Athens.- Prime Minister George Papandreou underlined his government’s determination to change things in the country as he wrapped up a five-day Parliamentary debate that ended with the adoption of the 2010 budget. He also pledged transparency in all the government’s actions, stressing the need to restore the trust of ordinary citizens in the Greek state and the country’s credibility in the eyes of its European partners.
Parliament finally adopted the 2010 budget in the early hours of Thursday, with 160 deputies of the ruling PASOK party voted in favour and 139 deputies from the four opposition parties voting against. One deputy, out of the 300-member House, was absent.
“Those who seek to downgrade our great institutional reforms regarding the state should ask themselves why our efforts failed in the past,” Papandreou said in his address to MPs.
“We should, all together, prepare a strict timeframe regarding necessary reforms,” Papandreou said.
He went on to cite transparency, a fairer tax system leading to a more equitable redistribution of wealth and reliability as the key principles that would govern the government’s budgets in the future.
“In this difficult conjuncture, each must contribute according to their capacity. Because there are 500,000 unemployed that need real support, and social inequalities provoke tensions,” the premier said.
Referring to the government’s work since its coming to office last October, Papandreou said the cabinet has already approved nine bills, and added that the difference between his PASOK government and the previous New Democracy government was not quantitave “but concerns the orientation it serves: Who is being served by it. Our option is crystal clear: We serve the Greek citizen and only him.”
Citizen’s Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis addressed an open letter to Amnesty International’s Greek section this week as regards the establishment and operation of an internal affairs office to deal with incidents of alleged police misconduct and unlawful behaviour.
Chryssohoidis was responding to recommendations made by Amnesty International in letter on Dec. 1, 2009.
The minister reminded that no international treaty or contractual obligation undertaken by the country calls for the establishment of a special independent body to examine complaints against police. He also stressed that the reference, in the Amnesty International letter, to the European Court of Human Rights guidelines underlines the need to ensure institutional and hierarchical independence between the inspector and the inspected.
Chryssohoidis stated that the independence cited will be guaranteed by the fact that a special office will not be established within the law enforcement framework. Moreover, its personnel will be civilians and distinguished members of the judiciary.
Chryssohoidis thanked the group and all collective agencies or private citizens for their contribution to the dialogue held on the specific issue.