ND leader addresses Economist conference

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, addressing the Economist's conference at an Athens seaside resort on Wednesday evening, gave a reply to European Union officials, terming as "improper intervention" their recent appeals for consensus among the political forces in Greece.
"The country has a constitution, institutions and a government as well as an opposition and dignity. In any case, it appears that the tones are falling from Brussels on an improper intervention which does not fit neither with Europe nor with democracy. And, in any case, we do not negotiate the constitutional order of our country, we don't even discuss it. And on this, I am certain, all agree. I shall say nothing more on this, nor is it necessary."

Samaras also cut short the discussion on censensus, saying "nobody has the right to place his failure on someone else. We disagreeed with government policy since last year. We warned of its failure. And now that it has been proved that our criticism was correct, now that more and more are confessing this failure, shall we say 'yes' to the continuation of a mistake? I am obliged, as the opposition, to consent to the mistake? On what grounds?".

He added that the opposition does not exist to consent to the government's mistakes but to formulate alternative solutions.

Samaras further said that the basis for the country's exit from the crisis is the proposal he submitted, last week, at the Zappion Hall on the restarting of the Greek economy, that must be taken in its entirety to produce results and not fragmentally. He clarified, however, that "it will be lost in its entirety if it is not adopted in its entirety, if there is no restarting totally with a creative shock. However the government does not accept this. It accepts, as it says, 'some others'. What can we do with the 'others'".

The ND leader said that Greece is in the eye of the global cyclone and a year after the implementation of the memorandum its position has worsened and added that "the main reason for the failure was the plan itself" and explained that the implementation of measures of harsh austerity with a decrease in public expenditures and an increase in taxes worsened the recession.

"We are the first to want our country to avoid bankruptcy. The policy being applied today, however, is leading us to bankruptcy," Samaras said.

He went on to say that the sacrifices of the Greek people were in vain and added that "with curbing measures amounting to 10.1% of GDP, last year, in 2010, the deficit decreased only by 2.6%. The rest were 'eaten' by the recession."

Samaras also said the troika's predictions failed and stressed that "as an economist I must point out the problem of ineffectiveness. And as a politician I must warn of tensions that are boiling and of explosions that are in the making."

The ND leader said all these constitue "economic gymnastics in futility. What else, at last, do they need to understand that what is being implemented in Greece is the mistaken recipe."

Lastly, Samaras concluded that "the memorandum caused a deep and prolonged recession," adding that "the recession does not allow the curtbacks to appear in the deficit. The recession is not allowing the revenues to increase. The recession is not allowing the privatisations to take place, so that they will bring money to the state revenue office."

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