The new government spokesman on Tuesday underlined, during a regular press briefing, that “the meetings Prime Minister George Papandreou has with the European leaders are useful. Crucial issues will not be settled by staying in Athens”. "It is important that the contacts will have results,” government spokesman Elias Mossialos said, adding that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman van Rompuy appreciate the efforts made by the Greek premier.
Commenting on a telephone communication between newly appointed Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, the government spokesman referred to announcements the finance minister is expected to make on the way the law that will execute the programme will be voted on in Parliament.
As per the all-important medium-term fiscal strategic programme, Mossialos stressed that it will be voted by all 155 PASOK MPs, while he made it clear that it will not be passed with fewer votes, even if all opposition parties decide to walk out.
On his part, a spokesman for main opposition New Democracy (ND) party confirmed the telephone communication between Samaras and Venizelos.
According to ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis, the finance minister told Samaras that a positive vote by the opposition of the mid-term programme and the law that will execute it has not been set as a precondition, while Samaras pointed out that ND has no objections to the timetable agreed to at the Eurogroup, namely, a vote by June 30.
Mihelakis clarified that ND's stance vis-à-vis the medium-term fiscal programme vote will be negative.
Commenting on the extension of the bailout loan repayment period and a possible interest rate reduction, he stressed that there has been no negotiation on behalf of the government.
Moreover, Mihelakis lashed out at the new government spokesman, stressing that insults have replaced political arguments.
Commenting on the Bavarian state premier’s statements as regards the stance of ND, Mihelakis stressed that a disinformation campaign on ND’s positions has originated from Athens, adding that “it is misinformation that ND invites the people to take to the streets and that it does not want privatizations”.
Asked about a Public Power Corp. (PPC) strike by the affiliated union, Mihelakis said “they should put the consumers first” and accused the government of pitting one social group against the other. He also blamed the government for continuing to protect the privileges of certain public utilities’ employees.
Finally, Mihelakis expressed satisfaction over results in the elections for the new board of directors at the medical associations of Athens and Piraeus, where the ND-affiliated candidates won the majority.