NEWS

Government spokesman defends midterm fiscal plan

Approval of the five-year medium-term fiscal plan, a condition for ensuring a fifth loan payment under the EU-led bailout for debt-chocked Greece, is ?in the national interest? government spokesman Ilias Mosialos said late on Monday.

In an interview with Skai Television?s ?New Files? program on Monday, the newly appointed spokesman and minister of state warned that failure to pass the austerity measures demanded by Greece’s international lenders, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, would result in a suspension of payments — meaning that the government will not be in a position to pay salaries and pensions.

?We had the courage to pass the memorandum, we now have the courage to pass the midterm economic program which runs against vested interests,? said Mosialos, a former health policy professor at the London School of Economics.

Mosialos vowed that the socialist administration would speed up reforms and privatizations to put its finances right. ?We are the reformist party par excellence,? he said of the ruling PASOK.

George Papandreou, the socialist prime minister, reshuffled his cabinet last week after failing to reach a cross-party agreement on a unity coalition with conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras.