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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-25

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Extradition of Apostolos Vavylis to Greece requested officially, justice minister says
  • [02] Athens mayor inaugurates new shelter for the homeless in city centre
  • [03] PM in Washington on May 20, meeting with President George W. Bush
  • [04] Bank of Greece sees higher inflation, slower growth in 2005

  • [01] Extradition of Apostolos Vavylis to Greece requested officially, justice minister says

    Justice Minister Anastassios Papaligouras said in Patra, western Greece, on Monday that "the extradition of Apostolos Vavylis to Greece has been requested officially as well from the Italian authorities today."

    Vavylis was arrested in Bologna, Italy, last Friday after being sought for his alleged role in scandals related to the Greek Orthodox Church.

    "Following his arrest, I am in a position to tell you that the entire procedure has finished, according to which we are requesting that Vavylis comes to Greece. The relevant prosecuting authority contacted the corresponding Italian one and the request has already been forwarded to Italy. I can assure you that Vavylis, sooner or later, will be brought before Greek justice. He will have a fair trial just like every citizen," the minister said.

    Commenting on a possible delay in extradition procedures, Papaligouras said "his extradition might be delayed. I am not in a position to say for how long, since at this moment Vavylis has a pending issue with Italian justice as he has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Our effort will be to see that he will be in Greece as soon as possible, even to serve a part of that sentence in a Greek prison."

    In the event that the extradition procedure is delayed, Papaligouras said that investigating authorities will have the possibility of communication in Italian prisons.

    Also referring to comments that Vavylis was interrogated by the Italian authorities in an irregular way, the minister said "there is nothing irregular. Such cooperation is anticipated between the judicial authorities of European Union member-states."

    [02] Athens mayor inaugurates new shelter for the homeless in city centre

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyiannis on Monday inaugurated a new reception centre that will initially be used to provide midday and evening meals to the city's homeless. The new centre is housed in a property owned by the City of Athens on Sofokleous street.

    According to Bakoyiannis, it will upgrades the quality of care provided by the city for citizens in need, providing both food and social support that involves more specialised staff.

    The mayor stressed the municipality's efforts to save resources by building up permanent partnerships with government agencies, non-governmental organisations, foundations and unions in Greece and abroad that are involved in these areas.

    As an example, she announced that the Greek Red Cross will be donating its First-Aid Centre building on 3rd September Street to the municipality for the needs of the city's homeless and destitute.

    The inauguration ceremony was attended by Greek Red Cross president Andreas Martinis, as well as a number of officials, municipal councillors and representatives of the Church of Greece.

    [03] PM in Washington on May 20, meeting with President George W. Bush

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will visit Washington on May 20 and he will be meeting U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House, according to an announcement issued by the prime minister's office in Athens.

    The official announcement said that the prime minister's visit reflects the excellent level of bilateral relations between Greece and the United States, as well as the continuously widening cooperation between the two countries for the promotion of democracy, prosperity and security in the wider region of southeastern Europe and the Middle East.

    Karamanlis had scheduled a private visit to the United States, since on Sunday May 22, in Boston, he will be awarded an honourary doctorate by the Tufts University from which he graduated.

    The prime minister had visited the United States exactly a year ago and had met again with President Bush at the White House.

    [04] Bank of Greece sees higher inflation, slower growth in 2005

    Bank of Greece governor Nikolaos Garganas on Monday said he expected this year's inflation rate to reach 4.0 percent and GDP growth rate at 3.0 percent in the country.

    Presenting the bank's annual report, the Greek central banker welcomed the government's effort to deal with fiscal imbalances and stressed that an updated stability programme was a positive first step in this process.

    Garganas said his forecast of an average inflation rate around 4.0 percent in 2005 was a cause for concern and stressed the inflation rate would affected by how state-owned enterprises and the business world would react to higher taxation.

    The central banker said the Greek economy was at a turning point and recommended a series of interventions and reforms in the public sector, labour market, and the pension system with the aim to avoid an protracted slowdown of growth rates in the country. He underlined the need to strengthen competitiveness and to introduce a well-planned framework of structural reforms. Garganas also said a government decision to begin a dialogue over the reform of the country's pension system was a positive development, adding that Greece -more than any other European country- was facing a significant demographic challenge. In indirect, remarks, he rejected the continuation of early retirement programmes and said the average retirement age in the country was 59.5 years. The integration of immigrants in the official economy was not enough to solve the pension problem, Garganas said.

    He recommended extended reforms in the labour market and in the domestic markets of product and services, with the aim to boost competitiveness and economic productivity. He urged for bold reforms to boost productivity in the country, such as measures to enhance competition through a more relaxed regulatory and tax environment, offering of incentives to new businesses and a transition to the economy of knowledge. Garganas said there were significant margins to boost competition through the deregulation of economic sectors and greater progress in privatisations.

    Bank of Greece governor said unemployment was the most significant problem facing the Greek economy and urged for a new integrated framework of reforms in the labour market.

    The central banker urged consumers to avoid taking unessecary debt and to better balance their future income development.

    Bank of Greece figures showed that housing loans grew by 25.8 percent in the first quarter of 2005, while consumer loans grew 33.9 percent over the same period.


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