Reforms vital for Greece, says Greek PM amidst anti-reform protests

Source: ATHENS, July 11 (PNA/Xinhua) —

Greece stands on its own feet again after a severe economic crisis and Europe faces the future with more confidence, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told a financial forum in Athens on Thursday evening.

Greece this year is exiting recession and returns to development thanks to the reforms introduced which are “vital, not luxury” for the country, along with fiscal consolidation and growth- oriented policies, Samaras stressed, addressing an Economist forum.

Amidst a new wave of protests against reforms aimed to streamline the public sector and privatization plans for the public power corporation PPC-DEI, the Greek Premier accused a group of unionists and the main opposition of seeking to block any reform.

“They resist any effort for change…They will not manage to obstruct this course,” Samaras stressed.

Public sector employees held a new 24-hour strike on Wednesday in protest of fresh salary cuts and a mobility scheme which leads to more dismissals.

The Greek parliament ratified on the same a bill which opens the way for the sale of 30 percent of stakes of PPC-DEI next year.

The government argues that the liberalization of the energy market will benefit consumers, while labor unions and opposition parties object to the privatization and try to put the issue on a referendum.

Despite innumerous strikes and protests after the start of the crisis over the painful austerity and reform program introduced four years ago under bailout deals in return of international loans, Greece made significant progress in fiscal consolidation, but still has way to go on reforms, officials and analysts point out.

The necessity to fully implement structural reforms without wasting time was underlined on Thursday at the start of the new regular review of the Greek program by envoys of EU/IMF lenders in Athens.

According to Greek Finance Ministry sources the foreign officials insisted that the focus should stay on reforms in coming months. They appeared to dismiss any talk for the moment of reduction of taxes as a way to boost growth, as suggested by Samaras during his speech on Thursday and other Greek officials.

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