PASOK MPs urge government to alter memorandum

Just a few days before representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – known collectively as the troika – are due back in Athens for the latest check on how the Greek economy is progressing and some two weeks before the government submits vital legislation to Parliament, a number of PASOK MPs added their voices on Thursday to those who say that the emergency loan agreement signed last year is no longer appropriate for Greece.

Socialist deputy Mimis Androulakis said that the loan agreement, known as the memorandum, was the ?wrong therapy plan? for Greece and argued that the government should seek to restructure the country?s debt, asking investors to accept lower returns on the Greek debt they hold.

His colleague, Petros Economou, said the memorandum had ?outlived its usefulness? and that it ?worsened Greece?s debt problem and that?s why we have to find another solution.? Economou also declared himself against the imminent privatization plan.

Another PASOK MP, Odysseas Voudouris, suggested that Finance Ministry officials should attempt to renegotiate the terms of the memorandum when troika representatives are in Athens next week.

Lawmaker Costas Kartalis urged the government to develop a policy program that goes ?beyond the memorandum.? ?There are other things that need to happen [apart from the reforms in the memorandum] in Greece,? he said.

The government has decided to unveil three key policies – its privatization program, its midterm economic goals and any extra austerity measures – on April 15.

The issue of privatizations has already stirred discontent within the ruling party and among ministers, forcing Papandreou to say that he would pass a law preventing any government from selling public land without Parliament?s approval. However, following talks with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, the government has committed to raising 50 billion euros from privatizations by 2015.

The government?s midterm fiscal plan, which covers the period 2012 to 2015, will have to set out policies for collecting 22 billion euros on top of another 1.8 billion that must be cut this year. Greece?s target is to bring the deficit down to 1 percent of gross domestic product by 2015.

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