PASOK calls for dialogue over economy

After presenting its proposals for social security reform, the government is now reaching out to both employers and unions, as well as some left-wing parties, ostensibly to establish a dialogue but also to broaden its alliances and ensure that October’s local government elections do not wind up a disaster for the governing PASOK party, as is widely assumed. PASOK General Secretary Costas Laliotis yesterday made public letters he sent to the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), the civil servants’ union ADEDY, the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) and the artisans and shopkeepers’ association GSEVEE, calling for a regular dialogue with PASOK. Laliotis suggested, as possible agenda items, sustainable economic growth, the modernization of the economy, enterprise competitiveness and the fight against unemployment. He said the parties could meet regularly, once every three months. It is also Laliotis who has launched a call for a broad center-left coalition and has met with almost all the leaders of opposition parties, other than conservative New Democracy, to promote his ideas. He has also planned a conference on «the present and future of the center-left,» to be held from May 24-25 with guests from countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Sweden, with a long experience of coalition governments. The biggest obstacle to Laliotis’s overtures is skepticism about his motives. New Democracy has been quick to denounce the overture as the desperate move to cling to power by a party certain to lose the next general elections. The Left Coalition, the party Laliotis has chosen to target in his campaign, is deeply skeptical about PASOK’s willingness to treat other parties as equals, rather than as a potential reserve of voters. SEV officials also remember how Laliotis, a year ago, branded them New Democracy’s «little corner shop.» Still, PASOK is determined to pursue its overtures: It is considering backing businessman Nikos Vernikos as a candidate for mayor of Piraeus. After presenting what they see as a «union-friendly» blueprint for social security reform, the government is now ready to provide something for employers, in the form of lower taxes and further incentives for company growth. Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis is expected to announce the main tax reform measures early in April. Still, selling the social security reform package is far from a done deal. The unions are far from satisfied with the amount of money the government proposes to inject into the social security system. GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos, a PASOK member, agreed to meet with Christodoulakis and Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas, but this move has been contested by others within the GSEE executive committee, who threaten to boycott the meeting.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.