Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed that political consensus was crucial in the face of “a complex and major financial crisis” whilst meeting with the leaders of the Opposition political parties last Thursday to discuss the Greek response to the global financial crisis.
The Prime Minister presented a 6 point plan to the political leaders in an attempt to forge a politial consensus around the strategy for how Greece will address the crisis.
The plans outlined by Karamanlis proposed adherence to decisions taken by both Greece and the EU, coordinated actions to deal with high level of government debt, the gradual reduction in deficits with cuts in public expenditures, a commitment to not impose new taxes and the implementation of evelopmental plans for critical sectors.
However the leaders of PASOK, the left coalition SYRIZA and the hard left KKE rejected the proposed framework while the leader of LAOS saw the plan as the positive basis for action.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, in a message to the Greek people on Thursday evening, after holding talks with opposition party leaders, presented the framework on consensus that he had discussed with them and expressed his disappointment over the “negative stance shown by the parties on the appeal for consensus,” while stressing that the government “will follow the path of responsibility” and that every party “is responsible for its options and actions.”
Karamanlis pointed out that the crisis is becoming all the more intense and noted that the huge, as he termed it, public debt inherited by the New Democracy (ND) government provides no ground for flexibility.
He revealed that 12 billion euros are needed every year for interest and added that the debt is a threat for the country’s economic stability.
Main opposition leader George Papandreou expressed his concern and conveyed the Greek people feeling of insecurity.
He also presented PASOK’s program for the country’s exit from the crisis but accused the government of lacking a specific plan and substantial proposal for trustworthy negotiations with the European Union.
“We need a new plan, a new course that will guarantee immediate measures against the economic crisis, for the markets, for Greek families; a new development model that we must all together focus on,” he said, adding that PASOK commits itself to “green growth” and a “strong negotiation” with a plan in the EU.
Aleka Papariga from KKE objected to consensus, stressing that there is no popular exit from the crisis of capitalism and called for called the Prime Minister to state in public whether he agrees with the six measures proposed by the OECD amongst which it proposes providing for increases in the pension age, a new round of privatizations and salaries below collective agreements.
Alekos Alavanos from SYRIZA called for political change, stressing that the present government does not respond to the needs of the country. SYRIZA submitted 25 actions regarding economy, employment, fiscal policy and the EU.
“I entered the Maximos Mansion as leftist opposition and I am departing as leftist opposition,” said Alavanos after meeting with the Greek Prime Miniser. Alavanos pointed out that “such a deep crisis does not need superficial agreements. It needs deep change and we are moving in this direction.”
Mr. Karatzaferis from the right wing LAOS supported the efforts of the Karamanlis and stated that that logic demands common ways to exit from the crisis.