PM: Legislation to prohibit sale or transfer of public land

Prime minister George Papandreou on Tuesday announced that the government will take a legislative initiative in the next few days that will prohibit the sale or transfer of ownership of public land.

Addressing a greeting to the first meeting of the National Council on Life-Long Learning and connection with Employment, Papandreou added that he will ask all the political parties, through dialogue, to agree to such a legislative regulation and at a later time, with the revision of the Constitution, that this be contained in the Constitution as well.

Papandreou added that only Parliament will be given the authority to decide on the transfer of small expanses of land.

This, he said, is the government's reply to the current conjuncture but also in the long-term, and reiterated: "Our firm position is -- and I say this to everyone inside and outside the country who have not appreciated it -- that we are talking about exploitation of the state assets for development and for debt repayment. The term 'exploitation' should not be confused with the term 'sale'. Greece is not selling its land."

"Our obligation is to make deep-rooted changes and rid the country of dependence and Memorandums. No one is proud that, every so often, some gentlemen come and inspect our work," Papandreou said in an indirect reference to the EU-IMF troika's recent press conference in Athens and ensuing reactions.

ND on PM's statement on public property

The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Tuesday accused Prime Minister George Papandreou of "an attempt to mock and deceive the people", regarding the announcement of a legislative initiative prohibiting the sale of large expanses of public land.

ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis said in a statement "Papandreou himself in the loan contract he has signed, in article 14 paragraph 5, recognises for the country's debtors the right to proceed with the confiscation, not only of the public sector's private property, but also of state property set for serving a public purpose.

"Mr. Papandreou insists on handling crucial issues with communication fireworks," Mihelakis said.

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