Papandreou issues stark warning

In the midst of a political climate that has been strained by PASOK and New Democracy seeking to gain from the developments in the parliamentary probes into corruptions scandals, Prime Minister George Papandreou gave a stark warning to all parties that they face a terrible backlash from the public if they fail to find a way cooperate. «If we do not put the country in order, if we do not create a sense of justice, if there is no respect for the law, they will chase all of us away with stones, and rightly so,» he told Parliament. Papandreou then made an appeal directly to New Democracy, whose leader Antonis Samaras said that his party was ready to make some proposals about the economy and combating unemployment over the next few days, to also have an input on how Greece can battle corruption. «We insist on transparency in our country, on rules and accountability, on fighting corruption,» said the prime minister. «We insist on investigating major cases of mismanagement. If you want to contribute effectively, help clean up those immense wounds, so we can eventually turn a page in this country and establish law and order and a sense of justice.» The two parties have recently been at odds over the parliamentary investigations into the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal and the Vatopedi Monastery real estate exchange. ND wants former Socialist Prime Minister Costas Simitis to face the Siemens inquiry and PASOK has called for ex-conservative Premier Costas Karamanlis to appear before the Vatopedi panel. Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos warned yesterday that this tit-for-tat behavior was giving the impression that it was open season on all politicians. «It is inconceivable that former prime ministers or party leaders be called to face questions just so their public image is damaged and that more grist is thrown into a discussion which seems to have no end.» Papandreou’s call for unity came as Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman suggested that Greece only has a 50-50 chance of remaining in the eurozone. «Through monstrous sacrifice, what Greece manages to do over the next five years is increase its debt from 115 to 140 percent of GDP,» he said at the Swiss Economic Forum. «And for some reason, we’re supposed to believe that as of 2015, Greece regains access to the markets and everything is fine. I don’t quite understand why that’s supposed to work.»