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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 11 December 2009 Issue No: 3372
 PM Papandreou addresses EU summitBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)
Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing the European Union summit here on Thursday evening, stressed that Greece is ready and determined to make the necessary changes and take immediate institutional measures for the economy.
The Greek prime minister was the first and only leader to raise the issue of the Greek economy, since by the time he had made his address none of the other European leaders had made any reference.
References were made by European leaders after Papandreou's address and all were positive and, among others, included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Papandreou outlined the policy that he has decided to implement and concerns, among other things, structural changes.
The prime minister also referred to Greece's great potential that has not yet been utilised, a potential that can be based on green energy and on the green economy and tourism in general and that creates optimism about the country's future.
Papandreou further said that he is determined to change Greece's economic model and called on the EU's 27 leaders to work together and cooperate with a sense of support and solidarity.
He expressed full confidence in Greece and the Greeks because, as he said, the country had experienced serious economic crises in the past as well, that it had handled with determination.
Later in the evening, the prime minister would be attending a working dinner together with the other leaders, where the Copenhagen summit, climatic changes and the EU's institutional issues were to be discussed.
 PM: Gov't will make major changesBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)
Prime Minister George Papandreou, who arrived for a European Union summit here on Thursday evening, stressed that the Greek government is ready to make considerable and major changes that will lead the country to a new era of growth.
Papandreou added that the government is absolutely determined and believes that with this effort it will also receive strong support by the EU for the changes that it intends to implement in the country, for the benefit of the Greek people and, of course, for the benefit of the European family.
The prime minister also pointed out that the new Greek government is fully aware of its obligations for the recovery of the Greek economy, as well as efforts to modernise the public sector and combat long-standing problems, such as corruption and clientele relations.
 PM calls on President to convene meeting of party leaders on corruptionPrime minister George Papandreou on Thursday asked President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias to convene a meeting of the political party leaders to discuss combating the problem of corruption, during a visit to Papoulias at the Presidential Mansion.
Papandreou told reporters after the more than one-hour meeting with the President that he briefed Papoulias on the hard times Greece was facing, and also on the decisions and initiatives he intends to take, the first being the commencement of a broad dialogue with the social partners and society in order to create a large alliance of social forces for the advancement of major changes needed on the country's chronic problems, and especially in the operation of the state.
The premier noted that the Greek economy has its own peculiarities, while its main problems were a lack of transparency, widespread corruption and clientelistic practices and perception that prevailed in recent years, which have resulted in wasteful spending of substantial resources of the Greek people, and lawlessness, which in turn resulted in widespread contribution evasion and tax evasion.
"I asked of the President of the Republic -- and he agreed -- to convene, under his chairmanship, a meeting of the leaders of all the political parties, precisely for the purpose of rallying together in the fight against corruption, in the fight for transparency and the proper operation of the state, with a correct and fair taxation system that will be adhered to by every Greek citizen," Papandreou said, adding that, with such actions, "we can send a resounding message internationally that we are determined, as a country, to forge ahead, put order in our economy, to create the prospect for a different kind of growth, on that will give hope and prospects to each and every citizen," Papandreou said.
 Party leaders to meet on Tues.President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will convene a meeting of Parliament-represented political party leaders on Tuesday on the issue of "transparency and combatting corruption."
Earlier on Thursday, Papoulias accepted a relevant proposal by Prime Minister George Papandreou.
The meeting will be attended by Papandreou, main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Aamaras, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis and the head of the Radical Left Coalition's (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group Alexis Tsipras.
 Gov't on measures to boost transparencyJustice Minister Haris Kastanidis on Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing transparency in the wider public sector, speaking on the occasion of the International day for Transparency on Dec. 9.
Kastanidis announced that a special bureau will be set up within the justice ministry to collect and monitor statistics on pending trials, their development and the relevant decisions vis-à-vis serious crimes, in order to convey them to the organisation "International Transparency".
Moreover, Kastanidis said he will recommend to the Parliament president the penalty of derogation MP and other officials if they are found to be participating in off-shore companies.
He noted that the existence of many laws and "red-tape" ferment a lack of tranparency.
