|Thursday, 16 August 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-13
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 13 October 2008 Issue No: 3019
 Greece satisfied with Euro zone leaders' decisions to deal with int'l crisisPARIS (ANA-MPA)
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reiterated here on Sunday that the European Union will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens from the repercussions of the ongoing international credit crisis, speaking immediately after an extraordinary summit of Euro zone leaders in the French capital.
Among others, Karamanlis underlined that Euro zone countries will ensure the necessary liquidity and capital to keep the banking system healthy, not just in the short-term but in the long-term future as well.
"Restoration of markets' smooth operation, however, is a persistent matter that necessitates dedication towards the final goal," he said in a brief televised address.
"Greece, particularly over the last 30 days of the crisis, has exhibited reflexes that were much better than many other countries around the world. From the first moment I stated that the government will guarantee the financial market's stability and citizens' deposits. Over the past month, we have developed a comprehensive plan to boost liquidity and capital, a plan that guarantees the Greek banking system; a plan that benefits Greek citizens," the Greek premier said from Paris.
Moreover, Karamanlis appeared reassuring, noting that the IMF continues to foresee growth in Greece hovering at 2 percent, when zero growth is projected for the rest of the Euro zone countries.
"We continue to have our attention turned to the real economy, which guarantees the income of every Greek wage-earner, which supports our country's social fabric," he added.
Karamanlis stressed that the Greek economy was "holding", and that Greek citizens have nothing to fear, as the crisis has not adversely affected the east Mediterranean nation because of his government's economic policies over the past four years.
The summit was called by the current French EU presidency and hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
 PM Karamanlis concludes visit to MaltaPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday concluded a two-day official visit to Malta, departing early in the morning for Athens following wide-ranging talks with the island nation's leadership.
On Sunday, Karamanlis will leave for Paris to attend an off -the -agenda conference of Eurozone members, expected to focus on the EU's reaction to the ongoing international financial crisis.
On Friday evening the Malta Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi hosted a dinner in honor of his Greek counterpart. Karamanlis, in his address, referred to the excellent relations between the two countries and to the need to develop and to maintain a closer cooperation, stressing that European citizens want Europe to confront issues such as globalisation, climate change, security and energy sources.
He also touched on illegal migration, which plagues both countries, stressing that illegal migration is an issue that demands cooperation by all European countries because it is not a problem that affects countries on the bloc's periphery but the entire continent.
Karamanlis added that a treaty dealing with transnational efforts to curb illegal migration is very important, but it is only the first step.
Referring to western Balkans and Cyprus issue, Karamanlis stressed that Greece supports the former's European course, although he underlined that the good-neighborly relationships are the foundations for stability in the region. He welcomed Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Ali Mehmet Talat's recent face-to-face negotiations, stressing that it is outrageous that Turkish troops still occupy, after 34 years, a European Union member-state's territory.
 Papandreou: Country demands change in courseMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Sunday evening addressed a rally in Irakleio, Crete, where he stressed that "the country and the citizens demand a change in course, a responsible government".
Regarding the ongoing financial crisis, Papandreou said it has nothing to do with the crisis that prevails in the country, for which the New Democracy's government is responsible.
"The global financial crisis is a result of neoliberal choices, which socialists have condemned for many years ... As a government we will revive the principles that must prevail in the country and the international credit system. Socialists are clear cut when it comes to the global financial crisis, the real culprits are those who have aided this crisis with their practices, and must pay".
He added that PASOK, when it becomes government, will takes every necessary measure to protect the Greek economy, including a guarantee of deposits, pensions and the social security system, liquidity and a new regulatory framework of the credit system.
On a European front, he proposed changes in the operation framework of the European Central Bank in order for the stability pact to be more flexible, as he said.
PASOK's leader criticed the government for irresponsibility towards the citizens, stressing that his party is standing by the people and has clear targets and feasible planning. "There is money", he added, "how else did they find billions of euros to cover the bank deficit, if you have the political will you can find money for the citizen ".
On health and social security sector, Papandreou promoted what he called a more effective National Health System and a financially viable and socially just social security system.
"The state must take its responsibilites towards social security funds and the same must be done with large enterprises and banks," while he promised that the low-income pensioners' bonus will be extended to another 300,000 pensioners.
 FM on visa waiver programForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis touched on a handful of foreign policy issues in a published interview on Sunday, including the recently resurfaced issue of Greece's inclusion in the US visa waiver program -- a development that has still not been pushed forth by the Bush administration despite previous assurances to the Greek government.
Touching on the timely FYROM "name dispute" only days after the latest proposals for a solution by a UN mediator, Bakoyannis noted that "we are negotiating with seriousness, goodwill and a productive stance.
