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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-05-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Premier Karamanlis reiterates gov't emphasis on regional development
  • [02] Greece, Turkey hold first banking level meeting in Athens
  • [03] 'Europe Day' celebrated in Athens
  • [04] Greek President meets foreign leaders during Moscow visit

  • [01] Premier Karamanlis reiterates gov't emphasis on regional development

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday reiterated his government's emphasis on regional development as both a primary and strategic choice.

    Speaking after a relevant Cabinet meeting he chaired, the Greek prime minister noted that "our attention and priorities remain steadfastly directed at Greece's provinces."

    Among others, he said the public works ministry will tender regional development projects worth five billion euros in 2005 alone, while stressing that contracts for six major road axes around the country are being rapidly promoted.

    Karamanlis added that his government is also emphasising greater tourism development in the provinces and support of farmers' income.

    Furthermore, the premier said he has requested from ministers to focus on the greater absorption of 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) funds while at the same time finalising preparations for the upcoming 4th CSF.

    In terms of absorption rates for EU funds, Karamanlis reminded that his government has absorbed more CFS funding in one year than in the previous four years.

    [02] Greece, Turkey hold first banking level meeting in Athens

    Greece and Turkey held their first banking-level meeting in a decade on Monday on the sidelines of a congress held in Athens by the Institute of International Finance.

    The meeting was held on the initiative of the two countries' banking unions.

    Addressing the meeting, National Bank governor and president of Bank Union of Greece, Takis Arapoglou, said the Southeast European banking market offered very significant prospects and noted that the Greek and Turkish bank unions faced many common challenges.

    "The meeting laid the foundations to find common approaches and to better promote our interests and forge closer trade and economic relations," Alpha Bank's chairman and IIF board member Yiannis Costopoulos told the meeting.

    Discussions focused on issues related with implementing "Basel II" rules on retail banking, introducting risk management systems, regulatory framework for the operation of the banking system, etc.

    Ersin Ozince, president of the Bank Union of Turkey, said there was strong interest by international banks for Turkey's banking market while he noted an international trend of creating large bank groups on international and regional level.

    The two Unions agreed to hold their next meeting in October in Istanbul. Monday's meeting was attended, among others, by more than 60 senior banking officials from both countries, European Central Bank's vice-president Lucas Papademos, HSBC Holdings plc chairman sir John Bond, UniCredito Italiano deputy president Andrea Moneta, IFF chief executive Charles Dallara.

    [03] 'Europe Day' celebrated in Athens

    Greece celebrated "Europe Day" on Monday with, among others, an event at central Athens' Zappeion Hall honoring the occasion.

    Speaking afterwards, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis referred to a "great day, when we remember how we arrived at today's Europe of cooperation and rapprochement in the wake of the war's destruction."

    The Zappeion events were held under the auspices of the foreign ministry in cooperation with the education ministry. Several hundred pupils were on hand for the celebrations, held on the day the world marked the Allies' victory in Europe.

    "Children are the protagonists of European history, the ones who will lead the train towards the future and progress," Valinakis added.

    [04] Greek President meets foreign leaders during Moscow visit

    Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias had brief conversations with foreign leaders at the Kremlin on Monday, during an official dinner held by Russian President Vladimir Putin for the heads of state and government attending celebrations marking the 60th anniversary since the end of World War II in Moscow.

    Among those meeting Papoulias were United States President George Bush, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Present at each of these meetings was Deputy Foreign Minister Panagiotis Skandalakis.

    The Greek president described his contacts in Moscow as "interesting", while noting that it was his duty as head of state to promote the country's interests whenever the opportunity arose.

    Papoulias also referred to the medal awarded to him by Putin for his resistance action during WWII.

    "Today was a great day, not just for Europe but for the entire world, for all those who stood up against the tyranny and barbarity of the Nazis and Fascists. The honour done to me was an honour for the entire Greek resistance, for those who fought in the mountains and the towns, for the heroic people of Athens and the resistance fighters, regardless of their political alignments. For the universal Greek resistance, which was among the most heroic in Europe. For this reason, as President of the Republic, I feel proud and moved," he said.

    Earlier on Monday morning, joined world leaders that attended military parades marking the anniversary in Red Square and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    Later on, at a special ceremony within the Kremlin, Putin awarded the Greek president the medal of Victory for his action against the Nazis in the Greek resistance, which he joined at the age of 15. Other recipients of the medal were Albanian President Alfred Moisiu, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, former Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, former Polish president General Wojciech Yaruzelski and the former Romanian monarch Michael Hohenzollern.

    President Papoulias returned to Athens on Monday night.

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