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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] First hydroplane routes to Greek isles on the horizon
  • [02] Greek Parliament ratifies EU Constitution by overwhelming majority
  • [03] Greek gov't announces huge public works programme

  • [01] First hydroplane routes to Greek isles on the horizon

    A decades-old idea of hydroplanes servicing Greece's numerous "airport-less" islands finally appears to be on the not-so-distant horizon, as a first test flight was successfully held on Tuesday off coastal southern Athens.

    A hydroplane took off from the Neo Faliro coastline -- the district that hosts several 2004 Olympic seaside venues - for the remote Cyclades (central Aegean) island of Serifos, the latest in a series of test flights by hydroplanes around the Aegean.

    Tuesday's flight comes ahead of the upcoming publication of a presidential decree by the transport ministry laying out the rules and guidelines for establishing private hydroplane carriers, licensing, routes, landing points etc.

    Among others, operation licenses for sea ports will reportedly be granted only to EU nationals.

    In related statements, Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis said the establishment of hydroplane routes between mainland Greece and the islands, or between island destinations themselves, should boost tourism, as well as serving emergency needs.

    Hydroplanes had long been frowned on by past governments and the state, partly out of concerns over smuggling and security.

    [02] Greek Parliament ratifies EU Constitution by overwhelming majority

    Greek Parliament approved the ratification of the EU Constitution on Tuesday evening, with 268 MPs voting in favour of the Treaty and 17 voting against it.

    [03] Greek gov't announces huge public works programme

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Tuesday announced a gigantic public works programme, worth 13.5 billion euros, to be tendered by the ministry in the period 2005-2006.

    Addressing a conference by the Technical Chamber of Greece, Souflias said the programme included all major road works to be assigned to private groups, with construction works expected to begin in the summer of 2006. The Greek minister said the ministry would begin projects worth 5.0 billion euros this year, of which 3.5 billion euros have already been tendered, while projects worth 500 million euros are expected to be signed by Friday.

    Souflias noted that all new contracts were signed rapidly with full transparency and within two months from the day they were announced. He also criticised the Council of State saying its judges were delivering decisions as if they were the legislators in the country.

    The Greek minister said the EU congratulated the government for its initiative to reform a system of assigning projects, saying the new system was effectively combatting corruption. Souflias rejected criticism over delays in project procedures and reiterated the government's will to completed projects and to help the engineering sector overcome its current crisis.

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