PM Papandreou, PES president address joint press conference

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Party of European Socialists (PES) President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, addressing a joint press conference on the occasion of the convening in Athens of the directorate of PES, stressed that the European Union does not have the luxury of not taking correct decisions at its summit on March 25.

They also stressed that Europe needs vision and will and Papandreou said that Europe needs innovative tools, such as the Eurobond and the tax on fiscal transactions.

On his part, Rasmussen said it is time for a wide support mechanism to be created and in parallel the interest rates of the loaning of Greece and Ireland to decrease.

Both Rasmussen and Papandreou placed responsibility for the present situation and the difficulty in the taking of decisions on Europe's conservative majority and mainly on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "Europe is in mistaken plans," the PES president said.

Rasmussen further said that the PES will present an alternative plan to the conservatives' competitiveness plan that concerns both growth and fiscal matters.

Replying to relevant questions, Rasmussen said that the conservative leaders must not only look at money but the future of Europe as well. Papandreou stressed that Greece has taken bold decisions and added that the crisis in Greece is not a model for the rest of Europe.

Both Papandreou and Rasmussen said that the competitiveness Pact is not an answer to the crisis. They added that Europe has possibilities to create the calm which markets consider essential, but the conservative leaderships do not provide this possibility.

Replying to a question on the imposition of a tax on fiscal transactions and whether it can drive the markets out of Europe, Rasmussen said that with a minimum percentage that is being proposed by the socialists 340 to 350 billion euros can be found.

Papandreou and Rasmusen were asked about the absence of the prime ministers of Spain and Portugal from the PES conference, attributing it to the pressures they are sustaining from the markets at this time. Papandreou also said the two countries are being targeted unfairly and that Europe could stop the raid against them with the issuing of a Eurobond.

Lastly, replying to a question on how important the date of March 25 is for Greece, Papandreou said it is an important milestone but in the event that the decisions will not be the expected ones Greece will proceed and support itself on its own forces.

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