After all of Greece has been waiting with bated breath the speech of the Prime Minister George Papandreou on the new medium term plan for economic recovery, all ended up in disappointment. The Prime Minister, loyal to his political nature, overwhelmed the viewers who watched the live broadcast of the meeting of the Council of Ministers with populist words instead of specific proposals for reforms in the budget and the structure of the state. His half-an-hour speech did not present anything more than the familiar outlines of the reforms, some of which have been implemented so far and others are to be implemented - privatisation, reduction of the public sector, higher revenues and lower costs. Nothing in substance, unfortunately.
Papandreou said: "We choose to act now, not later", but added that the medium term action plan for recovery will be presented in a few weeks, without specifying exactly how. Towards the end of his Premier's speech, he said that the government will be ready with the final version of the program after Easter and it will be voted by the Parliament. "Either the rulers are not ready with the plan and slow the ball, or the program is so severe that the government wants to delay its announcement after the Easter holidays," said political analysts on Sky TV, expressing also their serious disappointment with the lack of concrete measures for the Greek salvation.
In connection with the growing opinion in and outside the country that the debt restructuring is inevitable, George Papandreou said that the mentality and the way of governance of the country need to be restructured rather than the foreign debt. According to the Prime Minister, the problem with the high foreign debt has been resolved with the adoption of the tripartite financial support. Subsequently, the gained (according to the government) reduction of the interest rates on the 110 billion euros support and the deferred time for its payment are another victory for Greece. Papandreou failed to note that Greece got the reduction of the interest rates on the tripartite loan just a week before the European Central Bank to announce the new higher base rate for the area. He also ignored the fact that the rescheduling of the repayment of the support is the only way and not absolutely certain the creditor countries to get their money back.
Another argument that Papandreou presented against the debt restructuring was that even if the Greek obligations disappear from the macro-economic field of the country as if by magic, Greece still has a huge budget deficit. "The deficit lies not just in the accounts but in the practices and policies established so far that have allowed its accumulation," he said. Therefore, the government and the citizens must unite and focus on the implementation of the planned reforms enshrined in the medium term plan. This is the same plan that the Prime Minister did not present. He called it a "road charter for economic recovery." Summarizing the goals generally, he stated that the budget revenues should reach 43% of the GDP in 2015 compared with 38% in 2009. As for the budget expenditures, the Prime Minister wished the spending to reach 44% of the GDP in 2015 instead of 53% in 2009.
In his speech on economic recovery, Papandreou did not miss to condemn the latest incident that happened to the Minister of Health and Social Security Andreas Loverdos, who was attacked on Thursday afternoon. The Prime Minister said that violence and lawlessness have no place in democracy. The Government is open to public debate and criticism, but it will not tolerate expressions of vandalism and indiscriminate violence. "We will change Greece radically, not letting anyone stop us. The process has started and the road charter lies ahead now," said in conclusion the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and we are awaiting the details of the plan after Easter.