27 May, 2005
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking at the general assembly of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) on Thursday, outlined the government's policy for the current year, saying that the eradication of problems cannot be left continuously for the future and that 2005 is a year of changes and reforms.
Karamanlis said ''organized interests cannot stand in the way'' and stressed with emphasis that ''grey propaganda, doubting and leveling will not succeed, they will fail and discredit those who inspired them,'' while stressing that the government is in conflict with accumulated problems.
The prime minister presented the main elements of the new economic policy being applied by the government, which include fiscal restructuring, which is a condition for the economy's survival, the deregulation of markets and an end to state monopolies with a new generation of privatizations, joint ventures in the private and public sectors and a speedup in the completion of major investment plans which have remained inert in past years.
Commenting on the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF), Karamanlis said that it will be directed entirely to the regions, while underlining that infrastructure projects in the energy sector are rendering the country an energy centre in the region, referring to the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and the natural gas pipelines between Greece-Turkey and Greece-Italy.
Making a brief account of the government's work over the past 14 months, Karamanlis referred to the new tax and development law, the simplification of licensing procedures for processing companies, the joining of trade to European Union financing and the arrangement on working hours for department stores, due to be tabled in Parliament soon, which will benefit businesses, consumers and working people.
The prime minister hailed the agreement reached between the administration of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and employees, saying that both sides showed maturity and responsibility and that it was proved that there can be consensus in the economy.
Lastly, he stressed that the government is seeking reforms in labor relations, as well as a solution to problems concerning the social security issue.
Finance and Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said during the Federation of Greek Industries' (SEB) annual general assembly on Thursday that reforms being promoted and the climate of confidence being created are placing the economy on a new course.
Alogoskoufis further said that in 55 days of the new development law being implemented, 119 investment plans totalling 286.4 million euros have been submitted, while during the first 55 days of the previous development law 69 investment plans had been submitted worth 82.8 million euros.
The minister placed special emphasis on the results of tax reform, the development law and the draft law on joint ventures in the public and private sectors which will constitute "the third crucial pylon of the new development policy."
Alogoskoufis also focused on the promotion of "a new generation of privatizations" aimed at strengthening competition and development. Following the floating of the Greek Oil Group and the complete privatization of the National Bank, procedures have got under way for the sale of up to 17 percent of shares of the Football Pools Organization (OPAP).
Source: Athens News Agency