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07 March, 2001
The modernization of Greek society is not achieved by the state, but through dialogue among the citizens of the country, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday, during an address to an event entitled "Toward an Open Society, Toward a Society of Citizens".
"The modernization of society is not an affair of the State. The vision of an open society ... is stated and specified by the citizens themselves ... it becomes an every day affair by the society itself," the premier said.
Simitis called on society to set aside the attachments to the past and move forward without fear, calling the present era "special due to the speed and radical form of the changes" that are taking place in a globalized environment.
"These changes are coming on all levels, ranging from the level of international relations to everyday life, from communications to social relations, from the political system to the economy," he said adding that this new reality is complex and "one of many dangers, but rich in challenges and possibilities".
He said that Greece is currently at the center of developments, having made "great steps of progress", causing changes that cannot be negated.
These changes include the increased per capita income of the country, compared to the 1950s, the fact that Greece is at the heart of the international system, also the fact that the country for the first time in its history is a net importer of human resources and finally the fact that democracy has grown deep roots in the country, the premier outlined.
Through these changes "a new individual and collective self-confidence for our prospects and the future of the generation that is coming is being built," the premier said.
He added that society should not consider those in need as passive recipients of aid, rather it should contribute toward the creation of conditions that would resolve the problem and not prolong it.
He stressed that society and the state should support those who do not have the ability to follow the mainstream or do not feel they can follow, but should not yield to those who do not want to follow because they lose their privileges.
The Greek premier called for a positive outlook toward globalization and stood against a blind "return to the past", saying that "the Greece of the 21st century does not need to return to the vision of fear, insecurity and inertia".
"This vision is not fitting for a modern country, is not fitting for the dignity of the Greek citizen," he added.
Speaking on the quality of Greek democracy, he said that it is in "immediate correlation with the degree to which the state takes care to establish within itself control and accountability mechanisms for the executive branch, as well as for every branch of the state".
The premier closed his address by calling on the left to embrace modernization and globalization and enter the international dialogue with self-assurance, stressing that "this dimension of globalization, the dimension of universality, is one that humanism and the democratic left have made their standard".
Source: Athens News Agency