 Pangalos on Greek foreign policyGovernment vice-president Theodoros Pangalos on Thursday referred to what he called the "particularities" of Greek foreign policy, distinguishing between "fronts" and "challenges" in the diplomatic field.
Pangalos addressed a conference in Athens by the International Relations Institute on the Challenges of Greek Foreign Policy, hosted at the foreign ministry's auditorium.
He referred to the three diplomatic "fronts", as he said, that the country faces, namely, the serious and long-standing Cyprus problem -- "which, of course, requires the decisions of the Cypriot people to be led to a solution", as he stressed -- the issue of national sovereignty and the lesser but still unresolved issue involving the fYRoM "name dispute".
"We are pre-occupying people in Europe with these (problems). Really, how many (problems) do the remaining 26 plague us with?" he asked, adding that Greek foreign policy is unique for the above reasons.
Pangalos underlined the economic performances of a country exercising diplomacy and said that "you cannot be present and influence developments unless you have economic self-sufficiency ... No matter how wise a diplomacy you exercise, you cannot overcome the fact that you depend on others."
He further stressed that "we are a country in debt, one that lives on borrowed money. Enough with this fable of 'neo-populist' innovation. The problem of economic self-sufficiency is huge ... We can conduct serious diplomacy, but we must acquire economic self-sufficiency."
 Samaras contacts at EPP summitBONN (ANA-MPA/S. Goutzanis)
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras on Thursday held a series of meetings with centre-right and Christian Democrat leaders here on the sidelines of the European People's Party (EPP) conference.
Among others, Samaras met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EPP President Wilfried Martens.
According to reports, the situation in terms of the Greek economy dominated Samaras' bilateral contacts.
Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the conference that, "what happens in one country affects the rest as well; and for this we all have responsibility."
Barroso also referred, in a statement, to the issue of the Greek economy and the fact that he had met with Samaras earlier.
"The European Union's finance ministers explained to Greece which efforts it must make for its own good and to improve its public finances. I am convinced that Greece will take the measures in its interests and in the interests of the eurozone and we have the apparatuses to tackle its problems," Barroso said.
 PM Papandreou meets with Archbishop IeronymosPrime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday met with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos at the Maximos Mansion. The premier thanked Ieronymos for his support and institutional cooperation, and expressed his certainty that the Church of Greece can contribute, with its work, at a difficilt time for the country.
He also stressed that all the forces of Hellenism must contribute to the effort to surmount the difficulties.
Education, Life-long learning and Religious Affairs Minister Anna Diamantopoulou was also present at the meeting.
 Tsipras press conference on labour issuesCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras spoke of job insecurity and accused the PASOK government of a "credibility crisis", charging that it has made a U-turn on its pre-election pledges, during a press conference in Athens on Thursday launching a six-month campaign for job security focusing on the right for steady jobs and the abolition of job insecurity in labour and "flexible" employment.
He called the government's proposal for dialogue on economic issues a "public relations ruse", adding that "dialogue is not a remedy for every disease, especially when it is given that the policy has already been decided beforehand".
"The government seeks political consensus on unjust policies, for the implementation of a right-wing strategy. Mr. Samaras (main opposition New Democracy leader) and Mr. Karatzaferis (LAOS leader) may be the recipients of the proposals. They will find us, however, against it together with the overwhelming majority of society and the overwhelming majority of PASOK's grass roots".
Tsipras said that "Mr. Papandreou's pledges for increases in salaries and redistribution of wealth" proved to be "a huge scam" just two months after the people believed in them and voted PASOK into power, but now the government is speaking of bankruptcy and a threat to the country's national sovereignty. "The real danger is that the remedy to confront the crisis may prove worse than the disease itself".
 Gov't again points to flow of illegals via TurkeyThe government on Thursday announced that a former army base on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos will be transformed into a model centre for registering and managing illegal immigrants.
Speaking at a relevant press conference, Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos underlined what he called the utter "failure" or the "lack of will" on the part of Turkey to implement international and bilateral treaties concerning the handling of illegal immigration.
Venizelos made the statement given that practically all of the mostly Third World migrants that manage to reach Greek territory in the eastern Aegean -- in a bid to reach mainland Greece and then the rest of the European Union -- use Turkey as their springboard.
