|Wednesday, 13 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 5 December 2009 Issue No: 3367
 Econ Minister in NY: Greece has four fundamental strategic advantages for attracting investmentsNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Greece has four fundamental strategic advantages for attracting investments, Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister Louka Katseli said on Thursday night, during a press conference on the sidelines of the 11th annual Capital Link forum, at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan, titled "Greece: preparing recovery".
The first advantage is the country's "strategic position" at the "crossroads of three continents", Katseli said, explaining that "it is power when a country is situated amidst emerging economies, in a region where investments can be made and an entire region can be served".
"Greece's comparative advantage is not only the domestic market of 10 million people, but a much wider market that can be services from Greece," she said.
The second major advantage "has to do with Greece's nature and the environment".
It is not incidental that Greece is at the top of the list of countries with respect to attracting tourism and investment interest, noting that its expansive complex of islands is greatly significant to international investors, who truly want to invest their money because they know that they can potentially have a very high yield.
And it was in the least oxymorous for a country such as Greece to not have developed sea tourism, in other words, that it does not have the best marinas in the region, that it does not have health & wellness tourism, or the cultural tourism it should have, she continued.
Greece's third comparative advantage is its culture. "We never looked at culture as a source of foreign exchange, as a substantive strategic tool in a developmental strategy," Katseli stressed, adding: "For me, it truly breaks my heart when I go to Mycenae and see the weeds growing tall and downgraded services".
The minister noted that she and the culture minister, in a meeting on Tuesday, decided to mobilize both ministries so that every archaeological site, "every part of our country that has cultural treasures", will be very carefully developed. Noting that Greece also lacks theme parks, Katseli added that she spoke recently with the Viotia Chamber of Commerce about the idea of setting up a Hercules theme park. "If any other country had the (cultural) wealth that Greece has, it could do miracles. It's time that we do this ourselves."
The fourth comparative advantage, according to Katseli, has to do with the people. It is not incidental, she said, that the Greeks, wherever they find themselves, "work miracles", and cited the shipping sector as an example.
"But not only there...in the arts, in the sciences, everywhere. At this time, investing in Greece and in its human element is feasible, and I believe that we proved this with the (Athens 2004) Olympic Games. We are indeed a country where an investor in the field of cutting edge technologies or biology or culture will have a truly well-trained staff, with many dexterities and abilities. Consequently, an investor will gain from all four of these very significant advantages that Greece has," Katseli said, adding: "What we must do, and this is the challenge for the current government, is to eliminate the counter-incentives".
Katseli also noted that she had spoken earlier in the day with a plethora of businessmen from the monetary and credit sector, major banks, the fields of shipping and renewable energy sources (RES), with whom she discussed Greece and its prospects. "What they were all interested in was what the new government will do, what its program will be, for recovery of the economy and proceeding with the deep changes needed by the country for its development".
"I discerned in these conversations their concern about the need for investments to go ahead, she said.
The minister noted that many entrepreneurs had bad experiences in the past and were rather disappointed, having met with obstacles throughout the entire process from applying for permits for an investment project all the way to the commencement of operation of the enterprise. She said that eliminating bureaucracy is one of the priority commitments made by the present government before the elections, and her ministry was moving quickly so as to table a legislative framework in 2010 simplifying all the procedures while, in collaboration with the various Chambers, it was taking the steps necessary so that entrepreneurs will find themselves in a friendly environment in which to advance an investment.
 Economy minister continuing contacts in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli continued her contacts with senior officials of major American monetary organisations on Friday.
Katseli, who addressed the 11th annual forum of the Capital Link company on Thursday on the theme of "Greece: preparing recovery", also had the opportunity to exchange views with many businessmen of Greek descent.
In an interview with the Bloomberg television network on Friday, Katseli said that the new government has three challenges to tackle: to provide an impetus for the economy since a decrease in economic activity and an increase in unemployment are being noted, to decrease the deficit in the next three years and to solve the problem of competitiveness, attracting investments and supporting entrepreneurship.
Referring to competitiveness, she said that Greece is one of the most advanced countries concerning shipping and added that the new government wants the country to become competitive in other sectors as well.
Katseli also said that during her contacts in New York she realised that Americans have a great interest in investments in Greece in the sectors of tourism, culture, new services, infrastructures and telecommunications, adding that the government will do all that it can to turn the country's advantages into opportunities for investments.
 Culture and tourism minister visiting Washington, New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos will visit Washington and New York.
