At an incidental press conference today, Independent Greeks leader Panos Kamenos explained, after welcoming their representatives, that before the election on 6 May he had chosen to tour Greece, to be acquainted with the citizens instead of addressing them on TV.
After that and for 50 minutes, he took advantage of the opportunity given him to appear on all televisions and present the economic programme of the party and not only. Panos Kamenos had thus incurred the blame of two journalists, who expressed their displeasure that he used the press conference to send election messages and not for a real dialogue with the media.
The leader of Independent Greeks stated that the main goals of his party were the cancellation of the memorandum of financial assistance and its replacement by a national recovery plan for the Greek economy. "The memorandum failed and the evidence is over 1 million unemployed, closed companies and companies that have left the country and three thousand suicides over the past two years."
He stated that the dilemma in Sunday's election will not be whether Greece will remain in the euro area or not, because "there is no procedure to send away a country if it does not want it itself. The dilemma is for or against the memorandum under which creditors are entitled to confiscate public property."
Panos Kamenos compared today's situation of Greece with that in Cyprus before the referendum on implementing the plan to connect the two parts of the island drawn up by the UN Secretary General at that time Kofi Annan.
He sharply criticized New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and read his statements in parliament a year ago, when he opposed the vote on the medium-term plan for the Greek economy. Samaras said then, "The Greeks cannot be scared." For PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, he even said that he had freed from guilt Akis Tsochatzopoulos by signing the report of the party on his case.
"Our economic programme was posted on the Internet and so was our movement. Our supporters wrote it and our economists improved it. It was then submitted for a public debate and everyone had the right to express his or her opinion. "
For the first 30 days of implementing the programme of national salvation, Independent Greeks suggested the immediate establishment of an exclusive economic zone and the formation of committees to verify the public debt, the German war reparations and indemnities and the insurance funds. Cancelling the memorandum and the contracts arising from it will be the first and main step of the party.
According to Panos Kamenos, all the money from the loans goes to pay the loans. He said that according to official data, the money from taxes collected by the state amount to 87.513 billion euro and "only 51 billion of this amount is spent for salaries and pensions. So, people should not fear that the country will collapse after the cancellation of the memorandum. On the contrary, it just leads to total ruin."
The programme of Independent Greeks suggests the "use" of money in "frozen" bank accounts that are between 10-15 billion, demanding two billion euro from the German company Siemens as compensation, collecting VAT amounting to 500 million euro from the German company managing Athens airport, alternative sources of revenue, return of bank deposits from abroad and state property use. Panos Kamenos did not use the word "privatization" even once nor did he clarify what exactly he meant when talking about "public sector restructuring."
He drew particular attention to the development of merchant shipping, thus reminding of his government experience in the office of New Democracy. After strongly opposing the taxation of shipowners, he said that measures should be taken for the return of other ships under the Greek flag "because they will bring huge profits for the country."
Furthermore, the leader of Independent Greeks suggested the appointment of a permanent minister of the shipping industry and the establishment of a Greek investment bank rated AAA. Another suggestion in his economic programme was the support to the Agricultural Bank "to help the Greek farmers and the land remain in Greek hands, not to be used for generation of power for Germany." In this regard, he suggested that the "Helios" programme for the building of photovoltaic parks should be cancelled.
Removing the black list of bad payers, suspension of auctions, cutting bank loans by 20-30% and increasing the minimum amount that allows the state to proceed with seizures for unpaid tax liabilities from 300 to 30,000 euro.
Panos Kamenos suggested the establishment of a minimum pension of 800 euro and accused New Democracy, not mentioning its name, of copying that suggestion without explaining how it will provide the necessary funds.
After repeating his belief that there is no risk of Greece exiting the euro area several times, he said he would not participate in the cabinet if Antonis Samaras or Evangelos Venizelos became prime minister. He said many issues separate him from SYRIZA, such as "the position on national issues, illegal immigration and economic issues like taxation of shipping."
"It is necessary to form a cabinet that will cancel the memorandum to save the country and then, we can discuss our differences," he said and expressed his belief that he does not doubt the patriotism of other politicians, "with the exception of those who stole, for whom there will be no mercy and who will be severely judged."