On his part, Deputy DM Panos Beglitis said negotiations between the European Union and Turkey on achieving a migrant readmission protocol were due to start on Thursday, "a fact that does not eliminate the responsibilities and com-mitments of the neighbouring country to deal with illegal immigration and its failure to implement an existing agreement between Greece and Turkey on the issue," as he said
Additionally, he noted that a modern immigration policy necessitates solidarity by EU partners and the distribution of responsibilities and burdens in the framework of the Union.
Finally, Deputy Citizens' Protection Minister Spyros Vouyias said that in order for Greece to be able push for a re-negotiation of the Dublin II Regulation and the possibility of relocation of foreign nationals to other EU countries who host smaller number of immigrants, Athens must have such structures that are compatible with a European social state of law.
"Migrants will be registered, settled and undergo medical checks at the centre and then they will be distinguished in categories and will be forwarded inside the country, accordingly; those applying for asylum to structures that will be indicated by a group of experts on asylum; unaccompanied minors to open hospitality centres and so forth. Those in need of humanitarian aid will be protected, as is anticipated by international treaties. The rest will be deported," he said.
 Commission reiterates preparedness to assist Greek governmentBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
The European Commission is prepared to help the Greek government apply a comprehensive stability and reforms program, monetary and economic affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia's spokeswoman Amelia Torres reiterated in Brussels on Thursday.
Replying to a question during a regular Commission briefing, Torres said that the Commission will continue to closely monitor the situation in Greece and is ready to help the Greek government in implementing a comprehensive reforms and stability program in the framework of the Treaty provisions regarding the eurozone member countries.
Torres also noted that at the last ECOFIN council on December 2 an assessment was made of the Greek economy on the basis of the relevant Commission proposals, and reiterated that, based on the relevent procedure, the Commission will in two months' time present new proposals for the establishment of new timetables for the correction of the deficit, on the basis of Article 104 Paragraph 9 (which is Article 126 Paragraph 9 in the Lisbon Treaty).
 Unemployment at 9.1pct in Sept. 2009Unemployment was running at 9.1 percent in September 2009, up sharply from 7.4 percent in September 2008, while the unemployment rate in the preceding month of August 2009 stood at 9.0 percent, according to figures released on Thursday by the national statistics service ESYE.
The number of employed in September this year amounted to 4,577,844 persons while the number of unemployed amounted to 456,803 and the number of inactive to 4,240,986.
The number of employed increased by 26,933 persons compared to September 2008 (a 0.6% rate of increase) and increased by 13,598 persons compared to August 2009 (a 0.3% rate of increase).
The number of unemployed increased by 92,934 persons (a 25.5% rate of increase) compared to September 2008 and increased by 4,097 persons compared to August 2009 (a 0.9% rate of increase).
Unemployment among women was at 13.4 percent, and among men at 6.0 percent.
By age category, the highest unemployment rate was in the 15-24 age bracket with 25.7 percent, followed by the 25-34 age bracket with 12.6 percent.
By region, the highest unemployment was in Epirus with 12.3 percent, followed by eastern Macedonia and Thrace with 11.9 percent, and western Macedonia and Thessaly with 10.0 percent, while the lowest rates were in the southern Aegean with 3.6 percent, the northern Aegean with 4.0 percent, and Crete with 5.4 percent.
 IPI down 9.2pct in Oct. 2009The Industrial Production Index (IPI) fell by 9.2 percent in October 2009 over October 2008, according to provisional figures released Thursday by the national statistics service ESYE. A year earlier, the annual rate of change of the IPI was -4.6%.
The individual indices of specific sectors of industry, on an annual basis (October 2008-October 2009), presented the following changes: Mining and quarrying production fell by 13.8%, Manufacturing production fell by 11.6%, Electricity production fell by 0.2%, and Water supply production fell by 6.9%.
By main industrial grouping: Energy production fell by 4.2%, Intermediate Goods production fell by 13.3%, Capital Goods production fell by 25.0%, Consumer Durables production fell by 8.7%, and Consumer Non-Durables production fell by 6.9%.
