28 March, 2005
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday appeared unwavering in his determination to combat so-called "vested interests" as well as corruption in the country, a pre-election "banner" he again unfurled during a high-profile event on Crete in honor of the large island's best-known 'native son', 20th century Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos.
Karamanlis was the keynote speaker at Sunday's annual memorial ceremony at the tombs of Eleftherios and Sophocles Venizelos.
"We have an obligation, and that's what we are doing, to clash with the vested interests and corruption that swelled to dangerous levels in recent years. In modern Greece the rules must be the same for all; to ensure transparency everywhere; to render the citizen dominant and to serve the common good," Karamanlis told an audience of Cabinet members, local officials and hundreds of Cretans gathered at the Akrotiri site, near the ancestral home of the Venizelos family outside of Hania.
Moreover, Karamanlis reiterated that he stands by his promise of "re-establishing the state", referring to an obligation to make the east Mediterranean nation of roughly 11 million competitive in both Europe and the world.
"Our country faces many and serious problems due to conservatism, inertia and a lack of daring in the past. It faces difficulties because of an increase in the public debt and deficits in the wider public sector," Karamanlis stressed.
Amid a looming political skirmish with Brussels over a constitutional article and executive legislation regarding media ownership in the country as well as vociferous criticism by the main opposition on the subject, particularly on the so-called 'primary shareholder' law, Karamanlis ticked off a list of factors he said nurtured the country's problems.
"...an absence of absolutely necessary structural changes, but also, (due to) the formation of an 'establishment of (vested) interests', which is a system of corruption and collusion, a regime of opacity and lawlessness. We have an obligation ... to proceed towards rationalizing public finances and establishing a new development process," Karamanlis added.
"(Eleftherios) Venizelos was always ready to clash with whatever adversities came before him, as long as he believed it was what the homeland desired and that it would serve the common good," the prime minister said in extolling the life and work of the elder Venizelos, who died in 1936.
Source: Athens News Agency