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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-21

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Prime Minister Karamanlis vows to pursue reform drive

  • [01] Prime Minister Karamanlis vows to pursue reform drive

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis pledged at the weekend that his government would pursue its reform drive.

    "The country's future lies in great change and reform," the premier told a meeting of the ruling New Democracy party's central committee.

    "The basic, immediate target is to improve the quality of state education, bring about a rebirth of the state university, and undertake reforms that will lead to the education (system) of the future," he said.

    Action was needed to resolve the problem of universities producing many degree holders who were unable to find jobs.

    "Our universities need change. They need to acquire new abilities and offer degrees with a recognised value, in order to meet more fully their role for growth, social movement and progress," Karamanlis underlined.

    It was positive that the way was open for revision of article 16 of the constitution on private universities.

    Another key point in the government drive concerned the management of woodland in terms of article 24 of the constitution.

    "We are employing the principle of viable growth with a goal of protecting the environment while making use of land to strengthen growth," the prime minister reported.

    In addition, the government was moving to improve workings of the the state, which he described as ailing.

    "Despite major steps that have been taken, many more are needed. Clear-cut constitutional clarifications and guarantees are required, and the state has to be allowed to make use the entirety of its specialised human resources, beyond the current status quo for state workers, and it will gain this right," the premier noted.

    "The distinction between permanent and non-permanent staff is arbitary as it hinders the utilisation of human resources," he added.

    Turning to a recent terrorist attack on the US embassy in Athens, in which no-one was injured, Karamanlis stated: "All Greeks strongly condemn this attack, and we condemn any act that is targeted at society itself and the country's interests."

    Finally, the prime minister laid a broad agenda for the party's next party congress, which is due in June or July, including internal dialogue on all major issues and an action plan for the maintenance of reform strategy in all areas.

    "We are not playing games of populism, we are not sinking to (political) polarisation, and we are not responding to provocation in the form of sterile confrontation or fanaticism. We have adopted practices that promote national unity," he stated.

    "I wish to build a wide bridge for reform in the next four-year government term, for major statutory change that is to follow general elections in 2008," the premier said.

    New Democracy came to power in March 2004, and the next elections are due in spring 2008. Karamanlis has repeatedly brushed off pressure from the opposition for early polls.

    Education priority for ND

    Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou told the central committee meeting that she was resolved that changes planned for the sector would be implemented.

    "Changes in the education system need great effort and that is why the prime minister has place them at the forefront of his reform policy. In the last two years, the goverment has provided all opportunites for dialogue," Yiannakou noted.

    Underling the need for a collective drive to support changes in education was Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, who called the government's strategy for the sector "the largest reform."

    He also outlined his ministry's main targets for 2007, which include boosting regional growth, a bill to allow the sale or lease of state property, a bill to reorganise the capital market, the implementation of rules of operation for banks, and a bill to set up a national commission to help tackle tax evasion.

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