|Friday, 21 September 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-01-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 5 January 2010 Issue No: 3388
 PM Papandreou holds talks with Serb presidentBELGRADE (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)
Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking after his meeting with Serb President Boris Tadic here on Monday, said that he had excellent talks with him, bilateral relations were excellent and expressed the wish that they will be deepened even further.
The prime minister said that talks focused on the problems of Kosovo, Bosnia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as well as those of Greek-Turkish relations and of Cyprus, adding that Greece and Serbia have common aims on these issues.
Papandreou noted that his presence in Belgrade is also a signal for the starting of an effort to enable the western Balkans to join the European Union in 2014.
"Greece is in the front line of the initiative that constitutes a basic aim for peace, cooperation and stability in the region," Papandreou said.
On his part, the Serb president termed Papandreou "one of the most important politicians" that he has met and said that "we talked about our bilateral relations, the economic state of our two countries that are being struck by the economic crisis" and expressed hope that solutions will be found.
He added that they also discussed the problems of the region, such as that of Kosovo and thanked Papandreou and the Greek government "for support for the effort of Serbia to defend the territorial integrity of the region with diplomatic means."
Tadic further said that Serbia's European course was discussed, stressed that his country will continue reforms and expressed hope that Serbia's cooperation with The Hague will be completed soon so that his country's effort for accession to the EU, as suggested by the '2014 agenda', that the Serb president termed important, can be continued.
The Greek prime minister was to conclude his visit to Serbia with a meeting with the country's Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic.
 PM Papandreou addresses Serb ambassadors conferenceBELGRADE (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)
Prime Minister George Papandreou, adressing the 3rd Congress of Serbia's ambassadors on Monday, stressed that he hoped that steps would be taken in 2010 in the direction of the common goal which is the accession of the Western Balkans to the European Union.
Papandreou said that "following the fall of the Berlin Wall a common desire emerged for Europe to be united and as a result of this more countries from the former Soviet bloc of Central and Eastern Europe are now members of the EU, with the result of this completion being greater stability in the region, a spirit of good neighbourliness and new democratic institutions that are protected by a wider European body."
The prime minister stressed on the other hand that the wider Balkan region did not succeed after the Cold War "in closing the cycle of instability and sometimes of extreme force."
He further said that the process must be backed with the development of a spirit of cooperation in the Western Balkans and with the EU undertaking initiatives and committing itself really on the countries' full accession, stressing that "for this we are promoting the 'Agenda 2014'."
Papandreou went on to say that "when national countries were formed from a region where there were no national borders for centuries, these dividing lines often led to bloodshed" and stressed that efforts must be made to resolve differences and pointed out that the over 100,000 dead of the '90s must not be forgotten.
"We must not allow this to happen again," he said.
The prime minister noted that "the Agenda 2014" can be achieved, but each country must assume its responsibilities.
Referring to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Papandreou reiterated the national "red line", adding that "we are expecting FYROM to meet us halfway" and stressing that "we are seeking a consensual solution" that will not leave "grey regions" and "possible sources of tension."
Papandreou stressed that Turkey must prove that it respects the principles of good neighbourliness and the peaceful solution of differences and must carry out positive steps for a solution to the Cyprus issue.
"In Cyprus just like in other zones of differences, the past overshadows the prospect of a bright future and our aim is to create stable political frameworks and regional alliances so that a different future that will be rid of fears will become possible," he said.
Papandreou also referred in his address to the "global governance that is in its making", stressing, among other things, that the "national states are gradually becoming incapable of handling global problems by themselves, such as climatic change, immigration and organised crime," and called for global cooperation and regional alliances.
 Serb FM on PM PapandreouBELGRADE (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, addressing the 3rd Congress of Serb ambassadors in Belgrade on Monday afternoon, termed Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou a "magnanimous man who was present whenever Serbia needed him."
Welcoming the prime minister at the Congress, Jeremic said "the longlasting persistent encouragement of the Serbian reformist movement by Mr. Papandreou helped our peaceful revolution. His presence, as the foreign minister of Greece, in Belgrade during the establishment of our democracy, provided indisputable international legitimacy for the victory that we achieved in the polls."