"From there on, of course, it takes two to tango," the Greek FM said, in a clear reference to what Athens considers a lack of political volition by the leadership in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
"Our positions are crystal clear. We will continue our efforts until we arrive at an honorable and dignified agreement".
Regarding the visa waiver issue, Bakoyannis referred to a "decision by the US administration this is wrong...
"Greece follows a foreign policy that defends its national interests, within the framework of the country's international obligations, and as defined by its relations with its partners, alliances and International Law. We are not a people that fail to honor our traditional friendships," she added.
Asked about the domestic political situation, Bakoyannis said any government reshuffle must follow a rationale of renewal, while dismissing the possibility of early elections.
Finally, in response to the latest batch of opinion polls, Bakoyannis said it was entirely premature to cite an "reversal" in the political situation, "there was an alarm bell, but we (ruling New Democracy party) took notice and we have already reacted."
 Gov't moves forward with OA privatisationThe government, and specifically the relevant transport minister, concluded a first round of talks over the weekend with unions representing employees at ailing national carrier Olympic Airways (OA), with another crucial meeting on Monday ahead of the final tabling of a draft bill to privatise the airline.
Following a meeting with representatives of flight attendants, Minister Costis Hatzidakis said the government will satisfy their demand to increase social security contribution stamps by 50 percent, which essentially means moved up dates for early retirement. The measure will affect for individuals hired as flight attendants before Jan. 1, 1993.
In a separate meeting with representatives of OA contract workers, Hatzidakis announced a doubling of unemployment benefits for any OA contract employee laid off, as well as a doubling of the duration of the benefit, to one year. Additionally, a 30,000-euro subsidy will be available towards the opening of a private business.
Finally, pilots' representatives were guaranteed a boost in their pensions and a bonus if transferring to another carrier.
A final and closely watched meeting with OSPA, the umbrella grouping that represents all of OA's sectors and the most vocal opponent of the planned privatisation, is set for Monday.
Before the agreement with the specific sector unions, OSPA had refused to enter into dialogue with the ministry.
 Papandreou proposes state-funded Greek 'New Deal' to combat economic downturnMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Saturday proposed a state-funded political solution to exit, as he said, the current financial crisis, in statements published by an Athens daily.
Papandreou stressed that "the right time for a new social agreement has arrived, for a Greek 'New Deal' that all will contribute and by which all gain: workers, the state, as well as healthy and productive enterprises."
Regarding the international financial crisis, Papandreou pointed that it is better for the state to reinforce banks' capitalization by buying stocks - as done in Britain - instead of buying 'toxic' products as he said was being done in the United States.
Papandreou reiterated that PASOK's proposal for dialogue with all of the country's "progressive political forces" is a "position of responsibility and not a tactical move", adding that "what we said before the opinion polls, we continue to say, we haven't changed our course".
Finally, as per the latest FYROM name issue proposals, the former foreign minister underlined that they do not cover the prerequisites of a so-called "national red line", repeating that any hint of a double name formula is unacceptable.
The interview was published in the daily "Ta Nea".
 Latest poll gives PASOK 1.5-point lead over NDThe latest in a cascade of opinion polls gauging political trends in the country was unveiled on Sunday, with main opposition PASOK earning 31.3 percent of respondents' preferences to 29.8 percent for ruling New Democracy.
According to poll, published by the "Ethnos" newspaper and conducted by the firm Marc, the leftist SYRIZA picks up 10.4 percent; the Communist Party (KKE) 7 percent and LA.OS 4 percent. The "undecided" portion was tallied at 10.4 percent.
Asked which political party they forecast to come in first when elections are held, 43.5 percent picked ND and 41.9 percent picked PASOK.
 KKE leader on int'l credit crisisCommunist party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga on Saturday expressed concern over the ongoing international credit crisis causing more armed conflicts around the world, speaking at a press conference ahead of a party congress.
According to the communist leader, the loss of influence by the US on global markets may cause Washington to become more aggressive.
Referring to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, she said he is 'out of time and place', saying that the Greek premier speaks for hard core of capitalism.
Referring to government's decision to raise guarantees to 100,000 euros for each bank deposit, Papariga said such a bank crash will leave nothing for depositors.
 Tsipras addresses EL gathering in AthensThe international financial crisis and the leftist Synaspismos party's proposals were the main points cited by party leader Alexis Tsipras, during an address on Saturday at the opening of a European Left Party congress held in Athens.
Among others, the Greek leftist leader said "we are experiencing historic moments, because we are at a turning point for the global economy," adding that the global credit system is caught up in an unprecedent crisis.
