Insurance plans backfire
Government's plans for a reform of the national insurance system caused a great stir in Greece. The Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) and the Confederation of Public Servants (ADEDY), the two major trade unions in Greece, have started planning their reaction to this government policy.
As ADEDY's president Spiros Papaspirou said, people cannot agree with the decrease in their pension payments this reform entails. All the political parties in opposition have given their full support to trade unions and the demands of the people. Minister of National Economy Giannos Papantoniou stated that Greece needs a reform of its insurance policy and that the government is trying to achieve this keeping the best interest of people in mind.
He also stated that no new taxes will be implemented as a result of the government's plans for reform. Nevertheless, people in Greece totally detest these plans: according to a poll organised by Metron Analyses for ANT1, 76.3 per cent of the public is definitely against the reform, 9.2 per cent is probably against it and 14.5 per cent is undecided.
According to Prime Minister Simitis, the government is willing to sit and negotiate with trade unions. However, it still does not demonstrate the appropriate political will, as it is not keen on the idea of negotiations regarding all aspects of its reform policy.
Trade unions take action
According to GSEE, the demonstration that it had organised on 27 April was the biggest and best-organised demonstration to take place in Greece in the past 25 years, not only because of the number of participants (almost 100,000) but also because of the fact that it was the first time that people working in the private sector of Greek economy had taken part in a GSEE event.
The demonstration was organised as a response to government plans to reform the current insurance policy in Greece. GSEE is planning a new 24-hour strike on 17 May, to also be joined by ADEDY.
Austrian visit to Greece
Heinz Fisher, President of the Austrian Parliament, met both the President of the Hellenic Republic Constantine Stefanopoulos and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday 28 April; they discussed the further enlargement of the European Union and issues related to European integration.
Moreover, as current president of the Socialist International, Fisher had further talks with Prime Minister Simitis on the need for coordination between Socialist Parties in Europe. Both men have, however, agreed on the need to encourage European integration.
New Democracy election results
George Orfanos, supported by New Democracy President Constantine Karamanlis, won a close victory against Dora Bakogianni, daughter of the former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, in the elections for a new political council of the New Democracy Party.
More specifically, George Orfanos gained 228 votes, while Dora Bakogianni gained 227. Vassilis Mihaloliakos came third with 190 votes, the journalist Panos Panagiotopoulos came fourth with 159 votes and Nikitas Kaklamanis came fifth with 125 votes. Finally, Vangelis Meimarakis, supported by Karamanlis, was elected to the position of Secretary of the party with 320 votes.
Prime Minister questioned over official reaction
Athens' reaction to the issue of the political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey will form part of a wider European effort, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday in Parliament, in response to questions from Communist Party (KKE) deputy Liana Kanelli. He stressed that this is the right time to react, as Turkey has to abide with the Copenhagen criteria (respect of human rights, of human liberty, of freedom of speech, etc) to finally become a member of European Union.
Three deputies at the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) also asked Papandreou similar questions regarding the series of deaths among hunger strikers within and outside prison in Turkey. Kanelli was critical of Papandreou for failing to take a stance on a personal level, while contending that the "excellent relations" between Athens and Ankara and the frequent contact between Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem warranted a more active involvement on his part.
Konstantinos Louridas, 27 April 2001
- Archive of Greece news reviews
- Browse through the CER eBookstore for electronic books
- Buy English-language books on Central and Eastern Europe through CER
- Return to CER front page
Athens News Agency