Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras earlier today again rejected government overtures for his party’s consensus for the eagerly expected and new batch of urgent privatisations, speaking immediately after the conclusion of a meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou. “I will not agree with the proven erroneous recipe of the (EC-ECB-IMF) Memorandum,” he said, adding that the government is subjecting the people to new sacrifices without any prospect, “as past mistakes are merely being repeated.” “Society demands consensus in order to change (the country’s) direction and not consensus for the leadership so we’ll remain stuck in the same process”.
Immediately after the meeting today, Mr. Samaras gave a televised announcement.
Samaras criticized the proposed measures of the government. “The government is burdening the economy with new taxes, thus paralyzing the last productive vitality of the country, bringing further depression, and not lower deficits”. He accused Papandreou for “insisting on the same failed formula in view of negotiations with the troika” and announces new tax raids on those who already paid and cannot stand it anymore.
He referred to the key points of his own policy: “I remind you that the key ingredient of our proposal for an economical restart is the reduction of tax rates especially when the crunch of the market is due to the policy of fierce over-taxing of everything”. He also expressed reservations even for the points of possible convergence with the mid-term plan developed by the government: “Only new element of the governmental policy are privatizations, but in many cases they give the impression that they are leading to divestment without a developmental vision and with poor results in a broken down stock market. We are in favor of privatizations, but we are opposed to the hasty divestment and cash-flow panic measures”.
Assessing the measures of the government so far, he said: “There are positive elements such as individual contracts for exploitation of ports and airports, which we had proposed form December 2009, as well as the apparent intention of Papandreou to take some suggestions from our Zappeion 2 proposal, like illegal real estate and repatriation of capital or labor reserve. But a few rights in a big wrong do not present a solution”. Finally, he argued that “nobody in the government gives any explanation as to why the recipe failed thus far, and nobody takes responsibility for the wasted sacrifices”.