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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-05-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis tells summit in Warsaw that 'the CoE expresses the reunification of Europe'
  • [02] Govt presents annual report on competitiveness
  • [03] Tourism ministry orders continuous inspections of related businesses over the summer

  • [01] PM Karamanlis tells summit in Warsaw that 'the CoE expresses the reunification of Europe'

    WARSAW (ANA/O. Tsipira) - Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing the 3rd Council of Europe (CoE) two-day summit which began in Warsaw on Monday, termed as a "lighthouse" for the political options and actions of the European leaders, the European Court of Human Rights.

    The Greek prime minister was among 20 European leaders who spoke during the afternoon session.

    He stresssed that the European Court of Human Rights "is a great achievemenet of our peoples and should constitute the lighthouse of policies and actions in the sector of human rights."

    Karamanlis said that its decisions must be carried out directly, without prerequisites and fully by the member-states of the Council of Europe.

    Making an indirect reference to the large number of recourses (78,000 are pending at present), Karamanlis stressed that the Court "should be strengthened so as not to be sank under the weight of its success. A step in this direction is the Agreement for Protocol 14, for which Greece has already started the procedure for ratifying it."

    The Greek prime minister called on the partners who have delayed in ratifying the Protocol, for them to also proceed in the relevant procedure.

    Referring to the great contribution by the Council of Euope to European societies, he stressed:"The Council of Europe has been reborn from the ashes of World War II with the basic objective of protecting human rights.

    "However, it is apparent that reforms must be made on an institutional level, if we wish ro answer successfully to the new challenges and within the logic of a reunited continent.

    "The basic pylons of the Council which are based on Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law are good and strong, however, they must be improved and I am deeply convinced that one of the most effective ways is the strengthening of the Council of Europe through the ratification of Protocol 14."

    Making particular reference to the Greek government's priorities, Karamanlis said one of its basic ones is the war against corruption. "In this context, we welcome the efforts of the Council of Europe to seek common answers to the challenges raised from corruption, organised crime and the trafficking of drugs."

    Terrorism constitutes for the Greek prime minister the major issue of the 21st Centrury. He said that the Council's efforts in this direction should be further strengthened, having always in mind respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms, as well as of inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

    Concluding, Karamanlis said:"The Council of Europe expresses the reunification of Europe, the abolition of divisive lines in our continent, the strengthening of democracies and the rule of law and of human rights. The new architecture which is coming about, has as a prerequisite the closer cooperation between the Council of Europe and the other institutions, mainly the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations."

    [02] Govt presents annual report on competitiveness

    The Greek government should link pay increases in the public and private sectors with productivity increase in the country, promote flexibility in the labour market, liberalise closed professions and fully privatise state-owned banks, an annual report on economic competitiveness said on Monday.

    The report, presented by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, recommended structural reforms in the economy, labour relations and domestic markets.

    Presenting the report, Sioufas said the report would be the basis for talks and exchange of views since it was drafted by an independent agency. "We should analyse facts and to begin a dialogue and a composition of views since we have no room for disagreement," the Greek minister stressed.

    The report recommended expanding shopping hours around the country, abolishing a single profit margin and opening hours for pharmacies and statutory fees for notaries, engineers, architects and lawyers.

    It also criticised the lack of competitiveness in the services market and public organisations' operations. The electricity energy market lacked competitiveness with Public Power Corporation operating as a monopoly, while fuel pre-tax prices were higher compared with other European states due to the dominant position of Hellenic Petroleum in the domestic market.

    In his speech, the Greek minister, also refered to government measures to improve competitiveness, such as new development and tax legislations, more money to support business activities, simplier procedures to set up enterprises and a draft law enhancing a Competition Commission.

    Sioufas noted that Greece has fallen by 19 positions in the world list of competitiveness in the period 2001-2005.

    [03] Tourism ministry orders continuous inspections of related businesses over the summer

    The tourism ministry has ordered intensified inspections at various tourist-related firms and businesses around the country, as the important upcoming holiday season unofficially begins in the coming period.

    Joint teams comprised of National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) employees, local police officers and health department officials are scheduled to make spot checks throughout the summer, the ministry said.

    Amongst the top priorities for the ministry is curbing instances of profiteering in prominent holiday destinations.

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