PM: 'We will deliver a different Greece in 2013'

"My sole interest is to deliver a different Greece in 2013, one that is not at risk from crises and can look to the future with confidence," Prime Minister George Papandreou said while addressing ruling PASOK's Parliamentary group on Friday.

Stressing that the aim was to make the country better and not return to the past, he underlined that the road map he had earlier unveiled to the cabinet was the only sure path for exiting the crisis, rejecting the proposals of the opposition that he said would further undermine the country and lead to default.

"We will follow the sure path for saving and fixing Greece," he told PASOK MPs, adding that he did not care if he only got one term as Greek prime minister as a result.

Papandreou described the road map was "ambitious, hopeful and realistic", with citizens as its protagonists, and said that he was determined to "proceed with those that want our country to change, who make up the overwhelming majority of society".

Referring to economic policy, the prime minister ruled out further 'horizontal' cuts to wages and pensions but also horizontal tax increases on individuals and businesses, promising that the measures would be targeted and almost entirely focused on fight tax evasion.

Among the government's priorities, the prime minister listed a future revision of the Constitution that he said would not be merely "technical" but create a new charter for the country and he referred to plans for a Charter of Social Rights that would ensure a decent minimum standard of living for all.

He also pointed out that the battlefield for the fight to change the country would be the state.

Referring to the state of the country, the prime minister said that the government had made great strides in saving Greece from bankruptcy but that the situation was still crucial.

"We are still in intensive care, it is just that last year we were saved at the last minute," he said, adding that the problem was now not to make a diagnosis but to cure the disease.

He made no firm predictions about when Greece would exit the crisis, saying only that a concerted effort might bring about a recovery as soon as 2012 and that Greece now had a unique opportunity not to put itself in the same position again.

The prime minister also defended the government's decision to sign to the memorandum, saying that the resort to the mechanism of Ireland and Portugal had proved that this had been inevitable, while he strongly criticised all speculation concerning a possible debt restructuring as dangerous.

More controversially, he claimed that the recession was not a result of the Memorandum but had existed beforehand, noting that the rate at which the economy was shrinking had already slowing and the country could well have returned to positive growth by 2012.

Stressing that Greece's EU partners also wanted to see the country succeed, since this success would also be theirs, Papandreou urged his MPs not to succumb to the voices of pessimism that wanted nothing in Greece to change. He praised the part played by PASOK's MPs, noting that they had offered not only criticism but also support for the government's work.

He ended by asking Greek people to support "the common effort" and said that consensus was not only achieved in Parliament and on talk shows but also in society, stressing that the road map was "a very specific plan that will lead us from recession to growth".

PM Papandreou chairs ruling party's meeting

Prime Minister and ruling PASOK President George Papandreou chaired a meeting of the party's political council on Friday evening.

According to reports, Papandreou said that the "roadmap" for Greece up to the year 2013, which he unveiled earlier in the day during a cabinet meeting, was a proposal for dialogue and that all issues would be debated in the course leading to the party's national conference.

PASOK government's term in office expires in October 2013.

Εγγραφείτε στο newsletter μας

Ενημερωθείτε πρώτοι για τα τελευταία νέα, αποκλειστικά ρεπορταζ και ειδήσεις απο όλο τον κόσμο