Greek PM vows to bring debt-ravaged country new opportunities

08:01, May 07, 2010      

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The current financial crisis in Greece can become an opportunity for the debt-ravaged country to seek a better future, Prime Minister George Papandreou told parliament Thursday.

Addressing lawmakers before a pending vote on new austerity measures, Papandreou said that the current crisis can be turned into a miracle in the future through hard effort.

"People's anger and protests against the austerity measures that led us here can become a power for change to create a better country and a better future," he said, referring to the wave of deadly strikes and demonstrations on Wednesday.

"Violence will sink us deeper in recession," he said.

The prime minister stressed that his government will not retreat and will implement necessary reforms.

"We will either vote in favor, or condemn the country to bankruptcy," Papandreou said in a speech broadcast on most Greek television channels.

The prime minister meanwhile accused the previous center-right government of leading the economy to the brink of collapse, wasting public funds and corruption. He vowed to send those responsible to court.

He referred to a former minister who spent 28,000 euros (35,600 U.S. dollars) on drapes in his office as evidence of how Greece's debt doubled in five years time from 2004 to 2009.

Papandreou said that the parliament could approve the austerity measures with votes from the ruling socialist PASOK party, while he also called on the opposition parties to "assume their responsibilities" and support the government to show the world that Greece remains united in difficult times.

"I understand citizens' anger, especially when on a daily basis they see more cases of irresponsible management and looting of public funds by the previous government coming into light today," Papandreou said.

"Speculators bet on our country's collapse. We will not allow it," Papandreou said.

He promised that low-income employees and pensioners would not bear the biggest burden, and that the deficit would be reduced mostly by a fair sharing of wealth and cuts in public expenses.

"Our country has been through more difficult adventures and made it. We will win," Papandreou said.

Source: Xinhua


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