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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-07-28

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Tuesday, 28 July 2009 Issue No: 3256

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Improvement of the people's day-to-day life an immediate priority
  • [02] FM informs EU on Turkish provocations
  • [03] Gov't raps PASOK over presidential election; novel influenza
  • [04] PASOK on presidential election, novel influenza, unemployment
  • [05] Papariga on early elections
  • [06] Credit expansion slows to 7.6%
  • [07] Veolia, MIG bid for Thessaloniki utility
  • [08] Peach growers suspend mobilisations
  • [09] Stocks end 0.55% higher
  • [10] ADEX closing report
  • [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [12] Symbolic blocking of Larissa RR station
  • [13] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [14] Spokesman: It will be premature to assess negotiations now

  • [01] PM: Improvement of the people's day-to-day life an immediate priority

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday toured a Citizens' Service Centre (KEP) in the southeastern Athens district of Ilioupolis, where he stressed that the KEP network throughout the country provides significant facilitation to citizens, while it was also a key to public administration's conversion to the digital age.

    Karamanlis, who was accompanied by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Deputy Minister Christos Zois, stressed that improvement of the people's day-to-day life is an immediate priority of the government.

    The premier presented his police ID card to a KEP employee to apply for a social security number (AMKA), which is being introduced for the first time in Greece and which everyone citizen must acquire by October.

    The prime minister said his government had set out a goal five years ago, when it took office, "to make public administration faster, more efficient, more citizen-friendly".

    Noting that there were numerous chronic and structural problems that still need to be solved, Karamanlis stressed, however, that the political will to do so was a given, and his government's determination was being proved in action.

    The premier said the KEP institution had the universal recognition and support of citizens, and congratulated KEP employees for processing important and socially sensitive work, such as the AMKA numbers to more than 1.6 million citizens so far.

    When his New Democracy (ND) government took office in 2004, the KEP were operating piecemeal and experimentally, without a solid legal regime and without specific funds. All these deficiencies were remedied and today the KEP are operating as integrated facilitation centres, speedily facilitating 1,045 different procedures (citizens' transactions with the state), many of which require only one visit to the KEP, while there is also the ability to submit an application by phone on the 4-digit line 1500, Karamanlis said, adding that the KEP's widespread network assured that the citizens could find a KEP near their home or workplace.

    In 2008 alone, he continued, more than seven million people were facilitated by the KEP, whose "social acceptance comprises the firm foundation on which we are building their future, which is founded on e-governance and exploitation of the immense possibilities proved by the new technologies and the internet".

    Since May 1, the pubic administration's National Web Portal "Hermes" has been supporting all the services provided by the KEP and all related citizens' applications. The system caters to all new types of e-transactions, such as the procedures required for establishing new companies, reducing the time and cost require, Karamanlis noted, stressing that this was very important, especially today when new investments and the creation of new jobs was the only way for a safe exit from the global financial crisis.

    Through the Hermes system, each and every citizen now has the ability to acquire his own digital "signature", allowing him to transact with the state services through his PC, without having to leave his house or workplace, Karamanlis explained.

    PASOK reaction

    Main opposition spokesman George Papaconstantinou, referring to the Karamanlis visit, clarified that it was PASOK that had included the KEP network in the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF).

    Papaconstantinou also stated that the incorporation of new services in the KEP network calls for full e-governance and transparency in public information.

    [02] FM informs EU on Turkish provocations

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Spinthourakis)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said here Monday that she informed a European Union Council of foreign ministers on Turkey's "provocative policy of questioning Greek sovereign rights, in recent weeks."

    "A policy that has reached the point of successive flights by Turkish military aircraft over Greek territory as well as the attempt of locking-up parts of the Greek conntinental shelf," she told reporters after the council's meeting.

    "This policy is unacceptable," she underlined, noting that the governments of the other EU member states should have a clear picture of the situation in view of the EU Commission's assessment report regarding Turkey's accession course, due to be publicised in December.

