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PASOK’s time is over, another formation will take its place, predicts Costas Simitis

24 January 2012 / 16:01:25  GRReporter
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The former party leader and Prime Minister of Greece Costas Simitis announced the end of PASOK. He said during a discussion, organized by the Green Party of Germany in Berlin, "something else will come" in its place but it will be the result of "internal dynamics" rather than of external pressure.

Costas Simitis defended his policy the result of which was the accession of Greece into the eurozone and the criteria applied for this purpose. "The argument that Greece had managed to access the eurozone without meeting the requirements for this is not true. We included the cost for the purchase of weapons not in the year of signing the contract but in the year of their supply to Greece." He said that not all members accepted this method at the time.
In his speech entitled "Greece, quo vadis?," the former Prime Minister described the conditions set for the budgetary recovery of Greece as "unrealistic". "Those who prepared the memorandum failed to connect its goals with the actual developments, i.e. the recession." In his opinion, the Greek government had to negotiate with the lenders to the state, make suggestions and sign only after determining the conditions ensuring development. Costas Simitis also stressed that Greece was the weaker party, because it was under the burden of foreign debt and did not avail the necessary people to make a proper assessment of the consequences. He said the strength of the creditors consisted mainly of German partners, who have chosen the method of "punishment" - to bring "undisciplined" Greeks to their senses by incredibly high rates of bailouts. "This is a black pedagogy, which was removed from schools years ago and it should not be applied in international relations," was the comment of the president of the Greens in the European Parliament Daniel Cohn Bendit.

In response to a question about the consequences in case Greece exits the eurozone, Costas Simitis defined this option as "a severe situation" and "a catastrophe" that will affect mostly the low and middle income bracket, while the rich will increase their capital. "Populists are those who want to return to the drachma. The truth is that they have exported their euro abroad. This is propaganda by marginal or bad businessmen. But we will not do them this service."

The former Prime Minister expressed his pessimism regarding the eradication of clientelist relations in Greek society. "The Greeks like this system. This is something we have to admit. "

He clearly rejected the idea of returning to premiership."I held this post for eight years and that was enough. I had to make room for younger people." For this reason, Costas Simitis refused to answer the question of what are the first three things he would do if he headed the cabinet again. However, he did not refuse to share his opinion on the reorganization of Europe and Greece as an "ordinary citizen". "Under these conditions, the drastic reduction of interest rates on obligations would play a key role."

He described the results of the European summit last October as satisfactory, but added that "they only partially solve the debt crisis" and that Europe should establish real economic governance, even by changing the pacts. According to Costas Simitis, this government could be formed within the eurozone and its members could create new institutions, such as "Eurozone Minister of Finance." His other proposal is the drawing of a plan for development and investment in which countries outside the eurozone will not be entitled to an opinion.

He rejected the theory that excessive wastefulness was the only reason for Greece's debt and stressed the difference between the European north and south, "with which Europe has not managed to cope effectively." He proposed the drawing up of "a general plan for progress" of the eurozone, consistent with the inequalities and warned of catastrophic consequences of its eventual breakup.

During the discussion, members of the Greek community in Berlin hung posters reading Siemens, and their representative stated, "the invitation of Costas Simitis to tell us which route Greece should take is particularly problematic." She argued that the former Prime Minister "has played a significant role in the Greek political scene and bears some responsibility for the current state of the country, since while he was in power, corruption in Greece has greatly increased." The protesters pointed out the names of close associates to Costas Simitis, Theodoros Tsoukatos and Tassos Mandelis, and former Minister of Defence Akis Tsohadzopoulos who, according to the German justice, had also embezzled public funds. They invited the former Prime Minister, "the man who sacrificed the Greek people" and is "associated with the accession of the country in the eurozone , the country he criticizes today, to take his responsibility and withdraw." Costas Simitis refused to comment on the intervention of the group, which some of the audience rewarded with applause.

Tags: PoliticsCostas SimitisEurozoneMemorandumPASOKCriticism
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