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Greek PM focuses on bailout renegotiation, reforms in policy speech

07-07-2012 05:05 BJT

ATHENS, July 6 (Xinhua)-- Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras outlined his government's policy plan on Friday evening, focusing on the renegotiation of bailout terms with international lenders and the acceleration of structural reforms.

"Renegotiation is not about changing targets, but lifting the obstacles to meeting the targets... We need adjustments to the program to tackle recession so that we achieve the goals," he said.

He made the remarks in the Greek parliament at the start of a three-day debate that will end on Sunday night with a vote of confidence in the three-party coalition government.

He stressed that any changes to the stability and growth program launched in 2010 in exchange of multi-billion euro bailout packages by European counterparts and International Monetary Fund will be made through dialogue with lenders and not unilaterally.

Shortly after a swearing-in ceremony for Samaras and a small group of ministers and deputies who were absent during last week's ceremony for members of the new 300-member strong assembly elected in the June 17 general polls, the conservative prime minister promised to say the truth to Greek people.

He started by acknowledging that the stability and growth "is partly derailed, with some targets missed."

In order to achieve the ultimate target of averting a Greek disorderly default and exit from the eurozone, Samaras pledged that the new government will put emphasis on the expansion and acceleration of a bold privatization program and structural reforms to boost growth.

"For each 1 percent GDP we gain in economic recovery, the deficit will be reduced by 1 billion euros," he argued.

Samaras promised the sale and better exploitation of state assets in strategic sectors, such as energy and transports from railways to regional ports and airports.

He argued for the abolition and merging of state agencies as an alternative measure to mass layoffs of civil servants that would worsen unemployment rates.

He pledged policies that will restore liquidity and counter bureaucracy to attract investments. He called for changes in the political system, such as cutbacks on parties' funding and MPs' benefits, and an all-out war against tax evasion.

In regards to foreign policy, he stressed that Greece wants good neighborly relations and a role as a force of stability in eastern Mediterranean Sea, underlining that his government aims to declare as soon as possible the exclusive economic zone in the area for gas and oil exploitation.

In addition, he pledged to strengthen cross-border collaboration to tackle common challenges, such as illegal immigration.

Finally Samaras urged "some foreign officials to stop undermining Greek efforts to address the crisis with continuous statements about the prospect of a Greek return to drachma."

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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