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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-04-22

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Target of reducing deficit by 4 pct remains

  • [01] PM: Target of reducing deficit by 4 pct remains

    The target of reducing the deficit by four percentage points in 2010 remains and has not changed, Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed on Thursday. He was responding to news that Eurostat had revised Greece's deficit for 2009 upwards, from 12.7 percent of GDP to 13.6 percent of GDP.

    The premier was addressing a meeting of the Cabinet that he called so that the government might learn of the latest developments concerning the economy from himself and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.

    The prime minister referred to mistakes of the past but also noted that much had been achieved in the major battle waged over the last few months, while stressing that many difficult battles still lay ahead due to the unprecedented crisis the country was going through, the like of which had never been faced by any government in the past.

    "It is our historic duty to take every decision that averts the worst for Greeks," he said.

    Referring to the reactions toward the involvement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the premier called for a more level-headed approach. "Enough with the fear and panic," he said, pointing out that Greece was already under the supervision of the EU and the IMF because of the deficit and debt created by the criminal policy followed by the previous New Democracy government.

    On the European support mechanism for Greece, he said that this was a success for both Greece and Europe and that it had been set up in a very short space of time by European standards.

    Describing the current period as a "time of national emergency," Papandreou said the government's focus was now on the major changes needed by the country. He stressed that Greece had to change completely, even in the way that governments had been used to working up until now.

    Attack on New Democracy

    During his address, the prime minister was particularly stinging in his attack on main opposition New Democracy and the governments of 2004-2009, saying that they had been guilty of a "crime against the country". At the same time, he acknowledged that the governments preceding that of ND also bore their share of blame for the current state of Greece's economy.

    He particularly slammed what he called "the usual suspects," who had strenuously asserted throughout 2009 that Greece's deficit remained a single-digit figure that did not exceed 9 percent, naming ND as the political force behind those claims.

    Greeks know where the country would be today if their vote last October had not changed the country's course, Papandreou stressed. The fact that Greece was in a position to use the support mechanism in order to borrow was the result of a great effort made by all, he added.

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