PM seeks to re­as­sure EU

In Stras­bourg, Sa­ma­ras says ND will win Euro elec­tions, calls SYRIZA ex­trem­ist

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

In a speech be­fore the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day, Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras ex­pressed his con­vic­tion that con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy, which leads the coali­tion with PASOK, would pre­vail in Euro­pean elec­tions in May, in­sist­ing that it was the “guar­an­tor of po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity” in Greece and dis­miss­ing the left­ist op­po­si­tion SYRIZA as ex­trem­ist and pop­ulist.

“We who cham­pion the cause of Europe will win the Euro­pean elec­tions,” Sa­ma­ras told Euro­pean law­mak­ers at a ses­sion dur­ing which he set out Greece’s pri­or­i­ties dur­ing the next six months, dur­ing which the coun­try is to hold the Euro­pean Union’s ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency. Top­ping the agenda are mea­sures to curb un­em­ploy­ment, to pro­mote bank­ing union and to bol­ster im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, he said.

Sa­ma­ras took the op­por­tu­nity to un­der­line his gov­ern­ment’s suc­cess in achiev­ing fis­cal ad­just­ment tar­gets set by the coun­try’s so­called troika of for­eign lenders, re­fer­ring once again to pre­dic­tions for a pri­mary sur­plus, but he ac­knowl­edged that the re­turn to eco­nomic health had been ham­pered by mis­steps on the part of both Greece and the troika. He ex­pressed op­ti­mism, how­ever, and re­peated his pledge to of­fer 70 per­cent of the pri­mary sur­plus to pen­sion­ers and those on low in­comes.

“The hard part is over. We are close to re­cov­ery,” Sa­ma­ras said, adding that he had faith in Greek cit­i­zens and their de­sire to re­main “part of Europe.”

The Greek pre­mier in­sisted that SYRIZA, which op­poses the terms of Greece’s bailout and is marginally ahead of ND in opin­ion polls, was “not an al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tion.” “It is not of­fer­ing a so­lu­tion but swing­ing be­tween lightly veiled ex­trem­ism and pop­ulism,” Sa­ma­ras said. He noted that he, when in op­po­si­tion, had backed sev­eral bills pro­posed by for­mer so­cial­ist Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou, while SYRIZA “re­stricts it­self to per­ma­nent crit­i­cism.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.