“Any statements and criticism, on behalf of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party as regards the deficit, are not credible” because ND “is accountable for its unprecedented actions,” government spokesman George Petalotis said on Tuesday.
Petalotis commented on statements made by alternate ND economy sector heads Christos Staikouras and Notis Mitarakis on the 2010 fiscal figures.

“The Greek people will not forget easily that in 2009 the then ND government budget predicted a 2 pct deficit, while in September, just before the elections, it was estimated at 6 pct to finally reach 15.4 pct. Speaking in plain language, the deficit was miscalculated by 30 billion euros,” he stressed.

Petalotis stated that “the current government achieved the largest deficit reduction in the EU for 2010. The 5 pct reduction in one year is unprecedented for Greece and every other Eurozone country. This was achieved in circumstances of economic recession and in an absolutely transparent manner. The Eurostat announcement showed a deviation in a completely fluid environment characterized by major problems in cutting public sector expenditures while facing difficulties in collecting revenues and social insurance fund contributions.”

Petalotis accused ND of “undermining the national effort”, adding that ND leader Antonis Samaras “continues to engage in opposition founded on unproductive criticism, while systematically questioning the achievements and sacrifices made by the Greek people.”

Earlier, ND’s alternate economy sector head Christos Staikouras had accused the government of “failing to meet its goals both as regards the debt and the deficit”, commenting on the 2010 fiscal figures released according to which, deficit was 10.5 pct of the GDP.

“The deviations recorded will lead to the adoption of new supplementary measures estimated to earn roughly 2.5 billion euros to close the new ‘hole’ in the deficit,” Staikouras stated, underlining that “the government’s economic policy is without prospect and a change of policy is imperative”.

Alternative economic sector head Notis Mitarakis underlined that “economic growth and social cohesion are prerequisites in the effort to reform public finances”, adding that “the memorandum signed was proved to be ineffective leading to skyrocketing unemployment and more enterprises going out of business as foreseen by ND”.