NEWS

Gov’t seeks to shift focus amid hail of criticism

TAGS: Politics, Economy

The government is seeking to shift public attention to a positive narrative before the next round of negotiations with the country’s international creditors gets under way in the fall and as the conservative opposition lambasts it for its perceived failure in matters of law and order.

Following a short break this week ahead of the weekend’s Dormition of the Virgin public holiday, government officials are to return to the capital next week for talks expected to concentrate on preparing for negotiations with creditors and moving forward with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s plans for a review of Greece’s Constitution.

The negotiations are expected to focus on the additional flexibility in terms of labor that creditors want in the private sector, demands that Greek ministers have pledged to counter, and calls for the more efficient tackling of billions of euros of nonperforming loans that are burdening local banks, with the Greek side insisting that primary residences will be protected from foreclosures.

Another task on the agenda next week is the formation of a committee that will prepare the government’s proposal for constitutional reform for public consultation.

The government is girding for a possible increase in public discontent in the fall, when tax bills will be heavier and another round of tough negotiations with creditors looms.

The insistence of the conservative opposition New Democracy on highlighting the government’s poor record in the area of law and order has also fueled concern in the ranks of the government as sections of leftist SYRIZA continue to express solidarity with occupants of illegal squats and alleged perpetrators of other offenses.

ND spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos commented on the matter again on Wednesday, condemning government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili for her delayed response to the recent interruption of a mass at Thessaloniki’s cathedral by self-styled anarchists.

“I must revile with all my might the fact that the government remained speechless for at least 48 hours after this first attack,” he told Real FM, noting that Gerovasili was quick to condemn a subsequent arson attack on the Holy Synod’s offices in Athens.

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