|Saturday, 17 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-11-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 29 November 2010 Issue No: 3657
 PM: Major reforms will proceed; status quo unbearablePrime Minister George Papandreou reiterated, in a press interview published on Sunday, that major changes in the country are both pending and imperative, stressing that the current status quo cannot continue.
"We are absolutely determined to proceed, and we can do this because society backs this effort," Papandreou said in answer to a question on whether his government is willing to clash with "vested interests" and the unions, especially over reforms in loss-making public sector utilities and enterprises.
Moreover, he noted that the current year, in despite of the dire economic conditions at hand, witnessed an "unprecedented" social peace.
"I am not afraid, especially when right is on our side, to speak the language of truth to the citizens; to explain to them what the problem is; when we make them partners in the solutions ... we have serious problems as a country, long-standing ones; problems that were heightened during a ND (government), to such a degree that our very existence was threatened," he said, adding:
"Greek citizens know this very well, they know that we want to solve these problems."
Asked about privatisations in 2011, Papandreou didn't go into specifics, merely noting that in some cases a continued state presence will be sought, while in others the state will eliminate its presence when necessary.
Queried over changes in the election law, Papandreou said the exact date for its tabling in Parliament has not as yet been determined, although the issue remains a primary commitment and priority for the government.
Furthermore, the Greek premier said the 110-billion-euro support mechanism agreed to with the EU-ECB-IMF 'troika', codified with the oft-cited Memorandum, was the "result of a multi-level crisis that plagued the country, and not the beginning (of the crisis). If we had the time we would have chosen to deal with the country's problems at their root. But there was no time, not only because the problems were huge, but because we faced a solid wall of suspicion due to the accumulated unreliability of the country."
In echoing the finance minister, Papandreou said no further cuts in civil servants' wages or pensions will be taken in 2001, nor will new taxes be levied, beyond those already announced.
The interview was published in the Sunday edition of the paper "Kathimerini".
 IMF official: Greece can extend loan repayment period; radical reforms necessaryThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative in the EU-ECB-IMF 'troika' overseeing the 110-billion-euro support mechanism for Greece and the chief negotiator vis-?-vis the Greek government, Poul Thomsen, was quoted here on Sunday as emphasising that "next year (2011) will be the most critical and painful, given that structural changes will have to take place."
Thomsen, amongst others, said the situation in Greece's wider public sector cannot continue as is.
"The time for radical structural reforms ... the public sector must be curtailed; there have to be radical reforms in the healthcare sector and in improvement of the tax collecting mechanism's operation," he was quoted as saying in an interview published by the weekly "Real News".
Moreover, Thomsen said the IMF has the ability to extend the repayment period for loans issued within the memorandum's framework, from six to 11 years, in case the government fails to proceed with "deep and radical" reforms in 2011.
Asked about swirling press speculation over a Greek "debt restructuring", Thomsen clarified that this "is not a solution ... Greece's major problem is not the level of the debt, but a lack of competitiveness."
He also expressed a conviction the benefits resulting from whatever debt restructuring will, in the long term, be much less than the costs and negative developments.
Asked if the fourth tranche of a loan to Greece is threatened with delay, Thomsen replied that this depends on how the government deals with the structural problems he just listed.
Moreover, when asked if he would invest in Greece if he headed up a multinational, Thomsen answered in the affirmative, stressing "I have confidence in the country ... the right time to invest is when others don't want to invest; I would do it (invest) now".
Finally, Thomsen estimated that the first signs of an economic recovery in Greece will come at the end of 2011.
 German Dep. FM on Athens-Berlin relations, eurozone supportBERLIN (ANA-MPA / G. Pappas)
German Deputy Foreign Minister Werner Hauer (FDP) estimated that in Germany "the courage and determination necessary for an elected government to pass on to its citizens extremely heavy burdens is being underestimated".
By contrast, he said Greece has launched a "huge reforms process that entails heightened burdens for each citizen."
"It's a decision could be implemented in only a few countries around the world," he noted, adding that "respect and understanding for Prime Minister George Papandreou's government should be more obvious to other countries." Hauer's comments came on Friday during a Germany-Greece conference on the urgent problem of illegal immigration.
Asked about differing positions by Athens and Berlin regarding a permanent support mechanism for the eurozone, the German official said that "even if some small differences prevail, we all have a major and common goal, which is to preserve the EU and to further develop it ... it is our common ground to confront the globalisation".
 Ministry concerns over possible prison mobilisationsThe justice minister on Sunday announced that the ministry has asked prosecutors assigned to correctional facilities and detention centres around the country to be extra vigilant over the coming period, amid unconfirmed reports that mobilisations by inmates are scheduled for this week.
According to reports, prison overpopulation and a list of other demands will be set forth by inmates and supporters.
 Bakoyannis equally critical of ND, PASOKFormer foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, who formed her own political party this month, on Sunday dismissed sharp criticism against her by her previous party, main opposition party New Democracy (ND), as well as charges of "political apostasy".
"It is ND that has defected from its progressive identity," Bakoyannis said.
Moreover, in describing her differences with ND and its leader Antonis Samaras, she said ND is turning into a "protest party", merely investing in demagoguery and isolationism vis-?-vis the European developments, "while acquiring even more intense anti-European, anti-liberal and populist characteristics in its statements".
Turning to the ruling party, Bakoyannis charged that PASOK "cannot escape from its old identity or break its bonds with statism, in order to proceed with necessary breaks (from the past)".
Bakoyannis' interview was published in the Athens weekly "Real News".
