PM to Parliament: Mid-term programme 'only opportunity'

Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking in Parliament during the debate on the Medium-term Fiscal Strategy Programme on Monday evening, expressed a conviction that his ruling party's Parliamentary group "will do its duty in the future".
He also stressed that the vote on the mid-term programme "is not merely a national and patriotic obligation, but an opportunity for all forces that want to leave the crisis behind them; that want reforms; that want a better homeland."

"I am not asking for you to hear the outside pressures, but rather your soul, your patriotic conscience. The vote on the Medium-term Programme is the only opportunity that our country has to stand on its feet. This is the ... necessary intermediate stage for the country to function. We are building our credibility with hard work. Because the credibility deficit is the primary deficit of the country," he added.

The premier accused the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party of "lurking and counting on the government's wear and tear," leading it to identification "with those counting on and propagandising our failure" and that "it speaks of renego-tiating but refuses whatever responsibility when called on for joint negotiating."

Papandreou said the Medium-term Programme is "the necessary intermediate stage for the country to function," adding that "nobody would invest in a country on the verge of disaster."
The prime minister, referring to the appeal for renegotiating with the countrys' creditors, noted that "we turned the word renegotiating into practice, when in March 2011 we changed basic terms, we secured the extension of the loan and the decrease of interest rates, when we gained 6 billion for the Greek people."
"We shall continue the negotiations in practice, not with words, there where decisions are taken, not in television windows. In difficult situations and not in easy ones," he added.
Papandreou further said "I am not merely calling on you to vote for a bill. I am calling on you to vote for Greece with your hand on your heart."
He went on to say "we are absolutely determined to do what is necessary for the country. But we also ask for Europe to do the same in turn: To give Greece the time and the terms that permit it to pay off its debt, without strangling growth and the citizens."
Lastly, Papandreou called on the deputies "to give the government the vote it needs to be able to continue the tough negotiating, to claim even better terms for the paying off of the country's debt, more time, better interest rates, a lesser burden for every Greek woman and for every Greek man."

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