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

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't tax measures necessary, Greek industrialist says
  • [02] Greek employers reject calls for renegotiating labour agreement
  • [03] Greece expresses support for Bulgaria's EU accession, signs bilateral cooperation protocol
  • [04] Ecumenical Patriarch, Greek Archbishop to attend funeral of Pope John Paul II
  • [05] Animal welfare group releases returns injured birds back to the wild after treatment

  • [01] Gov't tax measures necessary, Greek industrialist says

    The inability of previous governments to cut public spending, a huge state and large public debt have led to a package of measures that include tax rises and will affect inflation in the country, Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, president of the Greek Industries' Union said on Tuesday.

    Commenting on a package of tax measures announced by the government, the Greek industrialist said the media and some unions were exaggerating the impact of the package and creating inflationary expectations in the country. "We must define the state, the social benefits and the increases we want to determine the country's future," Kyriakopoulos told reporters.

    Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis on Tuesday announced drastic cuts in spending by all organisations supervised by the ministry. Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, Liapis said they agreed on "cutbacks" in all organisations' finances.

    ND honorary president Constantinos Mitsotakis described the government measures as necessary but inadequate. Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Mitsotakis said the measures were a last resort but inadequate and added the problem was not to raise state revenues but to cut spending.

    Confidence that the country will succeed in reducing deficits and developing its economy was expressed by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, meanwhile, during a reception held on Monday night.

    Karamanlis underlined his determination to carry out structural changes and privatisations, stressing that the citizens are demanding changes and reforms everywhere.

    [02] Greek employers reject calls for renegotiating labour agreement

    Industrialist Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, president of the Union of Greek Industries, on Tuesday categorically rejected calls by GSEE, the country's largest union umbrella, to renegotiate a collective labour agreement following a government decision to raise VAT factors, saying the agreement was not reviewed even when the government raised tax-exemption levels for low incomes.

    The Greek industrialist said the collective labour agreement was valid until the end of 2005 and that negotiations over next year's agreement would begin in autumn. He noted that negotiations would be tough and added that this year's wage increases were real, two percentage points above inflation and exceeding wage increases in the European Union.

    Kyriakopoulos expressed doubts over an existing status of collective labour agreements in Greece, saying that an international trend was for each enterprise to opt for pay rises to its workers, while he noted that wage levels according to a collective agreement were high and that domestic companies often could not afford the burden.

    [03] Greece expresses support for Bulgaria's EU accession, signs bilateral cooperation protocol

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis on Tuesday underlined the Greek government's support for Bulgaria's accession to the European Union at the start of 2007, during a meeting with Bulgaria's European Affairs Minister Meglena Kuneva.

    "We will do everything possible for the ratification of Bulgaria's Accession Treaty by the Greek Parliament," Stylianidis said and stressed the extremely good bilateral relations between the two countries, noting that this should extend to governments, markets and society.

    Kuneva thanked Greece for its assistance throughout the course of accession negotiations with the EU and asked for its support in ensuring the speedy ratification of Bulgaria accession.

    They noted that cooperation will continue after Bulgaria's EU entry and reaffirmed joint plans for infrastructure projects in Bulgaria.

    Also on Tuesday, a protocol for bilateral scientific cooperation between Greece and Bulgaria was signed in Sofia at the 16th meeting of the Mixed Greek-Bulgarian Committee for Cooperation in Science and Technology by Greek Ambassador to Bulgaria Prokopios Mantzouranis and Bulgarian Deputy Education Minister Kamen Belev.

    This will include cooperation in researching seismic activity in the southern Balkans, the distribution of radioactive elements in Greek and Bulgarian forests, exchanges of oceanographic data and the use of biotechnology to improve crops.

    Meeting of Greek and Bulgarian president postponed due to Pope's funeral

    A scheduled meeting between the Presidents of Greece and Bulgaria in Thessaloniki on Friday will not take place because Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias' will travel to Rome to attend the Pope's funeral, it was announced on Tuesday.

    According to diplomatic sources, Papoulias' meeting with Bulgarian president Georgi Purvanov -- who is also likely to attend the Pope's funeral -- has not been cancelled and will be rescheduled in the immediate future.

    [04] Ecumenical Patriarch, Greek Archbishop to attend funeral of Pope John Paul II

    ISTANBUL (ANA - A. Kourkoulas) Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will personally attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II, at the head of a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul, it was announced on Tuesday.

    This is the first time in history that the Patriarch represents the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the funeral of a Roman Catholic prelate, the announcement added.

    Bartholomew will be accompanied by bishops of Pergamus Ioannis, Imvros and Tenedos Cyrillus and deacon Dositheos Anagnostopoulos.

    The Patriarchal delegation will depart for Rome on Thursday evening and stay at The Vatican for two nights, returning to Istanbul on Saturday.

    In Greece, meanwhile, it was announced that Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, the head of the Autocephalous Church of Greece, will attend the Pope's funeral at the head of a five-member delegation from the Church of Greece.

    Greek alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters on Tuesday that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will visit The Vatican's diplomatic representation in Athens on Wednesday morning at 10:30 in order to express his sorrow over the death of Pope John Paul II and sign the book of condolence.

    [05] Animal welfare group releases returns injured birds back to the wild after treatment

    The Greek Centre for the Treatment of Wild Animals (EKPAZ) on Tuesday released several injured birds that had been treated and restored to health by the group back into the wild.

    The birds included six pelicans, four hawks and two petrels, among others, while more birds, including a rare eagle that visits Greece only in winter, will be released on Wednesday.

    The injured wildfowl were set free at the Aliakmonas River and the Agia Varvara bridge on the Veria-Vergina road and on Wednesday they will be released at Lake Kerkini.

    Most of the birds released were injured by shotgun fire, while three were poisoned by a build-up of toxic substances in Lake Koroneia last autumn.


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