‘I avoid pejorative epithets’

Education Minister Marietta Giannakou is under fire from the opposition. They accuse her of bad management, which has led to the current impasse with teachers. How will this story end? Will the government be satisfied if the teachers return to school defeated? I understand and respect every group in society that wants to improve its quality of life. I particularly respect those teachers who work in difficult conditions in the provinces, in Evrytania and Epirus, who have no opportunity to add to their income from some other work. At present the economy cannot afford more than the bonus that the government has announced. The aim is to get higher salaries for teachers and for other groups in society. But when you have to establish priorities for sharing out the money of Greek taxpayers, you start with those groups that are in the greatest need and the government covered the EKAS supplementary pension fund and the farmers’ pension fund which were out of money. Referring to a recent interview of yours, some in the media commented that you had made digs at the prime minister, and the education, state and labor ministers. Is your comment that you have never called the former premier, Costas Simitis, «the high priest of corruption» an indirect criticism of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis? Look, anyone can make whatever arbitrary interpretations they like in an attempt to serve their own purposes. We really do live in a difficult environment for communication. But the fear of some misinterpretation of interviews or statements cannot lead us to ossified, wooden language, because then our communication with the public would be artificial. I have been in politics for 17 years, and I avoid using aggressive and pejorative epithets. Whatever I have to say, I say clearly and I have never feared any attempt at distortion.