His first stop will be in the American capital where he will have the opportunity on Saturday to meet officials from the sector of culture and senior museum officials.
On Monday afternoon (Greek time) Geroulanos will be meeting Archbishop of America Demetrius in New York.
On the same day, he will be visiting the headquarters of the UN and will be making an address from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly in the framework of the discussion on cultural heritage.
 Beglitis attends event at artillery academyAlternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis attended an event Friday at the Hellenic Army's artillery academy celebrating the feast day of the branch's patron saint, Aghia (St.) Varvara.
Beglitis laid a wreath at the monument on the grounds of the academy and unveiled a bust of artillery lieutenant Pavlos Melas, a revered figure in the Macedonian Struggle of the early 20th century.
 Archbishop Ieronymos receives new ND leaderArchbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece met at the Archdiocese on Friday with new main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras. Their discussion focused on the work performed by the Church of Greece.
Samaras underlined what he called the "invaluable social work" produced by the Church, stressing that his party wishes to offer its assistance toward this direction.
 Gov't on Acheloos River diversion projectManagement studies on the water needs of central Thessaly province, Greece's farm belt, which are necessary for the completion of the Acheloos River diversion project in accordance with EU Directives, will be ready within a year, Environment Minister Tina Birbili stated in Parliament on Friday.
Responding to a tabled question by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party MPs Christos Zois and Kostas Tsiaras, she stated that "the Acheloos River project is not jeopardised by the government, but by the omissions made by ND when it was in power, which led to today's judicial impasse."
"Meeting the water needs of Thessaly and the greater region is a priority for the government. The plains will have water, Thessaly will not turn into a Sahara," Birbili stressed.
 Growth down 1.7% in Q3Annualised GDP growth decreased by 1.7 percent in the third quarter of 2009 relative to the corresponding quarter in 2008, after 1.2-percent drop in the second quarter of 2009, according to figures released on Thursday by the National Statistical Service (NSS).
Economic activity in the third quarter of 2009, according to service, was marked by an 18.6-percent reduction in gross investment of fixed capital against the corresponding quarter of 2008.
The biggest reduction was recorded in construction, both residential (a 22.5-percent reduction) and other sectors (down 13.9 percent).
A decrease of 21.3 percent was recorded in investments for mechanical equipment, and 19.1-percent reduction in transport equipment.
 New car circulations down in Jan-Nov periodThe number of newly circulated vehicles (new and second-hand) in Greece in the January-November period this year fell by 19.5 percent over the corresponding period of 2008, according to figures released on Friday by the national statistics service ESYE.
Also, the number of newly-circulated motorcycles (above 50cc) in the same period fell by 30.5 percent over the corresponding period of 2008.
 Stocks end 0.71% higher Fri.Stocks ended higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday with the composite index of the market rising 0.71 pct to end at 2,257.43 points, with turnover a moderate 260.2 million euros.
Most sectors moved upwards, with the Insurances (3.88 pct), Financial Services (3.16 pct) and and Media posting the biggest gains.
The FTSE 20 index rose 1.01 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.25 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index posted a marginal 0.01 pct gain. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 91 to 106 with another 46 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.83%
Personal & Household: +0.09%
Raw Materials: +1.48%
Travel & Leisure: +1.76%
Food & Beverages: +1.35%
Financial Services: +2.14%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and DEH.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 9.00
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.64
HBC Coca Cola: 15.99
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.28
National Bank of Greece: 21.40
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.36
Bank of Piraeus: 10.20
 Papoulias plea for peaceful remembrance of pupil GrigoropoulosPresident Karolos Papoulias, in a message on Friday referring to 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos' killing by a police officer on December 6, 2008, during an incident in the Exarhia district of Athens, said that "Alexis Grigoropoulos' murder was not only a heinous act. It was a lesson to all of us on where arbitrariness may lead".
Papoulias noted "the action and its dimensions do not lessen and are not forgotten in the subconscious of society, and particularly the youth".
"I once again express my support to Grigoropoulos' parents and friends. I once again express my faith in and guilt towards the young generation, to which we owe the ensurance of a more just society. I hope that Alexis' memory will be commemorated peacefully, because that is the least we owe him," the President concluded.
 Gov't warns against violence ahead of anniversary of pupil's shootingThe government on Friday called for a "united social front" to discourage and vilify all and any forms of violence during this weekend's one-year anniversary of a police shooting in central Athens that left a 16-year-old pupil dead, an incident that sparked widespread demonstrations and vandalism-fueled destruction in its wake.
