ECONOMY

ND chairman’s economy speech marks TIF finale

New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis will try to present his own vision for the economy at a speech tonight on the grounds of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF). Karamanlis is already touring nearby cities in northern Greece, attacking the government’s economic and environmental record. Unless he springs a surprise, the basic content of Karamanlis’s speech is already known: He will call for a «more aggressive» economic policy «in tune with the needs of the times» and will accuse the government of not being bolder with its economic reforms. This is a line taken by New Democracy in the past six and a half years that Costas Simitis has been prime minister, that the ruling Socialists have hijacked conservative policies without daring to admit it and that they have carried them out badly. Karamanlis will also call for a «refoundation of the state,» meaning a thorough restructuring of the state administration to make it more effective. If the message sounds bland, inside sources say, it it because a number of warring barons within his party are giving Karamanlis advice on economic issues, fighting for access, effectively negating each other and leading the leader of the opposition to choose the safe option of not making too many specific commitments. Karamanlis’s speech today, and press conference tomorrow, will mark the last two days of the 67th TIF. According to the organizers, the fair has attracted a slightly larger number of visitors and a far larger number of commercial delegates than last year. The TIF organizers, the government and local authorities have used the fair to boost Thessaloniki’s candidacy to host the 2008 World Exposition (EXPO 2008). The fair will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. over the weekend. But he only goes so far. He does not ask, as is necessary, what was the reason for this crushing national and international historic failure, with its untold suffering and staggering number of victims. Because wherever communism has been, wherever it has seized power or attempted to seize power, it has left behind ruin and corpses.