The average IPI in the period January-October 2009 fell by 9.7 percent over January-October 2009, compared with a 3.2 percent drop in January-October 2008 over January-October 2007, and was attributed to the following 10-month rate of chages, by industrial sector: Mining and quarrying production fell by 11.5%, Manufacturing production fell by 11.8%, Electricity production fell by 3.9%, and Water supply production fell by 2.7%; and by main industrial groupings: Energy production fell by 2.2%, Intermediate Goods production fell by 19.2%, Capital Goods production fell by 23.0%, Consumer Durables production fell by 20.7%, and Consumer Non-Durables production fell by 5.4%.
 Exports down 26.7 pct in OctoberThe total value of exports-dispatches in October 2009 amounted to 1232.5 million euros against 1680.3 million euros in October 2008, recording a drop of 26.7%, according to estimates released by the national statistics service ESYE on Thursday.
Also, the estimated total value of imports-arrivals in October 2009 amounted to 3328.8 million euros against 5444.9 million euros in October 2008, recording a drop of 38.9%.
Further, the total value of imports-arrivals for the 12-month period of November 2008-October 2009 decreased by 29.2% compared to the corresponding 12-month period of November 2007-October 2008.
The total value of exports-dispatches for the 12-month time period of November 2008-October 2009 decreased by 17.6% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of November 2007-October 2008.
ESYE noted that the above data concern only commercial transactions, and do not include the transactions of services and the non-registered transactions which, along with the commercial transactions are taken into account for the compilation of the tables of the National Accounts.
 Wholesale Turnover down 7.1 pct in Q3 2009The Wholesale Trade Turnover Index decreased by 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2009 over the corresponding quarter in 2008, according to provisional figures released Thursday by the national statistics service ESYE. A year earlier, the annual rate of change was +14.4%.
The Turnover Index for Wholesale Trade in the 3rd quarter 2009 as compared to the 2nd quarter 2009 increased by 0.5%. A year earlier the quarterly rate of change was -7.9%.
 Motor Trades Index down 9.9pct in Q3 2009The revised Turnover Index for Motor Trades decreased by 9.9 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2009 against the corresponding quarter in 2008, according to provisional figures released on Thursday by the national statistics service ESYE. A year earlier the annual rate of change was -2.8%.
The Turnover Index for Sale of Motor Vehicles in the 3rd quarter 2009 as compared to the 3rd quarter 2008 decreased by 13.4%. A year earlier the annual rate of change was -4.2%.
The Turnover Index for Motor Trades in the 3rd quarter 2009 as compared to the 2nd quarter 2009 decreased by 5.1%. A year earlier the quarterly rate of change was -7.4%.
The Turnover Index for Sale of Motor Vehicles in the 3rd quarter 2009 as compared to the 2nd quarter 2009 decreased by 8.0%. A year earlier the quarterly rate of change was -9.1 percent.
 Stocks rebound on Thurs.Stocks posted a dramatic turnaround at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday following two days of heavy losses in the wake of negative press regarding the Greek economy, with the composite index of the market gaining 5.15 pct to end at 2,214.00 points. Turnover was a moderate 341.4 million euros, of which 9.2 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved upwards, with Banks (7.31 pct), Raw Materials (7.10 pct), Technology (6.31 pct), Foods & Beverages (6.13) and Construction (5.87) posting the biggest percentage gains of the day.
The FTSE 20 index rose by 5.96 pct, the FTSE 40 index recorded gains of 3.58 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 2.74 pct higher. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 171 to 42 with another 31 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +2.62%
Personal & Household: +0.50%
Raw Materials: +7.10%
Travel & Leisure: +3.03%
Food & Beverages: +6.13%
Financial Services: +3.63%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and Eurobank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 8.00
Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.30
HBC Coca Cola: 16.54
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.24
National Bank of Greece: 18.21
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.12
Bank of Piraeus: 8.82
 "Eros: From Hesiod's Theogony to late antiquity" exhibition opens at Cycladic Art Museum in AthensA unique exhibition of 272 ancient objects and works of art devoted to Eros, the gold-winged god of love of ancient Greek mythology, titled "Eros: From Hesiod's Theogony to late antiquity", opens to the public on Thursday at the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, following its official inauguration on Wednesday night.
Spanning 12 centuries, the artifacts, dating as far back as the 6th century BC up to the early Christian times, include statues, jewelry, ceramic vases, a plethora of varied objects, and even a 2,500 year-old love letter engraved on clay, have been collected from 50 museums in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and France.
