Greek PM seeks consensus on austerity measures and reforms with social partners

08:49, September 03, 2010      

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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou held a meeting with representatives of the Greek business world and labor unions on Thursday, seeking consensus on his government's austerity policies, as Greek economy and people face a harsh autumn.

Social partners expressed objections to certain measures introduced so far and structural reforms underway, presenting the Greek premier with a string of alternative proposals to overcome the acute economic crisis the country faces.

"It is important to reach a national strategy through dialogue. It is important we show that despite different opinions, there is a national effort," said Papandreou during the meeting in the presence of many cabinet ministers.

"It is very important that Greece shows to the whole world who is watching, that (we) will beat the crisis. Because if the world sees a country tripping over, this image will be presented ten times worse than the real situation," he stressed.

Greece is due to receive the second tranche of financial aid by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this September to face the crisis, but in exchange for that, is also under pressure to stick to a harsh Stability and Growth Program of austerity measures and reforms that causes strong reactions of Greek society.

After a short break during summer holidays, the government faces a new wave of demonstrations starting from the Thessaloniki International Fair in northern Greece, which will be inaugurated by Papandreou on Sept. 11.

At the premiere of the Fair, Greek prime ministers traditionally deliver a speech on the government's economic policy for the following months.

Due to the crisis this year's speech at Thessaloniki, as well as remarks expected on the anniversary of the founding of the ruling socialist PASOK party on Sept. 3, will be analyzed with great interest by representatives of the business world and labor unions, who discussed the prospects of Greek economy with Papandreou on Thursday at his office at Maximou Mansion.

During Thursday's meeting, union leaders asked the government to force Greek banks to release funds to the real economy and households, to support small businesses, the unemployed and low income employees and pensioners.

They also demanded the prime minister avoid further increases in taxes and ask the EU and the IMF for more time and support to put the Greek national economy back to the path of recovery and development.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:李牧(实习))

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