    "Until now, Turkey has not respected her committments," Bakoyannis noted, underlying that EU accession negotiations were founded on principles that clearly define the obligation of respecting good neighbourly relations and the peaceful resolution of differences.

    "Conformity a la carte and selective implementation of what has been agreed cannot be accepted," the Greek foreign minister said.

    "If Turkey wishes to become an EU member state then she has to honour her signature," she added.

    Greece was the most sincere supporter of Turkish accession, Bakoyannis also said, clarifying however that Greece's steadfast support for Turkey's candidacy was equal to her steadfast position on the need of respecting International Law and good neighbourly relations.

    "No dicounts will be made on this basic position of ours," she noted.

    Regarding the issue of illegal immigration, also on the agenda of Monday's council meeting, the Greek foreign minister told the press that all EU member states recognise now that the problem had European dimensions that its handling required joint action.

    PASOK criticises FM

    Main opposition PASOK foreign policy spokesman Andreas Loverdos on Monday criticised Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis' statements on Turkey after an EU council of foreign ministers meeting in Brussels earlier in the day.

    Loverdos claimed that Greece was "not prepared" for the meeting and, in this way, the foreign minister's positions were not met positively by her EU counterparts.

    [03] Gov't raps PASOK over presidential election; novel influenza

    The government spokesman on Monday again accused main opposition PASOK of "attempting to force general elections at all costs," adding that this "constitutes unacceptable violation of the constitution and an effort to trivialise the institution of the presidency."

    Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros also pointed out that the government will do its duty, adhering to the spirit and the letter of the constitution.

    "Everything we have said still stands," Antonaros stressed, when asked to comment on the contents of an interview -- published on Sunday -- by main opposition PASOK Secretary Yiannis Ragoussis on the issue of the presidential vote by Parliament MPs.

    Antonaros also stated that in a well-governed state respecting the constitution allows for no exceptions. He made the comment in response a statement made by PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou, who maintained that the problem is political and not constitutional.

    In an unrelated development and referring to continuing press speculation over a possible novel influenza outbreak, Antonaros repeated that the government is handling any anticipated outbreaks with responsibly, whereas all political parties have been briefed via the parliamentary route.

    "The government is at the disposal of anyone who wishes to be briefed," he said, adding that the responsible parliamentary committee will soon be given a second briefing.

    He also flatly dismissed press speculation that PM Costas Karamanlis will call main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou to Maximos Mansion to brief him on the issue.

    [04] PASOK on presidential election, novel influenza, unemployment

    Main opposition spokesman George Papaconstantinou, referring to the presidential election by Parliament, reiterated that "the problem is political and not constitutional" with "PASOK doing nothing more than what is being dictated by the Constitution".

    He also characterised as "dead end" policy the government's attempt to pin the holding of early elections on PASOK.

    On the PM's terse response to PASOK leader George Papandreou, as regards the novel influenza issue, Papaconstantinou spoke of an "improper manner", adding, however, that this was the first time the prime minister spoke about the novel influenza prevention measures.

    Papaconstantinou stressed that "the economy is going from bad to worse" while as regards the "real economy" he stated that its problems cannot not be solved with measures that lack continuity, accusing the government of having no plan when dealing with the problem of unemployment.

    [05] Papariga on early elections

    "The term 'early elections' has lost its meaning because we have been talking about this issue for the past two years," Communist Party (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga said in Thessaloniki on Monday, referring to the likelihood of early general elections in the spring next year as a result of the election of a new president of the republic by Parliament.

    Speaking in a press conference within the framework of her tour of the prefectures of Thessaloniki, Imathia and Pella, Papariga also referred to the novel influenza concerns, and the role of the multinational pharmaceutical companies, as she said, in the preparation of a vaccine.

    She also referred to the low wages earned by wage-earners in Greece, stating that they constitute "blackmail" and a "legal political and state corruption", warning that the situation in the labor sector will deteriorate further.

