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Athens: New Government’s Plan On Debt …

  • July 7th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

greece-athens-and-parthenon5.jpgGreece’s coalition uneasily gets together to try to end the piling up of debt.

Rebecca Cox

The country that went so close to going broke that it triggered a debt crisis for all of Europe, had elections in June that saw the main centre-right and centre-left parties lose ground.

After close to a fortnight as a coalition, the government was trying to finalise a joint program.

The conservative party, New Democracy won 129 seats, but despite getting an extra fifty as a bonus for coming first, it was not enough to form government.

They then formed a coalition with the former ruling party, the centre-left PASOK movement, and a smaller group called Democratic Left.

A senior MP from New Democracy, Yannis Plakitoakis, said on Thursday that despite some hard talking, he believed the new government would work once the dust had settled.

“We never had coalition governments in the recent past so as you can understand we need our time,” Mr. Plakitoakis said.

“It’s not a goal only for the New Democracy Party or the old PASOK party but we feel that forward of us there is a national goal in order to overcome the crisis.”

The parties in the coalition went to the election pledging that Greece would keep the Euro currency, and so it would accept the terms of its partners and backers, the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

This has meant savage budget cuts and new taxes, over two years.

The program was now being changed to put the emphasis on investment, especially new foreign investment, including investment from China and Russia.

There would be no more reductions of wages or pensions; simpler but more enforceable taxes were planned, along with a drive against corruption; and the government was seeking some extension of time to meet all its commitments.

“Well in the latest elections the clear message of the Greek people was to stay in the European Union and stay in the Eurozone,” Mr. Plakitoakis said.

“That’s why the latest election was very crucial for the future of Greece, for the future of the Eurozone so at the moment as the climate in the EU is changing everybody now in the European zone is talking about investments how we can overcome the crisis.

“Nobody is talking about cutting wages or pensions so we feel that as the climate in the EU is changing we feel that we can take advantage of this climate.”

Anna Karamanli, another New Democracy MP,said the coalition idea was a chance for unity in the country, while she saw her own party promoting family values.

“Through my child’s eyes, I see the eyes of all the children of Greece and we all need to fight together,” Ms Karamanli said.

“We need to let go of what has separated us in the past and we need to look at what unites us because we need to be united as a nation in order to go through.”

The mother of two and former broadcast journalist said the new government plan gave the country a chance of recovery.

“Greece is at a very critical cross road now and we need to take the path of development,” Ms Karamanli said.

Keeping promises will be tough, considering a long history of enmity between the partners in government; and the hard economic realities of a country over-borrowed and over-spent, needing to increase its economic production without delay.