PM heads to trade fair on high note

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is getting ready to outline his annual economic policy in Thessaloniki in a few days on the back of a fresh burst of optimism that his conservative government’s recent structural reforms seem to have delivered. Karamanlis is said to be preparing the next batch of changes to the economy after passing through Parliament this summer a series of controversial reforms that were widely opposed by union groups but supported by business leaders. Sources say that he will focus on reforms in his keynote economic speech on Friday and avoid enticing voters by offering handouts. «I am fairly optimistic. In one year, if nothing goes seriously wrong, we will have the first positive results which will give us the feeling that things are taking off,» Karamanlis was quoted as saying by industry officials who met with him yesterday. The Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) is the country’s largest trade event and provides a platform each year for the prime minister to show how his government is to maintain economic growth in the next 12 months. Some 3,000 police officers from all over the country are expected to protect the trade fair in a security operation that has already started to take form. Unions groups have announced their plans to demonstrate on Saturday. Police, firefighters and port officials have also decided to demonstrate on Friday over pay disputes.