Gov't spokesman on summit results, revenue slump

Commenting on the results of the recent European Union summit, government spokesman George Petalotis on Monday stressed that the decisions concerning Greece fully vindicated the government's strategy and ensured a smoother course toward exiting the crisis.

These decisions would renew the country's prospects and forward momentum, significantly lightening the load so that the government could make vital changes that were not obvious and easy to accomplish.

He also promised that there would not be a new round of cuts to wages and pensions this year, stressing that the government was aware that other methods would have to be sought in order to protect growth and liquidity.

Pointing out that the government had been expecting a deep recession in this half of 2011, he said these alternative methods to raise revenues would be decided during the discussion of the medium-term fiscal adjustment programme.

Asked to comment on objections voiced by environment minister Tina Birbili to the prospect of privatising strategic utilities, such as the Public Power Corporation or the Athens water and sewage company EYDAP, Petalotis said the minister had not departed from the government line on this issue.

"She spoke about public control of the specific enterprises and not, of course, management," he said, adding that public control could be achieved through a variety of methods. He refused to elaborate further, however, noting that the discussion on the issue was "premature" since no firm decision had yet been made.

Stressing that the government had a "single position" on these issues, he also urged reporters to stop speculating about the possibility of a reshuffle, saying there was no such issue.

"We are interesting in meeting our targets, doing our jobs and when we do this we get results," he emphasised.

Commenting on the shortfall in revenues and what the government intends to do, Petalotis noted that there were "many parameters" to the issue, including the fact that growth in conditions of crisis was not possible, but that this "has nothing to do with a reshuffle".

Questioned about a protest against road tolls held on Sunday, during which activists allowed drivers to go through the tolls without paying, Petalotis said the government was opposed to this form of protest "which does not help correct the distortions that exist at the road tolls".

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