Samaras: No to consensus leading to con't mistakes

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Tuesday again rejected government overtures for his party's consensus to the government's economic policy, speaking immediately after the conclusion of a meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou.
"I will not agree with the proven erroneous recipe of the (EC-ECB-IMF) Memorandum," he said point-blank, adding that the government is subjecting the people to new sacrifices without any prospect, "as past mistakes are merely being repeated." 

"Society demands consensus in order to change (the country's) direction and not consensus at top level for us to remain stuck in the same impasse," he continued. 

"I will not give such consensus," Samaras stressed.

The ND leader also noted the economic policy proposal he recently unveiled, the so-called Zappeion 2, warning that if a "creative shock" was not effected through reduction of taxes combined with containment of wasteful spending by the state and bold denationalisations of a developmental nature, there will be no restarting of the economy.

With the Zappeion 2, "I showed the way to restarting the economy and renegotiating the terms of the Memorandum," Samaras said, and accused the government of not daring to restart the economy and not even considering renegotiation.

The government, he added, is "repeating the same mistake, which exceeds the limits of the economy's and the Greek people's endurance", whereas ND remains opposed and is advancing the restarting of the economy as the only way to exit the crisis.

Samaras further criticised the measures being advanced by the government, accusing it of "burdening the economy with new taxes, thus paralyzing the very last productive vestige of the country, and bringing more recession, rather than smaller deficits".

He accused Papandreou personally of "insisting on the same failed recipe in view of negotiations with the Troika" and of intimating at new tax "raids", new across-the-board cutbacks at the expense of those who have paid the price and can endure no more.

Outlining the main aspects of his own policy, Samaras noted that the basic "ingredient" of ND's proposal for restarting the economy is reduction of the tax rates, especially since the asphyxiation of the market is due to the government's policy of excessive taxation.

He further expressed reservations on even the possible points of convergence on the Medium-Term Program being drafted by the government.

"The only new element in the government's policy is the denationalisations, but in many instances they give the impression that they are heading to a sell-off without a developmental dimension and with meager results in a dilapidated stockmarket. We are in favor of denationalisations, but opposed to the hasty sell-off and to panic-stricken cash collecting measures," Samaras said.

Assessing the government's measures announced so far, Samaras said that isolated positive elements existed, such as the contracts for exploitation of the country’s ports and airports -- which he said ND had proposed as early as December 2009 -- and Papandreou's seeming intention to adopt some other of the Zappeion 2 proposals, such as the repatriation of capital and reserve labor.

"But a few positive elements in an overall mistake do not provide a solution," he warned.

Samaras further charged that no one in the government, has to date, given an explanation as to why the recipe so far has failed and why no one is assuming the responsibility for the sacrifices that have gone to waste.

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