NEWS

Papandreou turns fire on New Democracy

Following the high-stakes political bargaining in Brussels and other European capitals in recent days, Prime Minister George Papandreou turned his focus on Tuesday to the domestic scene with a thunderous attack on New Democracy ahead of a debate in Parliament on Wednesday on the latest economic developments.

Speaking at a meeting of PASOK MPs and buoyed by the weekend agreement among eurozone leaders for the terms of Greece?s 110-billion-euro emergency loan package to be improved, Papandreou did not pull any punches in his criticism of the conservatives, who scorned the Brussels deal. ?Nothing we gained in Brussels was gifted to us and we do not accept lessons in negotiating from those who ran away from the problems that they created,? he told deputies.

?They were borrowing in the name of the Greek people and before the bill was brought to the table, they got up and left, leaving those next in line to pay,? said Papandreou in reference to the previous New Democracy government.

The prime minister also accused the opposition party and its leader Antonis Samaras of giving mixed messages about their own stance on Greece?s economic challenges.

Commentators remarked that Papandreou?s speech received a much warmer reception from PASOK deputies than recent addresses he had made. The premier will be hoping for another positive performance in Parliament today when the House will hear from all the party leaders on the subject of the recent deal in Brussels as well as how Greece will continue on the road to economic recovery.

Samaras responded by suggesting that the government agreed to a ?secret agenda? of new measures in order to convince eurozone leaders to improve Greece?s loan terms and that these would soon be unleashed on the Greek people.

Barbed comments were also exchanged between the two parties after PASOK secretary Michalis Karchimakis appeared to suggest that ND officials might have been responsible for a bogus e-mail that circulated last week purporting to be from a top banker with inside knowledge that Greece was going to default on March 25. Police sources told Kathimerini that the original e-mail appears to have been sent by a 45-year-old machinist from Crete to several blogs, one of which published it and then sent it to hundreds of other e-mail inboxes.