Jeremic further said that "Serbia is starting its European voyage today" and expressed his gratitude for the Greek prime minister's personal contribution to Serbia and the wider region.
 PM Papandreou on contacts in BelgradeBELGRADE (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)
Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking to Greek reporters on Monday at the end of his talks in Belgrade, said that the invitation to address the 3rd Congress of Serbia's Diplomatic Corps was "extremely honourable".
The prime minister underlined the starting of the Greek initiative for the accession of the western Balkans to the European Union in 2014, saying that "we shall provide an impetus for this intiative of ours, this brings our country to the front line and, in any case, a momentum is always created by setting targets."
Papandreou added that even if no decision is taken on the 2014 agenda, in every case a date will be provided for the accession of these countries.
Referring to his talks in the country, Papandreou said that he discussed with the Serb leadership economic relations between the two countries and tourist development issues, stressing that as the Serb side informed him a poll held after the abolition of the visa for EU countries, 65 percent of Serbs said that they prefer Greece as their first option for travel.
Papandreou added that also discussed were the issues of Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the question of Cyprus and issues concerning the wider region.
On the question of the name of FYROM, the prime minister said that it is very crucial particularly for the states that comprised the former united Yugoslavia to know the Greek positions very well, "because they know each other very well and they can also take initiatives". He added that in any case, the message for FYROM "is that we are here to help".
Asked, lastly, whether pressures are being exerted for a solution to the issue of Cyprus and if the solution is close or far, Papandreou said that he did not wish to make predictions on such a composite issue, adding that "we are requesting from the international community and the EU to contribute with diplomatic pressures towards Turkey" and pointed out that a solution to the problem is very important for our relation with Turkey and for the neighbouring country's European course.
 PM reiterates support for Serbia's EU courseBELGRADE (ANA-MPA)
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday reiterated Athens' standing and energetic support for Serbia's EU accession, in a published press interview appearing in the Serbian capital on the occasion of Papandreou's official visit here.
"Greece fully supports Serbia's EU accession prospects and will stand by the Serbian people in this long and demanding phase," Papandreou was quoted as saying in an interview published in the Monday edition of the Belgrade daily "Vecernje Novosti".
Regarding the thorny Kosovo issue and whether Greece has been pressured to recognise Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence, Papandreou stated that Athens' position on the issue "is known and will not change."
"The stability of the greater region and international law remain the cornerstones of our policy and in this spirit we are focusing on efforts that are aimed at the creation of a safe and prosperous environment for all people in Kosovo, the Serb community included," Papandreou stated, adding that "the protection of the cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo is immensely important and our involvement in the region is proof of our dedication to these goals. This means that preserving the Serbian cultural and religious heritage is a top priority for everyone in the EU."
Asked about the still unresolved fYRoM "name issue", Papandreou reminded that "Greece wishes a definitive settlement of the issue", while noting that the oft-repeated "national red line" is clear.
"We have made an important step by saying that we will accept a name with a geographic qualifier. We expect from our neighbors to do the same and meet us half way."
He also underlined that Greece welcomes a recent EU foreign ministers' council decision as regards the implementation of the interim agreement.
Papandreou stated that the Thessaloniki Agenda, drawn up during the previous Greek EU Presidency, is still the cornerstone for the western Balkans' EU course, adding that the accession pace will depend on the performance of each individual country as regards agreed upon principles and preconditions. Moreover, he also expressed a conviction that Serbia's efforts toward this direction will produce specific results soon.
Finally, he cited his proposal for a new "road map", one aimed at further facilitating the course toward the European integration in full compliance with existing EU standards and criteria, as he again cited 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, as a symbolic date.
 Government spokesman on economy, taxationGovernment spokesman George Petalotis, speaking during Monday's press briefing, said that 2010 will be the year for the implementation of the major structural changes that the government has already promoted from the first days of governance.
The spokesman added that 2010 "shall be a milestone year for the restoration of the country's shaken prestige and credibility at international and European level."
