“Parliament’s decision to approve the medium-term fiscal strategy launches a round of tough negotiations, ones aimed at boosting Greece’s developmental course. In a different case, the country will be met with catastrophe,” Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed on Wednesday, speaking in Parliament before the vote on the latest package of austerity measures.
Papandreou expressed certainty that the ruling PASOK Parliamentary group will rise to the occasion and vote in favour of the medium-term programme -- hours before the 155. He stressed that main opposition New Democracy (ND) also relies on the same certainty, clarifying that “the ND MPs have adopted an irresponsible stance because they know that we will act responsibly”.
He said that the “ND MPs follow their leader, who is surrounded by people telling him that saying ‘no’ is doing good to his image.”
Papandreou stressed that “now is the time to display a measure of responsibility and make sure that salaries and pensions will be paid”. He also said that “many are protesting outside; those who suffer injustices and others who do not want let go of the privileges to which they have become accustomed. We should make sure that none of us will have to experience the consequences of a collapse…There is no 'plan B' for Greece. Our partners will only think how they can save themselves. There are no magic solutions. Things are simple: we can either follow the rough path of change or be met with disaster.”
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras responded that “now is not being decided whether we will collapse or not, but whether we will make yet another fateful step toward the absolute economic collapse - the social and political collapse.” He said that ND has a responsibility “to tell the truth to our partners,” adding that he proved that the medium-term programme is not viable. He also said that he will be judged only by the Greek people.
In response, Papandreou said that Samaras’ proposals were rejected by the troika (EC-ECB-IMF) and the European Right, adding that the people do not want the medium-term programme to fail.