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Politics: PM addresses 'New World, New Capitalism' symposium in Paris

Δημοσίευση 7 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 13:26 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Politics: PM addresses 'New World, New Capitalism' symposium in Paris
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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou outlined the efforts being made by his PASOK government and Greece to exit the ongoing punishing economic crisis, adding that the struggle being waged is "leaving open wounds which, however, we are trying to improve".

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou outlined the efforts being made by his PASOK government and Greece to exit the ongoing punishing economic crisis, adding that the struggle being waged is "leaving open wounds which, however, we are trying to improve".

His comments came during the opening address to an international symposium entitled "New World, New Capitalism" being held in the French capital on Thursday.

French industry, energy and digital economy minister Eric Besson, under whose initiative the two-day symposium is organised, greeted Papandreou at the opening of the event and praised him for the "fortitude and courage" with which he is facing the crisis.

Papandreou, in turn, thanked Besson for the invitation to "such a high level conference", adding that he is fully aware that the invitation was due mainly to the struggle being waged by both himself and the country, a struggle that "leaves open wounds, and which we are trying to improve".

The Greek premier noted that there are "three myths" that prevailed during the current crisis.

The first "myth", he said, concerns Greece's debt, "which was not the cause, but a symptom, the tip of the iceberg". He added that "the real cause was the deficiency in management, the poor use of the resources, the unequal distribution of money and the clientele nature of governance..."

In a specific reference to Greece, he outlined the reforms being made in the country. "Although we have not yet taken all the necessary measures, we have, however, acknowledged them as necessary," he said.

 

The second "myth" concerns international markets and the immense concentration of fiscal power, as he stressed that the challenge is to make the marks work toward the common good rather that comprising a "tool for the concentration of privileges for the few".

"In a globalised world, we need to regulate and check the power of the markets so that there will be greater equality," he explained.

The "third myth", as he said, concerns "the impression that a (EU) member state can take measures on its own, that it was considered that there was no need for solidarity, or need for stronger governance."

"But the issue is much more complex and many large economies have big problems," Papandreou continued, and stressed the need for greater European integration.

Turning to the future of the economic landscape, the prime minister said that "the power is changing, it is heading to Asia and emerging economies ... The challenge for us is to resist the competition. We do not wish to compete with the countries in which a lawless labour market and miserable working conditions prevail. We want to have our own products, to invest in green development; in renovated structures, in quality and in social growth," Papandreou stressed.

In that context, Papandreou clarified that the assistance to Greece and Ireland should not be considered "charity" but, rather, "gaining time to allow us to organise and to meet the challenge".

"The assistance given to Greece and Ireland is not charity, it is something much greater that us. The challenge is a European one," he stressed, noting that the stabilisation mechanism concerns us all, and ensures greater transparency and equality.

Papandreou put emphasis on Europe and the initiatives it needs to undertake, particularly regarding growth.

He proposed interventions for strengthening the markets, control of the economic governance and the affirmation of the stability mechanism in the fiscal sector, noting that a Eurobond would provide economic stability and prosperity in Europe.

Papandreou further spoke about the issue of the credibility of the rating firms, and called for fiscal discipline, ensuring social peace and more work, adding that whatever effort could not be at national level but at the level of the European Union, which "must not postpone the major initiative for development".

"We need to open the chapter of growth and the related policies with the necessary tools," he stressed, noting that the markets will settle down only when they see political and social stability and growth in the EU.

One of the tools for growth, he continued, was 'green taxes' and eurobonds, which he said would provide autonomy to the markets. "A strong EU would be able to positively influence and play a role in the wider area of the Mediterranean and the Middle East," he said.

Papandreou also wished every success to the French presidency of the G20 in 2011, expressing support for the reforms it looks to.

The Greek premier called on Europe to play the international role it deserves: "If we all work together, we can achieve a better, more just, more democratic and green world for our citizens and on our entire planet."

"Greece is going through a tough period, but we are certain that this crisis is turning into an opportunity for change for us, for the prosperity of our people. I hope the Greek crisis will become an opportunity for Europe as well," Papandreou concluded.

Working lunch with French counterpart

Papandreou also held a working lunch with his French counterpart Francois Fillon in Paris on Thursday, during which they discussed economic developments, bilateral relations and matters related to illegal migration.

Papandreou said that the two sides believe a stronger European governance is needed in the sector of the economy. Not only on facing the present crisis the eurozone is going through but also on strengthening the EU's presence everywhere: in its neighborhood, in modern technologies, competitiveness, in the drive for green growth, support of the infrastructures, transport and networks in Europe.

"Our target is to assist in the convergence and competitiveness in Europe," Papandreou said.

The two premiers also exchanged views on the illegal migration issue. Papandreou briefed Fillon on Greece's efforts and also the efforts with its neighboring countries, such as with Turkey, and reiterated the need for a re-entry agreement between the EU and Turkey.

The further discussed bilateral matters. Papandreou said that the relations between the two countries are excellent, noting that France has supported Greece in the EU for the creation of the support mechanism that was necessary to give the country time to make the required changes and become viable, competitive and prosperous".

The bilateral initiatives on the Mediterranean, matters concerning investments, collaborations in culture and changes in the education systems were also discussed.