Petalotis stressed that the government "is focused absolutely on its commitments for the recovery of the economy, support for low and medium-level incomes, backing for education, the upgrading of the health system, the restructuring of the social state and a state of law."
Also referring to the tax system, he said that "our aim is not simply another tax bill, but a fair, stable amd effective tax system that will distribute tax burdens on the citizens in a fair and proportional way, that will reward those who are tax consistent and will not burden the low and medium-level incomes."
On the question of the stability programme, Petalotis pointed out that it will constitute our "road map" to exit from the crisis, to reduce monetary deficits and curb the debt.
The spokesman also said that an EU Commission delegation would be arriving in Athens in the coming days for talks on the Greek Stability Programme. A cabinet meeting is scheduled to approve the programme in mid-January which would be presented to the European Commission at the end of the month.
 ND on Parliamentary com'ts of inquiryMain opposition New Democracy party (ND) spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos stated on Monday that the party is in favor of all proposed Parliamentary committees of inquiry, while underlining that ND's stance on issues of transparency is firm.
Panagiotopoulos also pointed out that ND will not allow any such committees to "misguide" the people away from the problems caused by the current government practices.
Finally, he called on the government to present specific tax proposals and to implement a "concrete plan" and immediate actions that will lead to a recovery of the economy.
 DM tours Thessaloniki military hospitalDefence Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday said that eligible beneficiaries of social insurance funds will be offered the option to be treated in military hospitals, speaking during a tour of the 424 Military Hospital in Thessaloniki.
The measure is already in effect for certain public sector healthcare fund (OPAD) beneficiaries.
 Athens: Stability programme submitted to Commission in Jan.BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
The Greek government has promised to submit an updated economic stability programme to the European Commission in early January, in order to be assessed by the Commission and approved by an ECOFIN Council, a spokeswoman for Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said here on Monday.
Spokeswoman Amelia Torres noted that the Commission has not yet received Greece's stability programme and stressed that technical talks were currently underway between authorities from both sides.
She added that the Commission was currently preparing its draft recommendation for setting new timetables for a correction of Greece's fiscal deficit - following an assessment made by an ECOFIN Council on Dec. 3, 2009 - in order to have a new decision by an ECOFIN Council in February.
The spokeswoman for the EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs commissioner reiterated that according to Community procedures, all member-states are obliged to submit updated stability and convergence programmes by the end of January.
In a later development from Athens, ministry officials said the updated Stability and Growth Programme will be submitted following close cooperation between finance ministry and members of a European Commission delegation arriving in the country this week.
Commission officials along with European Central Bank (ECB) representatives were expected to arrive in Athens on Wednesday for talks with the government over its plans to cut the excessive fiscal deficit and public debt.
According to a government timetable, a Cabinet meeting on Jan. 15 will discuss a draft plan, followed by a debate in a Parliamentary committee in Jan. 20. The finance ministry will consult with the Parliament presidency if a plenary debate would be needed, before submitting the programme to the European Commission by the end of January..
Finance ministry officials said the fiscal deficit must be cut by four percentage points (up from a 3.7-pct initial forecast), or by one billion euros. This could be achieved through a 10-pct cut in benefits (excluding family benefits) and through a hike in tobacco and alcohol taxes.
The government will present its income policy in early February, while by the end of January the government will submit a draft law to Parliament offering greater autonomy to the National Statistical Service.
 ND leader addresses Athens Chamber annual receptionMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, addressing the annual reception of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) for 2010 on Monday, called for "an end to leaks on tax gathering raids that harm the climate and the psychology of the market in a crucial period."
Samaras stressed that the government's proposals to Brussels must combine monetary responsibility for a decrease in the deficit and the growth prospect so that the market will not "suffocate".
He added that he has submitted proposals in Parliament analytically and expects the government to respond instead of allowing leaks on tax gathering raids that harm the psychology of the market.
Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli said on her part that Samaras "should judge and state his position on specific measures and underlined that there is ample time for a constructive dialogue in Parliament."
Also commenting on the issue of receipts, Katseli said that it is part of the measures that are in the stage of consultation and wished that 2010 will be a good year for the market to "forge ahead" and for the Greek economy to recover.
