Athens.- Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who is trailing badly on the polls for the June 7 Euro-elections, began his tour of the region of Thessaly, in central Greece, on Saturday with a visit to the Omolio project worksite where Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias briefed him on the course of the project and declared that the project will be completed in 2012 and the prime minister expressed his great satisfaction over the work being accomplished in the Tempi area.
“When this work will be completed, we shall have an excellent National Motorway, from its beginning to its end. A safe, modern motorway of European specifications,” Karamanlis said.
After being given a guided tour of the twin tunnels that are under construction, the prime minister said that “I am very satisfied with my visit here today because I can see that, after the Maliakos detour, the project is forging ahead with speedy rates along one of the most difficult and most dangerous points on the national motorway, at Tempi and at Platamonas,” he added.
Karamanlis further said that “I wish to congratulate the public works minister on the occasion for the promotion of this big project as well and to express the conviction, certainty that all who are dealing with this big and difficult project will make every effort possible to have it completed as soon as possible.”
Souflias said on his part that the twin tunnels at the Omolio worksite have a length of six kilometres. In all, 23 kilometres of twin tunnels will be constructed and two kilometres of bridges, while the biggest in length, 750 metres long, are those starting in the region of Evangelismos.
The total budget for the project from Maliakos to Klidi, in the Imathia prefecture, amounts to 1,2 billion euros, of which 850 million euros correspond to the cost of work that is currently under way at Tempi which, as the minister noted, is the most difficult.
Karamanlis also visited two projects in the prefecture of Trikala, in central Greece, on Saturday with his first stop being at the Megalohori intersection. The prime minister was given a briefing on the course of the Trikala-Larissa national motorway project and was told that it will be completely ready for use in a short period of time.
He then visited the new building housing the 10th elementary school, instead of the Theopetra cave as had been initially planned, that was built in record time and that meets all modern educational requirements.
Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou visited the 355 Regular Transport Squadron in the coastal city of Elefsina on Saturday, where firefighting aircraft are stationed, and thanked officers for their detailed briefing on their preparations for the summer and the possible wildfires they may have to tackle.
“We all feel proud of their work, their heroic efforts, particularly during peak wildfire periods, their self-sacrifice and my presence here today is to stand by their work and to commit myself that we shall be providing all the means and all the assistance necessary for their moral and material support to enable them to carry out their task without dangers for their own life,” he said.
Papandreou visited the Elefsina air base on the day of the sad anniversary of the death of Air Force pilot Costas Iliakis in the Aegean.
According to the briefing, the 13 CL15, 8 CL415, 28 PZL and 11 Grumman firefighting aircraft that the country possesses, apart from those it rents, will be in a state of full operational readiness between June 1-10, while crews and aircraft mechanics have an excellent level of preparation.
After visiting Elefsina, Papandreou visited the premises of the old fertilizers factory in Drapetsona, on the outskirts of Piraeus.
“We are here to highlight one of the big problems of Attica, particularly of the region of Drapetsona, a problem that could also be an advantage, since we can all see that the region here is probably one of the most beautiful that the Mediterranean has. However, the coastal front of Attica is forbidden for the needs of its many citizens,” he said.
Papandreou, also referring to the situation prevailing in Western Attica, said that “an ecological apartheid exists that is social injustice and inequality,” adding that “we are coming to give the same rights to the citizen.”
Speaking in an interview with the newspaper “Imerisia”, Papandreou said that the economy is a field that he will be dealing with personally.
Papandreou added that monetary restructuring must be combined with recovery and that “productive investments will contribute in the middle and long term to a monetary balance.”
Distancing himself from the ruling New Democracy party on the European Union’s Stability Pact, he said that it must be revised and that “we shall seek alliances” to achieve this.
Commenting on “green development” proposed by PASOK, Papandreou said that the linking of the environment with growth is possible and that Greece must utilise its comparative advantages that are renewable energy sources and farm products having a high nourishing value.
Communist Party of Greece Secretary General Aleka Papariga called on Saturday for the rallying, in light of the Euroelections, not only of the party’s members and friends but also of those who believe that strengthening KKE will be something positive and radical that will provide a momentum for resistance and a counter-offensive.
Papariga added that she was calling for rallying “to secure the third deputy. And, therefore, for the third deputy to be secured KKE must have a substantive and spectacular upsurge for which the preconditions exist.”
She further said that “many more can vote for KKE for the first time, knowing that it had resisted over all the past years, it had struggled and if KKE had not been like this matters would have been far worse for working people.”
Papariga concluded that KKE “has stability, an upward course and, therefore, this must be continued. It is not a shooting star party. They can’t get their hands on us. We have been put to the test. The only thing that is urgent today is that on June 8 in Brussels and in Greece there be a spectacularly different message in favour of KKE. A new beginning will take place.”
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alexis Tsipras, speaking on Saturday after touring the regions of Thrakomakedones and Menidi, on the outskirts of Athens, said that the real dilemma in the Euroelections has nothing to do with the meaningless dispute between green parrots and blue barbarians.
“The real dilemma is, if as of June 8 (the day after the Euroelections), this policy will continue that reduces rights, salaries and pensions and that leads the new generation to the sidelines,” he said.
Tsipras called on citizens to participate in the Euroelections massively and to send a message to the forces that are insisting on the one-way path of the Stability Pact, the Lisbon Treaty and on the one-way path of a policy that has led to a dead end.
“On June 7, therefore, we shall have an opportunity in our hands and we are certain that we shall utilise it,” Tsipras concluded.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, touring the coastal town of Igoumenitsa, in northwestern Greece, on Saturday reiterated his party’s position on the name of the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as well as its opposition to Albania’s accession to NATO and the European Union until “the human rights of the Greeks in Northern Epirus are settled.”
Karatzaferis also referred to the phenomenon of illegal immigration and to incidents occurring in Athens with muslim illegal immigrants, criticising leftist circles of showing their great sensitivity for the muslim religion but of failing to show similar sensitivity when the Christian religion is being reviled.
“We are participating in the Euroelections with the slogan of transparency and shaking off corruption wherever it exists,” he concluded.