PASOK chief presents 10-point plan

Socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who heads the second party in the coalition government, on Tuesday presented to his parliamentary group a 10-point «strategic framework» for the country’s recovery, reiterating calls for the extension of Greece’s fiscal adjustment period by two years.

Venizelos stressed that his party would support the coalition government for its full four-year term but emphasized that there could be no more «horizontal cuts» to salaries and pensions or other measures that aggravate an already deep recession. Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, who leads Democratic Left, have opposed such across-the-board measures being taken by the government to drum up the 11.5 billion euros in savings for 2013 and 2014 being demanded by creditors despite the insistence by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for Greece to make good on commitments to creditors without further delay.

The 10-point plan presented by Venizelos proposes immediate actions by the government from now until creditors release their report on the country’s reform progress, expected in September, and notes that Greece most show «great determination» in executing the budget for 2012 and promoting structural changes. He noted that obstacles to planned privatizations should be eliminated without delay.

The former finance minister added that Greece’s fiscal adjustment period needs to be extended by two years until the end of 2016 and proposed the drafting of an updated mid-term program for the period from 2012 to 2016. This program should be costed but should avoid horizontal cuts affecting those on low- and medium-level incomes, he said, adding that action should be taken in parallel to boost social cohesion.

Venizelos also stressed the importance of taking «immediate and tangible» measures to increase employment and improving Greece’s battered international image.

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