Gov’t planning PR drive against aggressive opposition rhetoric

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his aides are reportedly planning a public relations campaign aimed at highlighting certain positive government initiatives to offset the impact of increasingly aggressive opposition rhetoric and, specifically, what government officials decry as “scaremongering” by leftist SYRIZA.

Sources close to Samaras have expressed fear that SYRIZA is resorting to scaremongering as its chief tactic and is disregarding the possible implications of this strategy on the country’s fate.

Samaras and his team aim to fight back, sources told Kathimerini. State officials plan to draw attention to initiatives such as the granting of 50,000 temporary jobs – at municipalities, schools, courts, social insurance funds and hospitals – for college graduates struggling to find work amid a deepening recession. Another “success story” to be touted is the fact that authorities this year succeeded in securing adequate funding to accommodate all the families that applied for a position for their child at a state creche.

Ministers will be asked to submit files containing outlines of similar upbeat initiatives to Samaras’s aides who are to handle the initiative, sources said.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday shifted his focus away from domestic politics, amid reports that the US has sought the use of Greek military bases and air and sea access ahead of an anticipated strike on Syria, and called for an emergency session in Parliament regarding Greece’s position ahead of the intervention. In a letter to Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, Tsipras asked for a briefing to be delivered by Samaras. “The briefing is absolutely necessary as reports suggest that the country is under pressure to facilitate a military intervention,” the leftist leader said.

Commenting on the issue on Wednesday, President Karolos Papoulias noted simply that “those taking the decisions should carefully consider the matter of an intervention in Syria.”

In another headache for Samaras, anti-Greek rhetoric flared up again in Germany’s pre-election campaign with Chancellor Angela Merkel blaming the debt crisis in the eurozone on the decision by her Social Democratic predecessor Gerhard Schroeder to allow Greece into the bloc.