Highlights include a Roman-era copy of Greek sculptor Lysippos' famous "Eros stringing his bow" statue on loan from the Louvre, and an 18th century Antonio Canova sculpture "Cupid and Psyche" from the Capitoline Museums in Rome.
The exhibition, the biggest ever display of its kind, will run through April 2010.
 Memorandum between Patriarchate of Alexandria and Church of Greece NGO "Solidarity"Ôhe Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa and the Church of Greece's non-governmental organisation "Allilegii" (Solidarity) have signed a memorandum of cooperation on the reinforcement of the Alexandria Patriarchate's missionary work in Africa.
Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II, in joint statements with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, expressed his satisfaction with the commencement of their common effort, marked by the signing of the memorandum on Wednesday night.
The first joint action was a decision to dispatch humanitarian aid to Uganda, Congo and Zimbabwe in the immediate future.
The cooperation places priority on the reinforcement of the Patriarchate's schools throughout Africa. Moreover, both sides will be able to take action for the restoration and renovation of the monuments and facilities of the Greek community in Africa.
The memorandum is under the auspices of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.
 Athens Univ. rector submits resignationAthens University rector Christos Kittas, who was injured by hooded assailants who stormed onto the university's main administration building (Propylea) last Sunday, submitted his resignation to the university's faculty senate on Thursday. Kittas was hospitalised for treatment after the attack, while also suffering a mild heart attack.
According to reports, in his letter, the rector describes the events that led to his injury and appeals to all, stressing that "with the sit-ins they foster, unwittingly, those who believe in violence. It is high time that you learn to press your just demands in other ways. It is certain that you will gain more in this way."
 Court rules sanitation workers' strike 'abusive'An Athens court on Thursday declared an on-going strike by Athens municipality contract sanitation workers as "abusive", partially upholding a City of Athens petition calling for the strike to be declared illegal and abusive.
The court cited reasons of public health in backing its ruling, as well as public interest in light of the upcoming holidays.
 Man arrested with 21 kilos of hashishA 33-year-old man has been arrested by police in Thessaloniki after a total of 21 kilos of hashish were found in his car and home.
The detainee is due to appear before a public prosecutor.
 Arsonists target PAO office in ArgyroupolisArsonists threw three home-made fire-bombs at a Panathinaikos fans club in the Athens suburb of Argyroupolis in the early hours of Thursday, causing minor material damage.
Earlier, a group of youngsters on motorcycles vandalised two cars in the Zographou district of Athens.
 Rainy on FridayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday, with wind velocity reaching 4-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 17C. Cloudy and rainy in Athens, with northerly 5-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 6C to 10C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 3C to 8C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePrime Minister George Papandreou's remarks on the state of the economy on Wednesday at an Inner Cabinet meeting and the pressure from abroad, the first draft laws to be tabled in parliament and the over-indebted households, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Regulations for over-indebted households".
APOGEVMATINI: "Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras lambasts Papandreou".
AVGHI: "Prime Minister 'discovers' that the fiscal impasse puts the national sovereignty at risk and calls for consensus".
AVRIANI: "The fairy tale is over - Take severe measures immediately to avoid bankruptcy".
ELEFTHEROS: "Shame! They are releasing the drug dealers from jail".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Unsuccessful politicians appointed to manage billions of euros, as general secretaries of the Peripheries".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "12 breathers for over-indebted households".
ESTIA: "The state is strangling the economy".
ETHNOS: "George (Papandreou): The impasse in the economy threatens the national sovereignty".
IMERISSIA: "Additional measures on the horizon".
KATHIMERINI: "Hard words - Measures on the way".
LOGOS: "Country in intensive care .....Papandreou: 'The deficit threatens the national sovereignty'."
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Fitch Ratings downgrading of Greece's credit rating stirs up the government's waters".
NIKI: "George: Battle for the economy and the national sovereignty".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist party of Greece leader Aleka Papariga's interview: The people must stand firm against the anti-labour changes".
TA NEA: "George's dramatic statements at the Inner Cabinet meeting".
TO VIMA: "Christmas bonus at risk".
VRADYNI: "Search for consensus on harsh measures - Collapse in stockmarket continues".
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