NEWS

Samaras says government is heading for collapse

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has accused the government of being «close to collapse» and of «handing the keys to Greece» over to its creditors.

Speaking to the opposition party’s political committee at ND’s new headquarters on Sygrou Avenue on Saturday, accused the government of being in a state of semi-paralysis after a week during which PASOK was heavily criticized for its clumsy handling of a number of issues, including privatization, municipal taxes for homeowners and liberalization of closed professions.

«We are not talking about the government taking a few wrong steps, this is a case of lots of repeated signs of confusion and weakness,» he said.

Samaras focused on the government’s disagreement with the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank over plans to raise 50 billion euros by privatizing state assets.

«We said last year that Greece has to make use of the state assets that are idle,» he said, adding that the conservatives had suggested that 50 billion euros could be raised from this process.

He suggested that Greece does not have to sell off its assets but could enter into lease agreements or Public Private Partnerships to raise money. The ND leader insisted that this is what the government should have done from the start rather than borrow 110 billion euros.

«They ask us why we don’t agree [with Greece’s emergency loan agreement],» said Samaras. «What should we agree to: the government’s proposals or those of the troika, which is asking for a sell-off?

«Everyone can see that the memorandum leads to a dead-end and the troika realized that without making use of state assets, we cannot tackle our debt problem.»

Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis accused former Culture Minister Samaras of «self-adulation» and failing to tell the truth.

«New Democracy claims that it has said everything and has warned about everything but that the government was not listening,» he said.

«What Mr Samaras has not managed to explain is why he did not advise the previous [New Democracy] government of Costas Karamanlis about all this since they destroyed the country and led it to require emergency loans.»