Steve Chiotakis: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou says he could step down as early as today, or whenever a new government takes over there. That parliament will have to push through big cuts needed for a European rescue package. The opposition up to now has been vehemently against big cuts. But that party — called the New Democracy party — is likely to take over the government soon.
Simeon Kedikoglou is a member of Parliament for the New Democracy movement and he joins us now from Athens. Hi there.
Simeon Kedikoglou: Hello.
Chiotakis: Why are you opposed to these austerity cuts in the parliament?
Kedikoglou: Listen, because the policy of austerity and only austerity doesn’t solve the problem, it makes it bigger. Right now, I think that everybody understands that we need growth and development so that we can fulfill our obligations regarding our European partners and the IMF.
Chiotakis: Will the new unity government, you think, support this bailout and the government cuts that are proposed?
Kedikoglou: The new government is going to be a temporary government just for the time needed to implement the Brussels deal — to pass it through parliament. And after that, we will have elections as soon as possible.
Chiotakis: So, what is the New Democracy party, your party, do to get Greece out of all this debt?
Kedikoglou: We agree with the goals set by our European partners — we want a balanced budget, we want to have a smaller public sector. But without growth and development, we won’t be able to fulfill our obligations, so it’s just obvious that the policy that was up til now implemented reached no results. It was making the problem worse.
Chiotakis: Balancing the budget, though, and cutting the public sector, that easier said than done, right?
Kedikoglou: Everything is easier said than done. But we believe it can be done.
Chiotakis: Did Prime Minister Papandreou, do you think, put the country ahead of his current job?
Kedikoglou: You know, this agreement that we arrived at yesterday, it could have been done in June, but Mr. Papandreou wanted to hold on to his chair, so at least now he has decided to leave his precious chair.
Chiotakis: Simeon Kedikoglou, who’s a Greek member of Parliament for the opposition party New Democracy, thank you so much.
Kedikoglou: Thank you too.
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