NEWS

PM looks to new growth model

Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday emphasized the importance of ?creating a new growth model? to extricate Greece from its debt crisis, noting that the recipe for growth pursued to date in Greece ?has failed.?

Addressing an audience of local entrepreneurs and associations in Arta, western Greece, Papandreou said that the second bailout agreed in Brussels last week had offered Greece ?a breather? but that it was not a permanent solution to the country?s economic woes.

He stressed that the time had come to push through a raft of major structural reforms so that Greece can ?take a leap toward a better future.?

?The question is… what kind of Greece do we want to build after the crisis?? Papandreou said. ?A Greece that depends on the clay feet of foreign lenders, of statism and cronyism? Or an innovative and outward-looking economy which does not need foreign support to prosper??

Papandreou was accompanied on his visit to Arta by Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis who has heralded several initiatives aimed at boosting growth, ranging from support for ailing businesses facing bankruptcy to tighter cooperation between Greece and Germany in a range of sectors.

Papandreou?s Socialist government has come under heavy criticism for pursuing austerity measures at the expense of growth. The leader of conservative opposition New Democracy, Antonis Samaras has accused the government of killing growth prospects.

On Friday Samaras presented 31 proposals for constitutional reform. One of the changes suggested is a reduction in the number of MPs in Greece?s 300-seat Parliament. Also, ministers should be obliged to relinquish their MP status on assuming their portfolio, Samaras said.

Last month Papandreou called for a referendum on constitutional reform in the fall.