Finance minister Evangelos Venizelos told a parliamentary committee on Friday that every effort will be made to avert more measures, but added that he could not commit himself on that. "It is not possible to come out with new measures every so often," Venizelos said, but added that "I cannot state to you that I will not recommend again the imposition of new additional measures".
"I can assure you, however, that together with my associates we are making every possible effort to execute the budget without additional measures, but this will depend on the results of the tax administration," the new finance minister told parliament's Standing Committee on Economic Affairs during the second reading of the Medium-Term fiscal programme before it goes to the parliamentary for debate and vote on Monday and Tuesday.
"I also share your concern, and that of all the Greek citizens, on where the country is today. I must say, however, that only if we work in a disciplined and systematic manner will the country do well," he said.
Referring several times to "unjust measures", Venizelos said that Greece did not have any time, economic and political margins for other solutions vis-a-vis its lenders. "We were not in a position to make the choices we would have wanted, and are obliged to adopt a specific framework with unjust measures," he said.
The finance minister described the tax burden as "inconceivably big", especially that of "those who are obliged to declare their incomes", adding, however, that these must be accompanied by counterbalancing measures immediately after June 30 (the deadline for parliament's ratification of the Medium-Term programme and its Implementation Law for disbursement of the 5th tranche of the EU-IMF bailout loan to Greece).
Venizelos pledged that "every possible effort" will be made to "correct the great injustices".
However, "you should know that opposite us we meet up against a wall", he said, adding that "the items and the numbers" had needed to be finalized.
"It is we who are accountable to people, but unfortunately our interlocutors appreciate only numbers. In order for the list to be accepted by our lenders, we were forced to resort to heavy measures, especially in income tax," Venizelos said.
"We are called on to take decisions that concern not only the next parliament, but the parliaments of the next decades. After the 'hard core' of the crisis, which we anticipate will be in 2015, Greece can once again find itself in the group of normal, independent countries, it will be able, albeit with distrust, to be in the markets again".
Venizelos once again appealed for consensus, calling on all to shoulder their responsibilities, adding that "this should emanate from the instinct of national conscience, and not be imposed by the partners".
The finance minister said that his invitation to main opposition New Democracy (ND) and all the other opposition parties "to go to the negotiation (with the troika) together" still stands, adding that this invitation could easily be accepted because "these are subjects on which the opposition places importance".