"Now is the right time for socialist ideas and principles to make their counterattack," he opined.
 Orthodox Patriarchs gathering in Ecumenical PatriarchateISTANBUL (ANA-MPA / A. Kourkoulas)
Orthodox Patriarchs and Archbishops gathered here on Sunday for a summit hosted by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
After a meeting and conclusion of a rare joint liturgy by several Patriarchs, the ecclesiastical leaders released a message emphasised that "overcoming of differences requires an amelioration of nationalistic, ethnic, racial or ideological extremism."
The Orthodox Patriarchs also referred to the ongoing global financial crisis, expressing heightened concern over what they called the growing gap between rich and poor due the financial crisis.
The synod was given extensive coverage by local Turkish media, who particularly emphasised that the presence of Patriarch of Moscow Alexius II demonstrates recognition of the ecumenical nature of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and Bartholomew's status.
 FinMin rules out hike in objective real estate tax criteriaEconomy and Finance George Alogoskoufis was quoted by an Athens daily on Sunday as reiterating that there will be no increase in objective tax criteria for real estate, while stressing that stability is needed when asked about the prospect of early elections.
"During a crisis you also have the opportunity to promote reforms that people will much easier accept. If, of course, the country cannot be governed, if reforms are blocked, then the only solution is the people," he added.
His comments were published in the Athens daily "Eleftheros Typos".
 Camper loaded with illegals intercepted in north-central GreeceA camper laden with 32 Third World illegal migrants was stopped late Friday evening at a toll station near the city of Katerini, northern Greece, by local police. The driver of the vehicle, identified as a 27-year-old Albanian man, reportedly fled the scene. According to authorities, the illegals entered Greece by crossing the Evros river from Turkey aboard dinghies, and after they allegedly paid 2,000 euros a piece for transport to Athens. Among the group were two minors, 8 and 4 years old. The group of illegals were from Iraq, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
 Memorial service in Thessaloniki for fallen of Macedonian StruggleA memorial service was held at a Thessaloniki cathedral on Sunday, officiated by Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos, for the fallen during the Macedonian Struggle -- which lasted from 1904-1908 hat preceded Greece's liberation of the area from Ottoman rule during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.
Sports Deputy Minister Yiannis Ioannidis represented the government at the service and a subsequent wreath-laying ceremony.
 SAE publishes collection on CavafyThe World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) has published a special collection on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the death and the 145nd anniversary of the birth of noted Alexandrine poet Constantine Cavafy.
In the prologue, SAE president Stephanos Tamvakis notes that the "Polis" poem was selected among other Cavafy works because this specific poem "outlines and depicts human nature, passions, weakness, common dreams, feelings and the ideas."
 Fair on MondayMostly fair throughout the country on Monday, with only scattered clouds in the north and a chance of rain showers on Crete and the Cyclades. Temperatures between 8C to 24 in the north; 12C to 26C on the rest of the mainland and 17C to 25C on the islands. Sunny in Athens, 16C to 23C; a few clouds in Thessaloniki, 13C to 23C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceÉnitiatives on a national and European level to ameliorate, forestall or prevent repercussions from the continuing international credit crisis mostly dominated the front pages of the Sunday editions of Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: (Vatopedi monastery abbot) Ephraim to provide statement to Supreme Court prosecutor on Tuesday".
APOGEVMATINI: "EU leaders to meet in Paris over international credit crisis".
AVGHI: "Too little, too late: G7 plan".
AVRIANI: "Insurance companies collapsing".
CHORA: "The man who threw the world into darkness. Bush policy brought world's economy to the brink of disaster".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "FinMin George Alogoskoufis: no increase in objective real estate tax criteria or VAT".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "You haven't seen anything yet in international credit crisis."
EPOCHI: "Salvage or euthanasia? Crisis reveals seminal anomalies in (capitalist) system."
ETHNOS: The paper banners another opinion poll on the state of politics in the country, referring to a political 'bomb' for the government.
KATHIMERINI: "International leaders, markets worried. Hope from Sunday euro zone summit".
LOGOS: "Obligatory change in course by government due to global economic crash".
NIKI: "Government gambling with the crisis for petty partisan benefits".
PARON: "Elections in the spring, government reshuffles in January".
PROTO THEMA: "Emergency plan to save banks, secret meeting between FinMin and Bank of Greece governor".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Anti-popular handling of crisis by ND-PASOK."
VIMA: "Operation anti-crash - Euro zone summit in Paris, Europe threatened with biggest downturn since 1929".
VRADYNI: "Dynamic and coordinated moves by governments the antidote to panic".
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