Gov’t pushes for consensus

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday stressed that political consensus was crucial in the face of «a complex and major financial crisis» as opposition parties slammed the government’s economic policies on the eve of scheduled talks between the premier and party leaders. «Europe is experiencing a complex and major financial crisis whose duration, depth and breadth are impossible to predict,» Karamanlis said after briefing President Karolos Papoulias on the outcome of a European Union emergency summit in Brussels last weekend. The premier stressed that the fallout of the financial crisis, and its social impact, demanded «a responsible attitude and maturity from everyone – politicians, professionals, social groups and citizens.» Karamanlis avoided responding to a scathing attack on the government’s policies by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, who has called for early elections. But government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros remarked that PASOK’s «extreme stances do not contribute to the creation of a constructive political climate.» «Others have pre-empted tomorrow’s talks, not the government,» he said. Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis remarked that political parties «in all European Union countries except Greece» are working together to tackle the fallout of the financial crisis. PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papaconstantinou retorted that PASOK was not prepared to back the policies of ruling New Democracy, saying it «had no credibility in the eyes of citizens, the EU and international markets.» Synaspismos Left Coalition leader Alexis Tsipras accused the government of using the economic crisis as an «pretext» for the policies it has been following.

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