    Papariga lashed out at the leadership of the trade unionist movement, stressing that "the leaderships that are only interested in the date of elections should be cast aside."

    Earlier, Papariga met with representatives of Thessaloniki Water Supply and Sewerage Co. S.A. (EY.ATh) personnel and expressed her opposition to the company's privatisation, while she also had a meeting with peach producers in Imathia. Later in the evening, she is scheduled to address a rally at the community of Kali in the prefecture of Pella.

    Financial News

    [06] Credit expansion slows to 7.6%

    Credit expansion slowed further in June, affecting both domestic enterprises and households, the Bank of Greece announced on Monday.

    In its monthly report, the central bank said the credit growth slowed to 7.6 pct in June, down from 9.4 pct in May and 15.9 pct in December 2008, although it noted that credit growth was starting to recover in the second quarter of the year (4.9 pct compared with a 2.9 pct figure in the first quarter of 2009).

    Net new lending to Greek enterprises totaled 923 million euros in June, with the annual credit growth rate of 8.8 pct, down from 11.4 pct in May and 18.7 pct in December 2008.

    An analysis of the figures, however, showed that credit growth accelerated in the communications and transportation sectors - excluding shipping - while it slowed in all other sectors, with the manufacturing sector recording the highest percentage slow rate (2.5 pct in June from 5.9 pct in May and 15.8 pct in December 2008), followed by the retail sector (10.9 pct, 14.0 pct and 19.5 pct) and the construction sector (10.8 pct, 15.8 pct and 35.2 pct).

    Net lending to Greek households totaled 463 million euros (the highest level in the first half of 2009), while the annual growth rate slowed to 6.2 pct in June, from 7.3 pct tin May and 12.8 pct in December 2008. Net mortgage lending grew 6.0 pct in June, from 6.9 pct in May and 11.5 pct in December 2008, while consumer loans grew by 7.1 pct in June, from 8.4 pct in May and 16.0 pct in December 2008.

    [07] Veolia, MIG bid for Thessaloniki utility

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG) along with Veolia Environnement and Ionios Constructions on Monday announced the formation of a joint venture to participate in a tender aimed to find a strategic shareholder for Thessaloniki Water and Sewerage SA (EYATh).

    A MIG announcement stated that Veolia will have a 51 pct share in the joint venture, with MIG another 44 pct and Ionios 5.0 pct.

    Veolia Environnement is the largest environment services company in the world, with activities in all continents in more than 100 countries, employing more than 336,000 employees.

    The company is listed in the stock exchanges of Paris and New York with a market capitalisation of more than 11.5 billion euros. Veolia reported revenues of 36.2 billion euros and operating profits of more than 1.9 billion euros last year.

    Marfin Investment Group is based in Athens with activities in SE Europe. It is listed in the Athens Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of around 2.3 billion euros.

    MIG Group companies earn 37 pct of their annual sales outside Greece, with an established presence in 40 countries and 22 sectors, and with a workforce of more than 56,000.

    Ionios Constructions was founded 25 years ago and employs 400 workers. Revenues totaled 115 million euros last year and operating profits surpassed 20 million euros.

    [08] Peach growers suspend mobilisations

    Peach growers of the northern Greek perfecture of Pella suspended their mobilisations late Sunday night after the conclusion of the organisation of growers meeting. The decision was taken following assessment of the Agriculture Ministry's clarifications on the way the peach growers' compensation for excessive production will be calculated.

    The peach growers had set up a series of roadblocks in latter area from July 16.

