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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-05-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek FinMin says OTE early retirement deal "historic"
  • [02] Greek PM optimistic over tourism prospects
  • [03] Greek Industries Union's head unveils policy priorities
  • [04] EU coastal waters report finds 99.9 percent of Greek coast suitable for swimming

  • [01] Greek FinMin says OTE early retirement deal "historic"

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Thursday said an agreement reached between Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's management and workers on Wednesday over labour relations and a voluntary exit of 6,200 workers was a "historic" deal.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister said it was a historic agreement since, through a consensus, the two sides have reached a big structural change that would help in the restructuring of the organisation, while at the same time it set an example to other public enterprises.

    "The deal is very important to the organisation and the economy," Alogoskoufis said, adding it also proved that consensus procedures have positive results. The Greek minister noted that talks to solve a pension problems in Emporiki Bank and Agricultural Bank were different from the case with Hellenic Telecoms. He stressed that if talks failed to reach an outcome in the next few days the government would intervene, while he did not exclude a plan to find a solution to both banks' problem through a share capital increase.

    OME-OTE, the workers union of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, expressed its satisfaction over the signing of the agreement with OTE's management.

    Speaking to reporters, the union's presidency said the deal ensured the organisation's future in a competitive environment while it did not harm workers interests. They noted that labour relations would change and that tenure was ensured for new hirings.

    The agreement envisages the early retirement of 6,200 workers with an age of more than 50 years old, from a total of 16,000 workers in the organisation.

    [02] Greek PM optimistic over tourism prospects

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday expressed his optimism over developments in the tourism sector and stressed that Greece has managed to stabilise tourist arrivals and expected an increase in the next few years.

    Speaking to reporters, after a visit to Tourism ministry, the Greek PM said the country was now registered as a new tourist destination to new tourism markets around the world. Karamanlis announced that Greek museums and archaeological sites would be open from 08.00 to 19.30 daily, including weekends, valid from June. He noted that the government was promoting alternative forms of tourism in the country, such as spa and agro-tourism, while the ministry was drafting a new legislation on healthcare tourism.

    Karamanlis said the Tourism ministry would announce, in the next few days, the hiring of new staff for Greece's National Tourism Organisation's offices around the world. The organisation currently operates a network of 23 offices and plans to open 49 new offices soon.

    The Greek Prime Minister said the government was considering tourism as a main tool of economic growth and emphasized that the government has achieved much in its 14 months in office. "Ambitious goals have been set, many more are expected to be achieved," he noted.

    [03] Greek Industries Union's head unveils policy priorities

    Creating conditions favourable to healthy business activity, improving competitiveness and social cohesion are the main priorities of the Greek Industries Union, its president Odysseas Kyriakopoulos said on Thursday.

    Addressing the annual meeting of the union, Kyriakopoulos, noted that these priorities were the necessary preconditions to put Greek economy on a new growth course, one that would ensure better living conditions for all Greeks.

    The Greek Industries Union, in cooperation with Boston Consulting Group, published a report on the needs of Greek enterprises. The report was drafted a year ago and concluded that if a bold reforms programme was introduced then the Greek economy could overcome existing problems and grow rapidly in the future.

    The report urged for changes and reforms in four areas: business infrastructure, tax framework, labour market and human resources. Kyriakopoulos said that unless reforms were made, economic conditions would worsen, while if reforms were to be continued with their current pace, economic conditions would show a slight improvement. Finally, if reforms were promoted with dynamism, most economic goals would be achieved.

    Dimitris Daskalopoulos, the union's vide-president, presented the Charter of Obligations and Rights for Greek enterprises, saying the charter aimed to create a framework for the behaviour of enterprises in the country. "The Charter needs the commitment of enterprises, while its positive impact on society depends on two factors," Daskalopoulos said. First, introducing a system of business ethic values and second, acknowledging that business ethics and competitiveness were ensured firstly in an enterprise's leadership through the promotion of corporate culture.

    The assembly unanimously adopted the Charter.

    [04] EU coastal waters report finds 99.9 percent of Greek coast suitable for swimming

    BRUSSELS (ANA) The waters in Greek seas are of excellent quality and 99.9 per cent of Greek coastal waters are suitable for swimming, according to an annual European Commission report on the quality of EU waters released on Thursday.

    It said testing had been carried out on 1,965 coastal locations in Greece and all had met the minimum criteria for cleanliness, while 97.6 per cent had fully met even the strictest quality criteria.

    European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas also noted that four freshwater bodies of water tested in Greece had also fully met EU health and hygiene requirements.

    It said a total of 13,906 coastal areas in the EU had been tested, of which 96.7 per cent had been found suitable for swimming and 88.5 per cent had satisfied the strictest criteria.

    The report also found a small percentage of coastlines in the 'older' EU countries that have been deemed unsuitable for any sort of swimming activity, such as in Denmark, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

    Waters are tested for five factors: total intestinal bacteria, faecal bacteria, petroleum, surfactants and phenols.

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