Pikrammenos sees 'dangerous' inertia ahead of elections

Greece’s general election on Sunday cannot come soon enough, the outgoing prime minister said on Friday, as he warned of a ”dangerous inertia” in state operations and ”critical” decisions lying ahead. ”There is dangerous inertia in critical state areas such as tax collection,” caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos told his administration’s closing cabinet meeting, his office said.

”There are critical issues pending that require political decisions in the coming weeks,” the 67-year-old said.

The finance ministry has reportedly admitted that Greece only has money left to pay salaries and pensions until late July, and state revenue is officially 666 million euros ($836 million) short of a target 18.8 billion euros for the first five months of the year.

Pikrammenos said also his government had taken action during its one-month term to avert an electricity blackout during a liquidity shortage among power providers, and warned that tough times lay ahead for Greece’s vital tourism industry.
”The tourism season ahead looks poor -- or at least worse than last year’s,” he said.

Formerly head of Greece’s top administrative court, Pikrammenos and a team of fellow technocrats took over in May to prepare the country for fresh elections after an inconclusive ballot failed to produce a workable majority on May 6.
The Sunday ballot is seen by many as a Greek referendum on the euro, as one of the possible victors is a radical leftist party that has pledged to tear up the country’s bailout agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

European leaders have warned Athens of a loan freeze if reform promises are broken, leading to mounting speculation that the country could even be forced to leave the eurozone.

”It would not be an exaggeration to say that the (electoral) result can define the future of younger generations in Europe and have an important impact on developments in Europe,” the prime minister said on Friday. [AFP]


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