 Eurobank most busiest securities firm in 2009Eurobank Securities was the most busiest securities firm in the Greek capital market in 2009, based on the volume of transactions, with a market share of 14.18 pct, followed by Investment Securities (13.95 pct), National P&K (12.01 pct), Piraeus Securities (7.76 pct), Alpha Finance (7.12 pct), Euroxx (5.26 pct), Cheuvreux (5.01 pct), HSBC (3.98 pct), UBS (3.32 pct) and Merrill Lynch (2.20 pct).
 Air travel complaints down 13% in '09Passenger complaints against airline companies over alleged violations of travellers' rights, unreasonable delays or flight cancellations as well as overbooking and luggage damages fell by 13 percent in 2009 in comparison to 2008.
According to Civil Aviation Authority figures released on Monday, a relevant office received 556 complaints in 2009, of which 360 referred to flight cancellations and delays and over bookings, while the remaining 196 complaints dealt with luggage loss or damages.
In 417 (75 percent) of the cases, passengers were vindicated. Penalties were imposed on nine carriers that refused to comply.
 Metka signs Patriot production contract with RaytheonMetka SA on Monday announced the signing of a contract with Raytheon Company/IDS and Intracom Defence Electronics for the manufacturing of significant groups of Patriot missile anti-aircraft defence systems.
The two contracts, worth more than 51 million US dollars, will cover supplies for the governments of UAE and Taiwan.
G. Economou, general manager of Metka's production units, commenting on the contracts said "this international success was proof of the capabilities of the Greek industry and a justification of the Greek Defence ministry's policies to support the country's defence industry".
 Greek PMI up in Dec.Greece's seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) jumped to a four-month high in December, although it remained below the 50-point threshold.
The index rose to 48.8 points, reflecting a moderate worsening of the health of Greece's manufacturing sector. Incoming businesses fell slightly in December, reflecting adverse economic conditions and negative comments over Greece's economic outlook, which negative affected demand. As a result, Greek manufacturers cut their production at a slower rate in December compared with the previous month.
Purchasing activity fell, at a slower rate, with enterprises cutting their strategic inventories, for the 10th consecutive month. Greek manufacturers also cut their employment levels in December.
Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index measures business activity in the manufacturing sector.
Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while readings below 50 a shrinking sector.
 Stocks end slightly lowerStocks ended the first trading session of 2010 slightly lower in very light trading conditions. The composite index of the market fell 0.29 pct to end at 2,189.72 points, with turnover shrinking to 61.746 million euros.
The FTSE 20 index fell 0.65 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.98 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.25 pct. The Insurance (3.74 pct) and Utilities (2.14 pct) sectors scored gains, while Technology (2.05 pct) and Travel (2.16 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 92 to 87 with another 44 issues unchanged.
Aspis Bank (13.19 pct), Klonatex (12.5 pct), Elfico (9.62 pct) and Alpha Trust Andomeda (9.52 pct) were top gainers, while United Textiles (14.29 pct), Varagis (9.20 pct) and Athina (8.33 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +3.08%
Personal & Household: +1.48%
Raw Materials: +0.09%
Travel & Leisure: -2.16%
Food & Beverages: -0.56%
Financial Services: -0.11%
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: 8.10
Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.36
HBC Coca Cola: 15.90
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.19
National Bank of Greece: 18.08
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.78
Bank of Piraeus: 7.80
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 463 million euros, of which 288 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 175 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 263 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 234 basis points, from 241 bps in the last trading session of 2009, with the Greek bond yielding 5.74 pct and the German Bund 3.40 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.24 pct, the six-month rate 0.99 pct, the three-month rate 0.71 pct and the one-month rate 0.47 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.74 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to a low 20.467 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,051 contracts worth 17.059 million euros, with 21,561 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 3,960 contracts worth 3.408 million euros, with investment interest focusing on GEK's contracts (1,338), followed by Eurobank (143), OTE (359), Piraeus Bank (260), National Bank (505), ATEbank (460) and Alpha Bank (128).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.450
Pound sterling 0.898
Danish kroner 7.501
Swedish kroner 10.274
Japanese yen 134.69
Swiss franc 1.499
Norwegian kroner 8.294
Canadian dollar 1.507
Australian dollar 1.601
 Investigation on report of ill-treatment of foreign detaineeFive policemen accused of ill-treating a foreign detainee at the Acropolis Police Station on New Year's Eve, will be brought before an investigator on Tuesday morning.
