Speed up growth plan, Venizelos insists
Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos has written to the European Commission, urging it to speed up a programme aimed at providing some relief to the recession-plagued economy
Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos has written to the European Commission, urging it to speed up a programme aimed at providing some relief to the recession-plagued economy.
Venizelos, who resigned as finance minister last month, wrote to EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday to request a more targeted implementation of the growth programme, that would relax national contributions for EU-funded projects.
He listed the priorities as major public works ventures like motorways and other infrastructure development, schemes to boost youth employment, and small business support.
"We await the response of the European Commission with the expectation of a positive outcome," Venizelos wrote.
He sent the letter after new figures revealed that 1,000 Greeks were losing their jobs a day last year, prompting the unemployment rate to surge to 21.8 percent in January.
EU countries are also keen to see current coalition backers Pasok and New Democracy make a strong showing in the May 6 general election, faced with a growing anti-bailout backlash in Greek politics.
New Democracy criticised the letter, saying that Venizelos was late in remembering the need for growth and social cohesion.
Party spokesman Yiannis Michelakis said Venizelos was only bringing this up because of the looming elections and said he was finally coming around to the position advocated by ND leader Antonis Samaras.
Source: Athens News/gw, AMNA
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