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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-05-27

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek govt to encourage investments, FinMin says
  • [02] Gov't pleased with groundbreaking deal for state-run OTE

  • [01] Greek govt to encourage investments, FinMin says

    The Greek government will encourage investments and allow business activity to grow in an environment with clear rules for all, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday.

    Addressing a seminar for senior business executives, the Greek minister presented the country's comparative advantages in attracting investments. "Greece has entered a new era of macro-economic stability, increased competitiveness, more investments in education and balanced growth. It is the only country in the region to be a member at the EU and NATO, it uses the euro currency, enjoys one of the highest growth rates, it owns advanced infrastructure and the has the best trained human resources in the region," he said.

    He particularly mentioned the Greek merchant shipping fleet, one of the largest in the world which contributed more than 12 billion euros to the Greek economy last year.

    Alogoskoufis said that in less than 10 years Greek investments in Southeastern Europe exceeded 8.0 billion euros and stressed that any businessman investing in Greece or using the country as a base for its activities in the region, gained access to a dynamic network of several Greek enterprises with successful activities in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean. "This has particular significance if we consider that Romania and Bulgaria will officially enter the EU in 2007," he stressed. Greece is the biggest investor in Albania, Bulgaria and FYROM and one of the three biggest foreign investors in Romania, Alogoskoufis said.

    The Greek minister also refered to a tax reform, a new development law, joint ventures between the public and private sectors and an ambitious privatisation proramme, estimated at 1.6 billion euros this year.

    "Our goals are ambitious but realistic," he added and urged foreign businessmen to invest in Greece.

    [02] Gov't pleased with groundbreaking deal for state-run OTE

    The government on Friday thoroughly praised a groundbreaking agreement this week between management and the workers' union of the state-run telephony utility (OTE) to establish a 1.6-billion-euro early and voluntary retirement fund.

    The matter has been amongst the government's top priorities in its quest to reform a handful of major state-run and bourse-listed enterprises and utilities.

    In response to press questions on who will fund the 1.6 billion euros needed for the fund, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros emphasised that the significance lies in the "benefits accrued by OTE, its employees, the Greek economy and society..."

    Antonaros also dismissed questions insinuating that taxpayers will pay for the package, as he referred such queries to "previous PASOK governments, which lumped OTE's and the Public Power Corp.'s pension liabilities onto the national budget, thus perpetuating the problem..."

    Moreover, the spokesman said the restructuring of a such major utility must be accomplished over a period of time and in a manner that ensures the company's viability, effectiveness and commitment to competitive criteria.

    Finally, he reiterated that there is no issue of abolishing tenure for current OTE employees.

    According to reports, the fund will be financed jointly by OTE, the workers' union (OTE/OME) and by the state, with the latter's contribution based on the shares it owns in the utility.


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