Citizen Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssochoidis, who holds the law enforcement and public order portfolios, announced that he has met and briefed the country's political leadership in a bid to promote such a unified front. Urban rioting caused unprecedented destruction in downtown Athens and other cities last year following Alexis Grigoropoulos' shooting death on the evening of Dec. 6.
Chryssochoidis referred to "marginal groups" preparing to engage in vandalism in Athens and other cities, using the anniversary of Grigoropoulos' death as an alibi.
"One year ago, a 16-year-old boy was murdered by an on-duty policeman in downtown Athens, in a case of extreme police violence ... the murder marked the course of the country, affected the people's confidence and the state's ability to protect them. Young people were right to take to the streets to express their anger and rage ... the difference with today is that there is hope for a new beginning because the leaderships that led to that situation are no longer present," he said.
Chryssochoidis underlined that "a resurgence of terror in urban centres will not be tolerated", adding that "Athens will not surrender to vandalism. The exploitation of Alexis' memory will not be allowed ... marginal groups that want to create 'no-go' areas and ghettos will be isolated."
Along those lines, government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos, responding to a relevant question tabled in Parliament by Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) President George Karatzaferis, said the government will not tolerate illegal acts that will mar the meaning of the anniversary of Grigoropoulos' death.
Pangalos reaffirmed that police authorities are adequately prepared, something proven in the recent Athens Polytechnic uprising commemoration.
On his part, Karatzaferis cited press reports and referred to "hordes of anti-establishment demonstrators" allegedly heading for Greece from different countries set to engage in violent street protests, as he said.
He also referred to a recent article published in an Athens daily penned by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras who, among others, mentioned that "we do no regret December (2009)".
In response, Tsipras said Karatzaferis has no right to launch unfounded accusations against small leftist party.
 Two policemen attacked and injuredTwo police officers on patrol were attacked and injured by hooded groups on Friday in Athens. The perpetrators, who were in divided in two groups of 20, attacked the policemen with stones and sticks and other objects and afterwards ran away.
The two policemen have been hospitalized. Police launched an operation in the area to locate and arrest the perpetrators.
 Migrant smugglers arrested in ThessalonikiTwo foreign nationals, a Palestinian and an Iraqi, were arrested in eastern Thessaloniki during a police raid and charged with smuggling 12 illegal migrants from Turkey to Greece.
One of the suspects had allegedly picked up the migrants (six men, a woman and five minors) in the region of Kornofolia, in Evros prefecture, on the border with Turkey, bringing them to Thessaloniki.
 Greece to play against Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea in World Soccer Cup finalsCAPE TOWN (ANA-MPA)
Greece was drawn to play against Argentina, Nigeria and South Korea in the 2010 World Soccer Cup finals that will be taking place in South Africa fron June 11 to July 11. The four teams will participate in group B. Greece will play against South Korea on June 12, Nigeria on June 17 and Argentina on June 22.
 Rainy on SaturdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 6C and 18C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with southerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 11C to 17C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 8C to 12C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe draft bill on transparency in the public sector and Interior, Decentralisation and e-Governance minister Yannis Ragoussis' proposal on uploading all administrative acts on the internet, the new taxation system and govern-ment's measures against tax evasion, the changes in main opposition New Democracy (ND) and authorities' fear of clashes in Athens on the first anniversary of the killing of 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos (on December 6) by a policeman in incidents in the Athens district of Exarchia, dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Friday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Source of Wealth statement for all - First discussions for taxes on fuel oil, cigarettes, alcohol".
APOGEVMATINI: "Finance Minister George Papacon-stantinou preannounced additional tax measures in 2010".
AVGHI: "Government attempting to divert attention away from the impasse of its economic policy by hastening the issue of the new electoral law".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Turkey is 'having a field day' (in the Aegean) and we ....are sleeping".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tax declarations will be judged with objective criteria".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Everything in plain view - All decisions will be uploaded on the Internet".
ESTIA: "Government is slow in progress".
ETHNOS: "Finance Ministry will offer incentives to citizens to declare their savings"
IMERISSIA: "Trap for tax evaders".
KATHIMERINI: "Measures for transparency with the Internet as the tool".
LOGOS: "Government's decisions (will be posted) on the Internet".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Government's plan for heavy penalties against tax evasion".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Mass counter-attack against the universal attack on the people's rights".
TA NEA: "No surcharges on credit cards and borrowing".
TO VIMA: "Plea for a peaceful December".
VRADYNI: "Greece takes to the streets! The wave of discontent over the government's announcements surges".
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