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Greek PM pleas for unity ahead of EU summit on debt crisis

10-26-2011 08:47 BJT

ATHENS, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou made a fresh plea for unity at home and abroad on Tuesday during a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias ahead of a new critical EU summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

"Europe must rise to the occasion ... this negotiation concerns Europe first and foremost," Papandreou said Papoulias.

"Now is the hour for Europe itself to take the decisions to stop this crisis which creates insecurity among all European peoples," Papandreou said, adding that "I really hope that on Wednesday we will finally reach the necessary decisions to turn the page and move forward."

The Greek Prime Minister joined European Socialist Party President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, French Socialist candidate in the 2012 presidential election Francois Hollande and European Parliament Social Democratic Party President Martin Schulz in stressing the need to forge a common front against the crisis and strengthen development policies across Europe.

However, the prospect of a common national front against the crisis seems far away, said local analysts.

Following the ejection of a deputy from ruling socialist PASOK party's parliamentary group last week during a parliamentary vote on new austerity measures, Papandreou holds a slim three-seat majority in the 300-member strong assembly.

The opposition parties continued to voice strong objections to the austerity drive, while quite a few PASOK lawmakers recently openly warned that they will vote against new policies, requesting "political initiatives" after the EU summit, such as new efforts to create a national unity government or snap general elections.

Labor unions in the mean time continued a round of strikes, demonstrations and protests against the harsh cutbacks on salaries and pensions, tax increases and structural reforms that force thousands civil servants to early retirement with reduced income.

Commuters on Tuesday suffered from a new 24-hour strike in the public transport sector that halted services on the Athens subway and buses, as strikers marched to the Finance Ministry in central Athens.

Later this week, taxi drivers and lawyers would stage their own protests, while the main labor union of state sector employees ADEDY announced on Tuesday a new general strike "at some time" in the first ten days of November.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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