Cri­sis talks fail ex­pec­ta­tions

PM in­sists there is scope for con­sen­sus af­ter meet­ing while op­po­si­tion lead­ers give lit­tle in­di­ca­tion of progress

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou in­di­cated yes­ter­day evening that there was scope for con­sen­sus on a new raft of aus­ter­ity mea­sures fol­low­ing a long meet­ing with his po­lit­i­cal ri­vals, most of whom ap­peared to sug­gest that lit­tle com­mon ground had been found.

“There are many points on which we can agree. But there is a need for po­lit­i­cal will from all sides,” Pa­pan­dreou said. “Over the next few days we will con­tinue ef­forts to reach a con­sen­sus,” he added, not­ing how­ever that his ad­min­is­tra­tion had “as­sumed the re­spon­si­bil­ity to ex­tract the coun­try from the cri­sis and will do this with or with­out con­sen­sus.”

Dous­ing spec­u­la­tion about early elec­tions, Pa­pan­dreou in­di­cated that cer­tain changes could be made to pro­pos­als for more tax in­creases – a touchy sub­ject with op­po­si­tion lead­ers.

Ear­lier in the day, op­po­si­tion lead­ers leav­ing the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of Pres­i­dent Karo­los Papou­lias, who chaired the meet­ing, gave lit­tle in­di­ca­tion that they had seen eye-to-eye. The leader of the main con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy, An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, called for a rene­go­ti­a­tion of the terms of the mem­o­ran­dum – the name given to the agree­ment be­tween Greece and the Eu- ro­pean Union and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, which last May pledged the coun­try 110 bil­lion eu­ros in loans. Sa­ma­ras re­it­er­ated his calls for an al­ter­na­tive pro­gram that would re­duce taxes rather than raise them. “We will not be black­mailed,” he said.

The leader of the far-right Pop­u­lar Ortho­dox Rally (LAOS) Gior­gos Karatzaferis, in­di­cated that cer­tain po­lit­i­cal lead­ers were not fo­cus­ing on the com­mon good. “Some clearly rank their po­si­tion over the good of the coun­try,” he said.

The leader of the Com­mu­nist Party (KKE), Aleka Pa­pariga, claimed that Greeks were be­ing sub- jected to “ide­o­log­i­cal terrorism” and should not give in to “co­er­cive dilem­mas.”

The head of the Coali­tion of the Rad­i­cal Left (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras, struck a sim­i­lar tone, say­ing that “con­sen­sus can­not be se­cured through black­mail” and de­scrib­ing the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed re­forms as “un­fair and dis­as­trous.”

Thou­sands of peo­ple protest­ing the gov­ern­ment’s on­go­ing aus­ter­ity drive filled squares in Athens and other cities yes­ter­day in the third day of demon­stra­tions mod­eled on a Span­ish cam­paign or­ga­nized via so­cial net­work­ing web­sites.

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