15 February, 2006
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking in a television broadcast last night, following a sweeping government reshuffle announced earlier in the day, said that the aim of the new government is to speed up reforms needed by the country in the state apparatus, the economy, education and health with greater determination, adding that this also applies to changes in public utilities.
Karamanlis pointed out that these reforms will have a positive and an immediate effect on both the state apparatus and the economy.
Referring to the challenge posed by the economy, the prime minister said that the irresponsibility and extravagance of previous governments in 2004 increased the deficit to 6.6 percent of GDP and this entailed a serious cost for society and citizens, particularly for the financially weaker.
"We were called on to reverse this very unpleasant reality. And we are doing this with confident, responsible and decisive steps and in the mildest of ways," he said.
Karamanlis further said that the government is taking decisions which are not pleasant for the time being but that will bear fruit for all, particularly for those in greater need.
"I am following a policy with responsibility and social sensitivity," the prime minister said and stressed that for the time being there is no ground for immediate support for the financially weaker and for pensioners in particular. However, he reassured that his commitments will be observed in full upon completion of the government's four-year term.
Karamanlis said that the government is laying strong foundations for the development of the economy and it is forging ahead with decisive steps for a renewal of the state apparatus, the reduction of bureaucracy and the transition to a state apparatus that will be effective and close to the citizen.
"Our policies are already producing tangible results. Reforms in public utilities and in the wider public sector, as well as in the other sectors, will continue," he said.
Referring to the planned amendment of the constitution, the prime minister said that it aims to serve the needs of the new era, adding that he is aware of the serious difficulties facing the country, which will be overcome with boldness and intensive work.
"Society, more mature than ever, supports the policy of reforms. The citizens know that only in this way will the problems of the past be overcome. Only in this way will a framework of security, continuous growing and permanent prosperity for all be created," Karamanlis said.
"This reality makes our responsibilities even bigger. And we are determined to respond in full to the responsibilities we have undertaken," he added.
Source: Athens News Agency