Government spokesman George Petalotis on Tuesday spoke of a "long road of negotiations" with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika', stressing that nothing will be 'gifted' to Greece and that "the changes needed and strict devotion to the targets for better results are our own issue".
Replying to press questions during a regular briefing, Petalotis warned against "cultivating expectations" given that the negotiation was continuing, adding that "the fact that we are discussing the fifth tranche (of the EU-IMF bailout loan to Greece) means that, in having received the four previous tranches, we have achieved much".
On opposition criticism that the Memorandum policy has failed, Petalotis countered that "not only have we not failed, but the recession is receding and positive signs are appearing", adding that outside "they are saying that we have
To another question, he said that the need for immediate results was the basic difference between main opposition New Democracy's (ND) proposal on taxation and the policy being followed by the government.
"We need immediate results and if ND's proposals (for reduction of tax rates) could bring about equivalent results we would accept them. But ND's proposals will not bring immediate results, and we cannot wait 2-3 years (for the measures proposed by ND to produce results)," the spokesman added.
To another question, he left open the prospect of a meeting between prime minister George Papandreou and ND leader Antonis Samaras, "when there are points for consensus", adding that what is being sought is for everyone to agree on an "axis of consensus" because that is what is demanded by the country's interests.
Petalotis further rejected as "ungrounded exaggerations" press speculation that "foreigners" will assume the task of the denationalisations, explaining that only technical assistance will be asked, adding that "neither will our tax bureau offices be managed by outsiders, nor will the denationalisations be decided by outsiders".
On speculation that some public utilities and organisations (DEKO) will be shut down, including the state radio and television foundation ERT, Petalotis passed them off as "science fiction scenarios" and something "between thriller and comedy".