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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-04

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek govt announces new generation of privatisations
  • [02] TIM Hellas sold for 1.114 billion euros
  • [03] Greek foreign minister meets Russian special representative on Cyprus
  • [04] Greece sends condolences to Vatican over Pope's death

  • [01] Greek govt announces new generation of privatisations

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Monday announced a new generation of privatisations, envisaging the joint participation of both the public and private sectors in the construction of infrastructure projects "which the public sector cannot fund nor can manage by itself".

    Addressing a seminar on competitiveness organised by Development ministry, the Greek minister said that a new draft bill on this new generation of privatisations would be unveiled in the next few days. Alogoskoufis also defined six points as the cause of low economic competitiveness in the country.

    First, a failure of economic policy, second, an old-fashioned and slow-moving legislative framework for the labour market, third, an ineffective, slow-moving and bureaucratic public sector, fourth, a vague law framework on the use of land, fifth, corruption and breach of competition rules in public sector assignments and sixth, lack of long-term planning.

    Addressing the seminar, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas stressed that competitiveness in Greece was being undermined by lack of transparency, bureaucracy, corruption and hurdles in creating new enterprises and that the government was working to overcome these problems through a new development law whose implementation begins on Tuesday.

    Other speakers were Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas, who urged the introduction of socially costly structural reforms that would protect large sections of the society in the long-term, and PASOK party deputy Anna Diamantopoulou.

    A survey presented during the seminar showed that Greece was at the bottom of a world list of competitiveness. Another survey by professor Spyros Makridakis showed that an 1.0 percent improvement of the Greek economy's world competitiveness index could lead to a 6.1 percent rise in per capita income in the country.

    [02] TIM Hellas sold for 1.114 billion euros

    TIM International NV, a subsidiary of TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile), on Monday announced the sale of 80.87 percent in TIM Hellas to Apax Partners and Texas Pacific Group (TPG) for 1.114 billion euros, or 16.43 euros per share.

    The deal, valuing TIM Hellas at 1.6 billion euros, is expected to register an unearned incremenet of 432 million euros to TIM Group's consolidated balance sheet. The deal is expected to be completed by July 2005.

    Apax Partners is a private capital investment group, with activities in the US, Europe and Israel and focusing on telecommunications, IT, retail and consumer goods, media, healthcare services and financial services.

    Texas Pacific Group (TPG) is an international private capital investment company, with more than 15 billion US dollars under management. TPG was one of the first US-based companies to begin activities in Europe and in particular in the IT and telecommunications sectors.

    [03] Greek foreign minister meets Russian special representative on Cyprus

    Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Monday received the Russian foreign ministry's special representative on Cyprus Leonid Abramov.

    According to ministry sources, they ascertained the existence of a new impetus for relaunching talks on a solution to the Cyprus problem but agreed that, this time round, these must take place in conditions that would, to the extent possible, guarantee the success of the process.

    The same sources said that Molyviatis and Abramov agreed on starting and stepping up talks between Greece and Russia in the framework of the Action Plan agreed during the last trip by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Moscow.

    The Action plan called for bilateral meetings between high-ranking diplomatic officials on the two sides, possibly up to the level of deputy foreign ministers.

    [04] Greece sends condolences to Vatican over Pope's death

    The President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, on Sunday sent condolences to the Vatican following the death of Pope John Paul II.

    "I wish to convey the grief felt by the Greek people, and myself personally, on announcement of the Pontiff's demise. This is a day of mourning for the Christian world and the international community," Papoulias said in a telegram.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis praised the late Pope as "great among the great" for his devotion to the defence of freedom, and for his sense of sacrifice, apparent even in his final stretch of illness and pain.

    In Istanbul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stated that the Pope's death was a loss for the whole of Christianity, and for moves to attain peace and justice around the world.

    In Athens, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece described the late Pope as a major figure in Roman Catholicism, a flag bearer for freedom and human rights.

    The leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement, George Papandreou, said that the pontiff had been an enlightened leader and proponent of human rights, also working to modernise the Catholic Church and attain rapprochement with Orthodox Christianity.

    The Catholic Church of Greece announced that it would open a public book of condolences on Monday.


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