 3 ferries bring produce from Crete despite strikeThree ferry boats carrying trucks loaded with fresh produce from Crete arrived at the port of Piraeus on Sunday morning, despite another 48-hour strike declared by the seamen's union (PNO).
 New extension of seamens' strikeGreek seamen on Saturday decided to extend a strike that has impaired ferry boat services to various islands until Tuesday, the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) announced.
The union, which has been on strike since Tuesday, decided to hold another 48-hour strike starting at 6 a.m. on Sunday and ending at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The extended strike is expected to cause problems for Greek islands that are currently cut-off from the mainland, while there are already protests from farmers on Crete who are unable to transport their goods.
The PNO demands a new collective labour agreement for its members working aboard ferries and freighters in the Mediterranean and Greek waters.
 Actor Giorgos Foundas diesNoted Greek actor Giorgos Foundas died on Sunday in Athens at the age of 85. Foundas, who was suffering of Alzheimer's in recent years, had been hospitalised in an Athens hospital.
Foundas was born in 1924 in the village of Mavrolithari, in the Parnassida district of central Fokida prefecture, while he studied drama in Athens.
His first cinematic role was in the 1944 film "Hirokrotimata".
Foundas was widely acknowledged for his roles in the international hit "Alexis Zorbas" (1964), the milestone Greek-language movie "Stella" (1955) and Jules Dassin's "Never on Sunday" (1960), the latter two co-starring with Melina Mercouri.
His funeral will be held on Tuesday in the First Athens Cemetery.
 68th anniversary of Gorgopotamos bridge demolition commemoratedThe 68th anniversary of the demolition of the Gorgopotamos Bridge, near Lamia in central Greece, by Greek partisans and Allied commandos was celebrated at the site on Sunday.
Citizens Protection minister secretary general Theodoros Boufis represented the government, while political parties and local authority officials as well as representatives of the Greek wartime resistance groups attended the event.
 Freighter towed to safetyAn Albanian-flagged freighter adrift for four days in the western Aegean was towed to safety off a beach in Laconia prefecture of extreme southern Greece on Sunday.
The vessel, identified as the "Geri II", first experienced engine trouble near the island of Kythera. It was carrying a cargo of wood from Montenegro to Egypt.
 Stun grenade blast seriously injures officerA police officer was injured in the abdomen early Saturday morning when a stun grenade, which he had on his utility belt, unexpectedly detonated.
The riot police unit officer was in patrolling in downtown Athens at the time of the incident.
According the police his condition described as serious.
 Truck driver arrested after migrant-laden lorry interceptedA 49-year-old truck driver was arrested early Sunday at the port of Igoumenitsa, extreme northwest Greece, after no less than 37 illegal migrants were detected in hidden crypts inside the truck's trailer. The vehicle was confiscated while the driver and the illegal migrants were arrested.
The truck was searched shortly before boarding an Italy-bound ferry boat.
 PAO on top; AEK triumphantPanathinaikos Athens reached arch-rivals Olympiacos Piraeus atop the standings of the Greek Super League on Sunday after beating a tough Kerkyra side away 2-0. On Saturday, AEK Athens downed Olympiacos in the week's hotly contested derby, scoring the lone goal of the match in the 90th minute at the Athens Olympic Stadium.
 Results after 12 weeks of playPANSERRAIKOS Serres - ARIS Thessaloniki 1-0
ERGOTELIS Crete - LARISSA 2-1
AEK Athens - OLYMPIAKOS Piraeus 1-0
OLYMPIAKOS Volos - KAVALA 1-1
ASTERAS TRIPOLIS - XANTHI 1-2
PANIONIOS Athens - IRAKLIS Thessaloniki 1-0
PAOK Thessaloniki - Atromitos Athens 0-1
KERKYRA - PANATHINAIKOS Athens 0-2
Olympiakos Volou 16
Asteras Tripolis 14
 Cloudy, rainClouds and rain in the northwest and gusty northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 8 on the Beaufort scale. Rain showers in the north, with temperatures ranging from 9C-19C; the same in the south, 11C- 26C. Scattered clouds over the islands, 17C-25C. Fair in Athens 16C-25C; Cloudy in Thessaloniki, 10C-19C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePending mergers and a downsizing of Greece's massive public sector as well as speculation over wage cuts and new labour relations in the private sector, along with an interview by PM George Papandreou, mostly dominated the headlines in the Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers.
AVGHI: "They're destroying wages, collective bargaining -- Up to 30 percent".
AVRIANI: "All of the thieving politicians and US agents in Greece and around the world uncovered (via pending Wikileaks release)" the paper claims.
CHORA: "(Political) stowaways should leave New Democracy party".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Merger plan for 120 hospitals".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Radical plan for public sector".
EPOCHI (weekly): "Europe sinking because it's not changing".
ETHNOS: "Up to 30 percent 'haircut' of public sector via express procedures".
KATHIMERINI: "Papandreou: Changes a one-way street; society approves".
LOGOS: "Games on the people's back".
PARON (weekly): "They're giving up everything in Aegean, Cyprus -- George (Papandreou), Dora (Bakoyannis) and the rest of the 'alliance of the willing'."
PROTO THEMA (weekly): "He's (FinMin) counting down days until deadline (for measures implementation); commitments to 'troika' drowning minister".
REALNEWS (weekly): "Secret supper for 11 (PASOK) MPs".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Uprising now so plutocracy's pays", writes the communist party's paper.
TO VIMA (weekly): "Incentives for car, real estate purchases (by banks)".
VETO (weekly): "Bankruptcy -- all of the advantageous solutions for your money".
VRADYNI: "New wage scale in public sector".
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