NEWS

PM looks to EU for action on economy

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday called for coordinated action within the European Union to tackle the global economic crisis, as an emergency meeting of EU leaders was being lined up. Karamanlis was on an official visit to Malta when he made the comments. At the same time Spain was pressing France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, to set up a meeting of the bloc’s leaders in Paris tomorrow. The premier tried to allay fears that Greece, as well as other European countries, could slip into a recession but said that the true extent of the crisis was not yet known. «There is an interdependence of economies [in Europe] but we are not seeing the wild swings seen in the United States,» he said. Malta’s prime minister, Lawrence Gonzi, said it was a time for «difficult and unpopular decisions that would help keep the economy strong and competitive.» Karamanlis returned to the idea of EU-level action rather than suggesting that his own government would be willing to make unpopular decisions. The prime minister and his aides were still mulling the impact of the latest opinion poll to show PASOK edging ahead of the Conservatives. A Public Issue survey made public on Thursday put the Socialists one percent ahead of New Democracy. Questions were again being asked within ND about whether removing government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, who accompanied Karamanlis to Malta, might help the fortunes. Roussopoulos told journalists that he is the victim of mudslinging.