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PM: 'This government and the people do not bow, do not succumb'

Δημοσίευση 23 Δεκεμβρίου 2010, 12:39 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
PM: 'This government and the people do not bow, do not succumb'
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Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing Parliament on Wednesday night shortly before the roll call vote on the 2011 state budget, stressed that "I declare myself more optimistic than ever for Hellenism and Greece. In 2012 we shall enter a growth orbit and in 2013, riddance from the memorandum. The painful measures are now behind us."

Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing Parliament on Wednesday night shortly before the roll call vote on the 2011 state budget, stressed that "I declare myself more optimistic than ever for Hellenism and Greece. In 2012 we shall enter a growth orbit and in 2013, riddance from the memorandum. The painful measures are now behind us."

Papandfreou added that "as we have denied the local and international Cassandras of disaster, in the same way we shall deny them until they leave us alone, until they realise that this government, these people, do not bow and do not succumb."

Papandreou referred to "myths" which, as he said weaken the effort for the recovery of the country's prestige and sink Greek society in misery and fatalism. He added that one myth wants the crisis to be an international one, a capitalist one which is irrelevant with Greek reality

"Both are valid," the prime minister said, "the crisis found Greece in a state of collapse, because we did not do what we should have done for years."

He further said that another myth considers bankruptcy to be inevitable. "There is no discussion which is more corrosive, more dangerous and unfair than that which some are maintaining: We found,ourselves on the verge of bankruptcy, we passed through hell in 2010, but we stood up. We are facing the issue of the debt with prudence, systematically, in an organised way and with careful negotiations, such as for the extension of the repayment."

Papandreou also referred to Greek responsibilities saying: "Must we blame the IMF? Did we not have responsibility for the corruption of the National Health System (ESY). For the unbelievable bureaucracy, the clientele relations, the lack of regional development, the fact that we created an agriculture depending on subsidies without being competitive, that our universities are unacceptably low in the international rating, that our islands lack drainage, refuse dumps, places of recreation."

The prime minster underlined that the government's top priority in 2011 is "a state at the servive of the citizen" with electronic Citizen Serving Centres, the citizen's card, a unified salary scale, a card for the registration of receipts.

Lastly, Papandreou pointed out that "we shall do everything so that this crisis will not deal a blow at the poorest. We shall exhaust all margins in cooperation with the local administration bodies (OTA), the society of citizens, even with the Church, in this direction."

ND leader calls on government to change policy now

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday during the debate on the 2011 state budget, appealed to the government to change its policy now.

"We shall not going to give consensus to this policy mixture. We shall not become accomplices on the path of bankruptcy that you have imposed," he added.

Samaras stressed that the ruling PASOK party "baptised the memorandum as a one-way path to cover its historic inability and its recent responsibilities," underlining that the 2011 budget "is the mirror of PASOK's inability to handle the crisis."

The ND leader said that today, on Christmas of 2010, "we are experiencing a deep crisis which is rocking society and reversing plannings," while pointing out that "there are two truths, the one that the government does not admit, meaning that the memorandum policy does not overcome the problem, and on the other that hope and a different perspective exist.

Samaras further said that since the beginning of the year the government 'degraded the country abroad by advertising its corruption" and chose a perspective that was neither a one-way path of salvation nor did it negotiate it as toughly as it could, as other countries did and particularly Ireland recently.

He also charged that the government, while speaking of extravagance, cut back the pensions of low pension earners, or cut the bonuses for large families so that domestic devaluation can be achieved.

"If the government wants to implement the different mixture, that leads to recovery we are here, but this does not mean consensus for the memorandum, but consensus for a policy that leads to an exit with recovery and growth," the ND leader said.

Lastly, Samaras stressed the need for a speedy change in policy "because the country cannot live with the dissolution of society and the paralysis of the economy," and pointed to the need for initiatives in the sectors of education, health, defence and infrastructures.

Working people must prepare for real war, KKE leader says

Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing Parliament on Wednesday during the debate on the 2011 state budget, said that "the working people must realise the cause of the crisis and prepare themselves for a real war, a conscious one, a planned one, an organised one, which lead to the toppling of power."

Papariga further stressed that "whatever policy mixture is used, neither will the debt and the deficits be tackled, nor will Greece become competitive, nor will it avoid bankruptcy" and added that the best solution "is the refusal to repay the debt which, however, only a labour-popular government can manage, without proceeding with further antipopular measures."

Greece must request debt transfer for decade, LAOS party leader says

Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday during the debate on the 2011 state budget, said that Greece must request to have its debt transferred for a decade, stressing that "we are not experiencing the biggest crisis. We are experiencing a crisis. It needs correct and bold decisions which I do not see, however."

Karatzaferis also pointed out that a change in course is necessary and added that "there must be a substantive understanding between the political leaders", while placing responsibilities for the current economic state that Gereece is in on both the ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND) parties.

