Government Vice-President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking Wednesday during Parliament debate on a banking sector draft bill, announced that the government will take additional fiscal measures to tackle the ongoing debt and deficit crisis.
"Yes, we shall take supplementary measures," Venizelos said, making it clear that the country "must do what has to be done to exit from the current crisis ... The miracle will be born here with the systematic implementation of the fiscal adjustment programme."
As he pointed out, "Greece is and will be a member of the eurozone."
Referring to the oft-quoted decisions of the July 21 Eurozone summit, Venizelos said "if the Eurozone does not send the message that it can solve the Greek problem, it will send a message that it cannot solve any problem ... we are 2 percent of the total debt of the Eurozone", he added.
He also stressed the danger of the system of the national economy ceasing to function if the fiscal adjustment plan is not successfully completed, while criticising the opposition parties and New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras personally.
"There is the danger of all this not bearing results and the country losing its post-1974 era achievements," he said.
Venizelos was particularly critical on the issue of early elections, which he ruled out, stressing that the government is not being disputed by its institutional partners.
"Fortunately, we have been placed under the control of the troika because we shall be placed under self-control in this way," Venizelos noted.
The draft bill, meanwhile, was approved in Parliament with 183 votes in favour and 38 against, in its first reading, supported by the ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party.
A roll call vote will be held on Thursday on amendments concerning the dismissal of Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT) members and the imposition of the controversial extraordinary surtax on real estate property.
Venizelos’ announcement that additional austerity measures are necessary to counterbalance the revenue loss recorded due to recession and the overly optimistic forecasts in the medium-term fiscal programme prompted the strong reaction of the small parties of the opposition.
Communist Party (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga stressed that the measures are not temporary but permanent in order to avoid default adding, however, that “default is inevitable”.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) leader George Karatzaferis expressed opposition to the proposals made by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party as regards the labour reserve measure and suggested that those who live in rural areas and have a few possessions should be exempt from paying taxes.
Opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras called for immediate elections and accused the government of imposing tough measures on the public sector employees, salary earners and pensioners while letting off the systematic tax dodgers.