step of a modern social state that meets the needs of the Greek family," the premier said.

    At another point in his address, Karamanlis made special mention of the course of the reforms and the reinforcement of regional development, noting that "the changes and reforms are continuing with planning, a programme and a vision for our country".

    He said that the National Strategic Reference Framework for the new Programming Period focused on boosting regional development and exploitation of its traditional advantages.

    The premier reiterated that 80 percent of the national and community resources of the new Framework were being chanelled to the Greek periphery. "This is not a promise. It is a commitment that is becoming action. It is a plan that is already underway. A plan for the Greece that is becoming more competive, more extroverted, more attractive. A plan for investment in the New Knowledge, in constant improvement of the developmental environment, the ensurance of new opportunities for creation and employment. A plan that increases the national wealth and more fairly metes out the divident of growth," Karamanlis said.

    The government's choice, he explained, is to tackle all the problems at their roots. "This is what we said, what we are doing, and what we will continue to do, both up until the elections, as well as afterwards," he said.

    Stressing the need for the reforms, the premier noted that "the problems have no (political) colour, and it is always necessary for the citizens to know the truth, to know where we are, where we want to go, and how we will get there".

    Addressing himself to the main opposition PASOK party, Karamanlis said that: "Some are bothered when they hear the truth. Some demand that we say nothing about all these. They fear the past and feign amnesia. They attempt to present the old as something new, to confuse, to falsify, to distort, to create 'grey' images. They supposedly agree that reforms are needed, but oppose then all. Their efforts are in vain, and they know it. The reforms will not stop, because the are necessary and produce benefit for everyone".

    "The falsification and distortion will not come to pass because the citizens know the truth. We will not ignore the problems, nor their causes," the premier said.

    Karamanlis further stressed that "the quintessence of our policy is the human being", adding that "our goal is the creation of more opportunities for all the citizens: in education, career, creation, progress", and, for this purpose, the government was following a "structured reform strategy that is producing tangible results".

    He said that the government wanted all the citizens to be participants in that course.

    "The citizens very well know that the changes and reforms are a national cause. It is a duty that unites everyone on the common road for a tangible vision. The road of development and progress. The road that leads to a clear-cut goal: A better life for all. The strong, broad social alliance of the changes, the large social majority of the reforms backed us and continues to back us on this road. We are continuing on this road, all together. Greece will not turn back. It is moving ahead steadfastly, with certainty, confidence and optimism," the premier concluded.

    Earlier, Karamanlis visited the Diakoniaris torrent riverbed in Patras, where diversion and anti-flooding work is currently underway.

    He noted that for years the residents of Patras lived with the nightmare of the Diakoniaris, lives were lost, and immense material damages were caused, by the flooding from the torrent. Although the citizens had in the past heard many promises, they had seen no projects being carried out.

    Conversely, the ND government "said that we will solve the problem, and that is what we're doing", the premier said, noting that the 60 million euro project was proceeding at a rapid pace and would be completed by early 2008.

    "We put forward the truth of our work in answer to populism, distortion and negation," Karamanlis added.

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