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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-01-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] SYRIZA spokesman explains party leader's decision not to attend Greek EU presidency events
  • [02] EU presidency is a major challenge for Greece, FinMin says

  • [01] SYRIZA spokesman explains party leader's decision not to attend Greek EU presidency events

    The main opposition leader's decision not to attend the opening ceremonies for Greece's assumption of the EU presidency is based on the government's unwillingness to take advantage of the presidency to deal with the economic crisis, including the failure of the loan memorandum, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) spokesman Panos Skourletis told ANA-MPA in an interview on Wednesday.

    "The political meaning of (SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras') non-participation in today's events is related to the government's refusal to use this presidency to place the great issue of European perspective in general and of European strategy face-to-face with the issues of the economic crisis, and (the government's refusal) to talk about the universal failure of the memorandum programme," Skourletis said, referring to the fiscal adjustment programme which is part of Greece's loan terms.

    "Instead of this, we are seeing the government's pronouncements following the line of non-questioning of these prevailing strategic choices which, for our country at least, have helped spread everywhere poverty, misery and have become front-line news in the European press, in negative terms," he charged.

    The party spokesman also linked Tsipras' decision to what he claimed was Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' "attempts to postpone the arrival of the European Parliament committee to review the troika of lenders' work" in Greece, something he further claimed "shows that Samaras cannot take advantage the committee's research to expose most tangibly to European public opinion where the memorandum has taken us."

    Commenting on a decision banning all large open gatherings in Athens for Wednesday, Skourletis accused Samaras of "participating in this celebratory fiesta wearing a costume of authoritarianism," charging the premier with "exposing Greece to ridicule internationally and in Europe....The operation of democracy in Greece, by extension, brings to mind states of a grand authoritarianism and a regime of extensive oppression."

    Skourletis' full interview can be accessed by subscribers at ANA-MPA's website.

    Gov't spokesman on Tsipras' decision not to attend the EU presidency ceremony

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Wednesday strongly cricised main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras for his decision not to attend the official opening ceremony of the Greek EU presidency.

    "Tsipras presents himself as a candidate president of the European Union while refusing to attend the official opening ceremony for the assumption of the EU presidency from his own country," according to a government spokesman announcement.

    PASOK condemns Tsipras's abstention from the Greek presidency opening event

    "The absence of Alexis Tsipras from the opening ceremony of the Greek presidency demonstrates a profound contempt for the institutions of the European Union, in which Tsipras claims a role as he runs for president of the European Commission", PASOK's press office said in a statement.

    "In relation to the counteraccusations on terrorism issues, on a day that our country officially assumes the presidency of the European Union and is in the spotlight, we need to demonstrate seriousness and be responsible and not engage in purely clashes of a promotional type that maintain an artificial bipolarity and offer nothing to the needs of the country and its citizens".

    [02] EU presidency is a major challenge for Greece, FinMin says

    The assumption of EU presidency is a major challenge for Greece which is called to deal with a series of complex and demanding issues, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told foreign correspondents during a press conference on Wednesday.

    "Fiscal consolidation in Europe still continues and the first signs of recovery are already visible. Unemployment rates have stabilized, although they recently reached unacceptably high levels, especially in the countries implementing adjustment programmes," Stournaras said admitting that social conditions though remain difficult. "For that reason, there is an urgent need to focus our policies on strengthening social cohesion and ensuring stability and prosperity for all citizens," he added.

    "Thanks to the sacrifices of the Greek people and the support of our European partners, we were able to stand up and prove our commitment to the European value of solidarity," Stournaras underlined, adding that "we have assumed the presidency not as a country in crisis, but as a country in recovery."

    Referring to Greece's return to markets, Stournaras was cautiously optimistic saying that "the country will have limited access to international markets in the second half of 2014."

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