    [09] Stocks end 0.55% higher

    Greek stocks moved cautiously higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index of the market rising 0.55 pct to end at 2,344.04 points. Turnover was a moderate 137.3 million euros, of which 1.2 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Constructions (2.67 pct), Industrial Products (1.65 pct) and Commerce (1.53 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (0.92 pct), Utilities (0.63 pct) and Food/Beverage (0.57 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.83 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.61 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.38 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 142 to 65 with another 46 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +1.33%

    Industrials: +1.65%

    Commercial: +1.53%

    Construction: +2.67%

    Media: -0.23%

    Oil & Gas: +1.01%

    Personal & Household: -0.19%

    Raw Materials: -0.51%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.92%

    Technology: +0.63%

    Telecoms: +0.36%

    Banks: +1.26%

    Food & Beverages: -0.57%

    Health: +0.22%

    Utilities: -0.63%

    Chemicals: +0.85%

    Financial Services: +1.20%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, OPAP and Alpha Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 9.20

    ATEbank: 1.63

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.42

    HBC Coca Cola: 15.10

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.27

    National Bank of Greece: 20.20

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.15

    Intralot: 4.40

    OPAP: 16.94

    OTE: 10.52

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.50

    Titan: 20.96

    [10] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.79 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 35.990 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,181 contracts worth 25.318 million euros, with 23,397 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,781 contracts worth 10.672 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,522), followed by PPC (570), OPAP (347), Eurobank (347), Piraeus Bank (743), Alpha Bank (1,108), Intracom (417), Marfin Popular Bank (713), Cyprus Bank (767) and GEK (358).

    [11] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.438

    Pound sterling 0.872

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 10.610

    Japanese yen 136.69

    Swiss franc 1.535

    Norwegian kroner 8.871

    Canadian dollar 1.555

    Australian dollar 1.747

    General News

    [12] Symbolic blocking of Larissa RR station

    Members of the Communist Party (KKE)-affiliated PAME labour grouping briefly blocked the Larissa Railway Station, in central Greece, on Monday in a symbolic move held in opposition to planned paid layoffs and route reductions by debt-ridden Hellenic Railways (OSE). One train servicing the Thessaloniki-Athens route was immobilised at the station when the protest took place.

    [13] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The economic crisis which, according to Eurostat, mostly affects women, Education, and the government's plans against crime and terrorism, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Main opposition PASOK party cadres are exploiting the upcoming Presidential election to satisfy their lust for authority".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Regulation for one million real estate cases".

    AVRIANI: "Well-known constructors had assigned the 'syndicate of crime' (abduction and hired killers gang led by inmate Panagiotis Vlastos) to do several dirty business ".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The media all over the world and their exaggerations have panicked the people over the virus A/H1N1".

    ELEFTHEROS: "IMF experts recommend to the government to abolish the pensioners' Christmas bonus".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Big brother to watch over us for our own good - Lawyers accuse government of violation of Constitiution provisions".

    ESTIA: "Firm stance against Turkey - The tolerance limits have been exhausted".

    ETHNOS: "Despite the generous summer sales the market is suffocating".

    TA NEA: "A-students' massacre in 55 colleges".

    VRADYNI: "Bank notes and installments for home acquisition - Market turns 20 years back in order for 200,000 houses in Attica to be sold".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [14] Spokesman: It will be premature to assess negotiations now

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Monday that it would be premature if the Government assessed the prospects of the direct negotiations, in view of the completion of the first round of negotiations soon.

    Stephanou, who was speaking Monday morning to the London Greek Radio Greek (LGR), was answering a question on whether this period is right for an assessment of the negotiation process.

    Stephanou said that in the middle of the negotiations it is difficult to say how things will evolve further.

    "According to all developments that we have seen so far on the negotiation table, I would say that there are many things that need to be changed in order to open the door for a solution in Cyprus", he said.

    Stephanou pointed out that the Government recommends patience and to remain calm in relation to statements that cause public discontent, which should be avoided.

    He added that the Greek Cypriot side would continue negotiations with the same determination, consistency in principles and flexibility, in order to pave the way for a solution.

    He also said that the Greek Cypriot side would use all means available to help the whole process.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Talks between the leaders of the two communities began in September last year to find a negotiated settlement to reunite the country.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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