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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-01-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' interview with Austria's Kurier newspaper

  • [01] Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' interview with Austria's Kurier newspaper

    ANA-MPA -- "Our biggest concern is to ensure that there will be economic growth, economic recovery and new job positions and this also constitutes an EU priority," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras underlined in an interview published in the large-circulation Austrian newspaper Kurier.

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    Samaras referred to the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency, unemployment and migration, the results achieved by the government in the economic sector and the existence of a neo-Nazi party in Greece saying that it is a "shame".

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    The newspaper mentioned in the interview introduction that this is "one of the rare interviews by the Greek prime minister", noting that he governs Greece since 2012 displaying determination. It underlined that he has succeeded in implementing deep reforms and tough austerity programmes to ensure that Greece will move out of a precarious position such as was the case in 2010 and 2011 when no one knew if the country would go bankrupt and leave the eurozone.

    Referring to the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency, the prime minister underlined that the EU agenda will have to be promoted, including the implementation of the banking union.

    Samaras noted that unemployment is the biggest problem for Greece, at 27 pct, while youth unemployment has risen to 60 pct, adding that another equally important issue is migration.

    Referring to youth unemployment, he said that an entire generation is being affected, underlining that startup companies in the sector of high technology are being subsidized in order to deal with the problem. He said that international companies have been expressing interest in the younger generation's inventions while similar things are happening in the sector of tourism as well. He also noted that a new investment law is "rolling out the red carpet for new investors".

    On the issue of illegal migration, the prime minister said that the number of the unemployed in Greece is very high, as is the number of illegal migrants, and the combination of both can create an explosive mixture that could threaten social cohesion, which in turn would intensify political problems, all of which would destabilize the country; such a development has to be prevented, he underlined.

    Samaras backed a common EU policy on migration, which is also what European citizens want and added that reacting after the event to a refugee tragedy, like the one in Lampedusa, is not enough, but action should be taken to prevent such tragedies from happening.

    Referring to a recent incident, when a boat with Afghan refugees ran aground in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, he said that these people paid thousands of US dollars and that somebody made huge profits. "This mafia, these mobsters" make huge profits to the detriment of poor people, he said "and if they are not captured, these human traffickers will continue doing their job."

    Responding to a question on the "prescription" he used that contributed to the "successes, the 2013 budget deficit reduction, the small primary surplus achieved and the anticipated economic growth in 2014 that have made Greece more stable under his government," the prime minister said that the budget deficit reduction and the economic reform are the most important.

    The prime minister said that after six years of recession, of rising unemployment and big sacrifices by the people, revenues exceeded expenditures in 2013. He also said that during the economic crisis economic performance was down 25 pct, tax revenues dropped and people lost 38 pct of their income, noting that when someone achieves primary surplus under such circumstances it means that he has done his best.

    He said that he did what he had to do and implemented structural reforms, noting the important role played by Johannes Hahn (the Austrian European Commissioner for Regional Policy) considering that the EU infrastructure funds are of vital importance for Greece.

    He clarified that the EU funds are not exclusively channelled to infrastructure but they also go to SMEs promoting innovation, contributing to a new investment environment, speedier economic growth and structural reforms. He also pointed out that a record number of tourists visited Greece in 2013 adding that that tourism sector revenues are of major importance.

    Responding to a question on whether there is an intention to outlaw the neo-Nazi party of Golden Dawn, he said that in a democracy no additional weapons are needed against particular enemies and that in the fight against the neo-Nazis Greece uses the weapons available in a democracy. He pointed out that the leadership of the specific political party is in prison and that justice is doing its job. He also said that in his opinion the existence of a neo-Nazi party was a "shame", adding however, that the people who have voted for it are not neo-Nazis and that they are voting for the party as a reaction to recession and unemployment.


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