Tsipras on recession, debt crisis

Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president Alexis Tsipras, addressing Parliament on Wednesday during the debate on the 2011 state budget, told the government "you are sinking Greece into the recession and the debt crisis, because the last thing that interests you and the troika and the economic oligarchy that supports you is the debt."

Tsipras added that what interests the government are the "structural reforms, meaning the dismantling of the social state, the privatisation of public utilities and the abolition of every protection for the working people in the private sector."

He added that the deficit may have been reduced by six units but recession increased by 4.2 percent "which means the soaring of unemployment".

Interior minister outlines government policy over next three years

Interior Minister Yiannis Rangousis, addressing Parliament on Wednesday during the debate on the 2011 state budget, outlined government policy over the next three years, stressing that the dilemma "submission to the bankrupt postwar growth model, to the bankrupt post-junta state or conflict has been answered by the ruling party finally, without preconditions and clearly."

Rangousis made it clear that the government has taken its decisions: it prefers to be the first government that will sacrifice its future, assuming its patriotic duty, so as not to sacrifice the future and the interest of the Greek people.

"We shall not be yet another government that, in order not to sacrifice its own future, will sacrifice the future of the country," the minister concluded.

Deputy FinMin on economic crisis

Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sahinidis, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday during the debate on the 2011 state budget, said that the crisis facing the Greek economy is deeper than a simple fiscal one, it is a crisis of the production model, as well as of the system, given that the global capitalist economy is facing a corresponding crisis.

"Day by day, howevever, the New Democracy government saw the deficit of the current accounts balance widening and did not react. The foreign products flooded the shelves of the Greek department stores and replaced the Greek ones, while the Greek ones did not find a place on foreign shelves. Unemployment was swelling slowly slowly and ND covered them up with the stage, with the one and the other. It let the economy go astray regarding its production model and it solved the problem silently, creating stage positions," he added.

Dep. FinMin on state budget; state-run enterprises

Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sahinidis on Wednesday expressed certainty that there will be no “defections” in the ruling PASOK party's ranks during a midnight vote to ratify the 2011state budget, probably the most closely watched budget in modern Greek history due to the ongoing economic and debt crisis plaguing the country.

Speaking to an Athens radio, Sahinidis said "all PASOK MPs realise the huge problems with which the country and people are faced. They realise that the country cannot move forward with deficits of tens of billions of euros. Something needs to be done,” he stressed.

Referring to public utilities and state-run enterprises, he said some of them will be dissolved or merged.

As regards overdue debts by specific taxpayers, Sahinidis said a list with debtors’ names will be made public.

Alt. labour minister addresses Parliament on 2011 budget

A maximum reduction of 25 percent in contributions to social insurance funds paid by both employers and employees to be implemented within a period of three years through the creation of the appropriate preconditions was announced in Parliament on Wednesday by Alternate Labour Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis.

He also announced the expansion of the Manpower Employ-ment Organisation (OAED) programmes in 2011 through comprehensive local programmes with the twofold purpose, of preserving existing job positions and creating new ones.

Speaking in Parliament during the discussion on the 2011 state budget, he referred emphatically to the problem of unemployment underlining that the unemployment rate has been reduced through a total of 17 programmes currently in progress.

Based on OAED figures made public on Dec. 21, the programmes mentioned created 103,939 new job positions, of which 52,425 are permanent job positions and 51,514 seasonal job positions. Koutroumanis also stated that a total of 111,873 applications for subsidized social insurance contributions to preserve 247,000 job positions were filed until Dec. 21.

The alternate labour minister announced that the draft law on Social Economy and Social Labour will be tabled in parliament early next year.

He underlined that the unemployment problem is still big and its solution presupposes that the crisis will be overcome and the country will re-enter a development course.

On the planned reduction of social insurance contributions, Koutroumanis stated that “in a country where undeclared labour is estimated to 25 percent and the overall contribution evasion is close to 30 percent, corresponding to more than nine billion euros annually, we have to utilise all contemporary means to combat the phenomenon and create a new social insurance mentality in order to increase and not reduce the revenues of the social insurance funds.”

The ministry of labour estimates that the revenues of the social insurance funds will increase by 1.2 billion euros that will come from the collection of past debts and also from actions, such as, the implementation of a new social insurance system for household personnel, farm and animal husbandry workers and occasional workers, as well as, through the payment of wages and contributions through the banking system.

Koutroumanis announced that the draft law on the reform of the Labour Inspection Agency (SEPE) will be tabled in Jan. 2011 and will include the enactment of the employment card to be introduced in July 2011 as an important tool against undeclared labour and contribution dodging.

Referring to the social insurance funds’ expenditures and effective operation in 2011, Koutroumanis announced the adoption of new measures that will lead to a further reduction of over-spending in the sector of health amounting to 1.4 billion euros; specifically, the introduction of e-prescription in all social insurance funds in April 2011 and the pensioners’ census.

The measures also include the utilisation of the single payment authority for pensions, the establishment of a single authority for health services, the operation of a handicap certification centre, the completion of the actuarial studies for all funds - including the auxiliary - in June 2011 and the updating and introduction of the new list of hazardous occupations.