Politics PM: 'We will lead the way out of crisis'

While chairing a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister George Papandreou reportedly blamed the latest plunge of market confidence in Greek debt on the complexity of the debt crisis but also 'dissonance', as he said, within the European Union, government sources said. Referring to the 'road map' he presented before Easter, he stressed that this had outlined the framework for putting the economy in order and that the plan that the government would unveil in a few days would help bring the country out of the crisis.

The prime minister strongly criticised those recycling speculation that Greece will restructure its debt and pointed out that similar scenarios centring on a Greek default had been circulating a year earlier, before Greece signed the agreements for the 110-billion-euro loans from the IMF and European Union.

He stressed that rampant speculation and fear-mongering should not be allowed to dominate politics and the media, or to affect the government's responsible attitude toward tackling the crisis.

Papandreou was also scathing in his criticism of media pundits and political parties, saying the majority preferred to prophesy doom and, at times inadvertently, linked themselves with specific interests.

The prime minister pointed out that much had been done in the year since Greece had signed the Memorandum for the EU-IMF loans, most of which would not have been predicted by even the most optimistic.

He emphasised that the government should focus on doing its job and also commented on rumours of early elections or a reshuffle, saying these were issues that were minor compared with the major and significant problems facing the country. The government did not have the luxury to waste time on such issues, he added.
"We have an obligation to use all our strength to achieve the fiscal targets that are a condition for our country's success and to carry out the major changes that are our goal," Papandreou emphasised.

In a later report dealing with the Cabinet meeting, Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou underlined that a "deficit of unity", effectiveness and determination is being observed lately, adding that the talks on debt restructuring will intensify ahead of the next troika visit.

On his part, Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the government will have to adopt a firm stance as regards the debt restructuring issue and called for an institutional intervention by the EU to prevent relevant discussions during the troika visit.

The government’s medium-term plan was not discussed in the cabinet meeting. However, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos expressed reservations as regards the operation of the justice system.

The ministry of finance intents to finish with the technical details of the medium-term plan by the end of next week and settle additional details concerning different government ministries while deciding on the “ceiling” that will be placed on expenditures. 

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