A public prosecutor has filed criminal charges against those who reportedly beat up the detainee, for torture and abuse of power, and his colleagues who reportedly failed to prevent the detainee's ill-treatment with direct complicity.
The detainee, a 30-year-old Chilean, has been in hospital since the morning of New Year's day, suffering from multiple blows to his hands, legs and body. He had been arrested on December 23 for violation of the law regarding weapons.
In another development, the Attica General Police Director has ordered an investigation into yet another report of the ill-treatment of a foreign detainee at the Acropolis Police Station, following a report in an Athens daily.
The report was made by a 25-year-old Chilean peddler who said that he was arrested in Kapnikarea Square on December 29 while returning home without any goods and after being led to the Acropolis Police Station, five policemen forced him to take his clothes off, tied his hands and then hit him with clubs and punches, while causing other harm to him as well. The young man also said that some of the policemen recorded the scene with their mobile phones.
 Policeman charged with threatening motorist over parking spaceA 40-year-old officer serving at the Corinth police precinct was charged with weapons possession and assault on Monday, following a street altercation over a parking space.
The suspect was off-duty when, according to reports, he allegedly threatened another motorist in Loutraki, near Corinth, on Saturday afternoon with a knife, or, according to other reports, his service revolver.
The police officer fled the scene but roughly an hour later arrived at the Loutraki precinct to report the incident.
 3 suspects linked to elderly woman's deathThree suspects were linked to the recent murder of an elderly woman in a village near the town of Argos, southern Greece, during an early morning house break-in and robbery.
One of the men, a 22-year-old, was arrested, while the other two are wanted. Police in the area were searching gypsy encampments, as the trio was identified as members of a gypsy clan.
 Sea level rise on SamosDamages caused to local businesses in the low-lying parts of the capital of Samos, the same-name eastern Aegean island, over the past 20 days as a result of rising seas, are being recorded ahead of a rehabilitation programme.
The University of Athens (NTUA) has undertaken to propose appropriate solutions after studying figures concerning the rising sea level -- following the onslaught of unseasonably strong southerly winds -- as well as the waterfront and the seafront roadways.
 Armoured car robbed near HaniaA private armoured car transferring money was held up on Crete on Monday by at least three individuals, who reportedly made off with 70,000 euros.
The armed robbers blocked a road leading to the city of Sfakia, near Hania, using a stolen car and forced the armoured car driver and one guard to get out of the vehicle. Both were slightly injured in the process.
After removing the money, the robbers set the stolen car on fire and took off using a second vehicle.
 Cloudy, rainy on TuesdayCloudy and rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 1C and 19C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens, with southerly 3-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 7C to 15C. Cloudy with rain or sleet in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 2C to 7C.
 The Monday edition of Athens ' dailies at a glanceSpeculation over new taxes and tax reforms as well as the Stability and Development pact to be tabled in Brussels mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens ' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Economy: Final countdown - Draft stability pact to be tabled on Monday in Brussels ".
APOGEVMATINI: "Chaos with receipts - State mechanism unprepared for measure's implementation".
AVRIANI: "OTE' president asks for abolition of tenured employment".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Majority against government's plans to offer to illegal migrants Greek citizenship".
ELEFTHEROS: "Ruling PASOK sounds alarm towards PM George Papandreou and government: Wake up".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Traps against tax evaders".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Burning agenda for distribution of certain medicines via public and private hospitals".
ESTIA: "2010 more positive than 2009".
ETHNOS: " Brussels ' 15-day pressure to Athens - EU delegation to arrive in Athens on Wednesday".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "How much new tax measures will cost us - Estimates foresee 7 billion euros in extra revenues".
TA NEA: "Bonus for new employees under 30 years old".
VRADYNI: "Tax storm on the horizon
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