Friday, January 19, 2007

Papandreou criticises government

Visiting the northern Greek city of Naousa in Imathia, central Macedonia on Monday, Greece's main opposition leader George Papandreou slammed the government's policies at home and abroad. According to the president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), the government lacked a serious and carefully planned policy for foreign affairs, while its policies in other areas were dominated by cronyism and patronage.

"The government has missed enormous opportunities in Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue. This is something that burdens our country's agenda abroad and, of course, this has repercussions on the economy, social policy and trade," he said.

Regarding local concerns about the dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over FYROM's use of the name 'Macedonia' - also shared with the geographical area spanning almost the entire breadth of northern Greece - Papandreou said concern over the government's views on the handling of foreign policy issues, especially the lack of initiatives, was shared by all of Greece.

Noting that Greece had lost its former lead in the Balkan region, Papandreou stressed that this was more serious for Macedonia, which was adjacent to the new EU member-states, Bulgaria and Romania, whose borders had now opened and for which Greece should a carefully studied policy.

This lack of planning also extended to domestic issues, where there was a lack of comprehensive and planned policies to promote development and benefit the citizens, he added.

During his visit to the city, Papandreou met Naousa Mayor Tassos Karabatzos and other local officials, who outlined problems arising from the city's deindustrialisation and the resulting high unemployment, as well as problems faced by farmers, hoteliers and businesses.

Challenged by local workers made redundant by the Klostiria Naousis textile plant over PASOK's failure to back a government bill introducing measures for the relief of those who lost their jobs, Papandreou said his party was against "charity" and wanted a comprehensive policy for the region.

"Our own proposal is different from that implemented today by New Democracy. We believe in another way, which is a comprehensive approach for reconstruction of the region," he said.

No comments: