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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government unveils strategic plan to boost Greek exports
  • [02] Minister briefs President on energy projects
  • [03] Economic diplomacy eyes emerging markets
  • [04] President Papoulias meets with Romanian PM Tariceanu

  • [01] Government unveils strategic plan to boost Greek exports

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday unveiled the government's strategic plan to boost exports of Greek products, based on the key-word "export-orientation".

    Presenting the plan, Alogoskoufis said Greek enterprises' exports were particularly low in recent years, at 7.4 pct of the country's Gross Domestic Product, compared with 40 percent in Germany and 95 percent in Belgium.

    The Greek minister stressed that low exports were reflected in the country's increasing trade deficit, currently at 27 billion US dollars, and attributed this development to low competitiveness by Greek enterprises, discouraging of business activity and the absence of a critical mass of export-oriented enterprises in the country.

    "The key word is export-orientation," Alogoskoufis said.

    The new business plan by the Export Promotion Organisation, aimed to boost Greek exports, envisages conducting a study to determine market targets for Greek products, promoting a special programme for Greek food products, such as olive oil, organising eight business trips to US, Canada, Arabia, Japan, China, Poland, Russia and Egypt, organising an international conference on Mediterranean Food in autumn, participating in 45 international trade fairs and upgrading the role of a National Export Council.

    [02] Minister briefs President on energy projects

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday briefed the president of the republic, Karolos Papoulias, on three major energy projects that were recently completed, turning Greece into an international energy hub.

    Sioufas also outlined initiatives the government has taken to help boost growth, competitiveness, investment, and research and development.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, on Sunday launched the start of construction of a natural gas pipeline between the two countries; Greece has signed a protocol with Italy for construction of another natgas pipeline; and Greece has signed a political protocol with Russia and Bulgarian for construction of an oil pipeline.

    [03] Economic diplomacy eyes emerging markets

    Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis said on Wednesday that Greece's economic diplomacy drive included a focus on emerging markets.

    The country's outward-looking economic policy was divided firstly into the Mediterranean area, the Middle East, and the Arab world; secondly Turkey; thirdly the Black Sea and Caspian region; and fourthly the Balkans, Stylianidis told a meeting arranged by the association of Greek alumni of universities abroad.

    "If there's one area in which the outward-looking nature of Greek economic diplomacy has shown spectacular results in recent years, then that is the Balkans," he noted.

    Currently operating in the region were more than 3,500 Greek operations, mainly subsidiaries of home-based firms. More than 6.0 billion euros of Greek capital was invested in the Balkans, creating 200,000 jobs, Stylianidis said.

    Another success was a political agreement by Greece, Russia and Bulgaria this year to build an oil pipeline, in a project stalled over 13 years, he added.

    [04] President Papoulias meets with Romanian PM Tariceanu

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday met with visiting Romanian prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, for talks that focused on bilateral relations, as well as regional and international including the situation in the Balkans, Turkey's EU course, and the Cyprus problem.

    According to diplomatic sources, the meeting lasted longer than scheduled, which reflected the very good level of bilateral relations between the two countries.

    Papoulias reaffirmed Greece's support for Romania's EU accession course and the country's accession to NATO.

    Romania, as well as other EU candidate countries, have become concerned to a degree over the recent rejection of the European Union's Constitutional Treaty in referenda in France and the Netherlands, which has been construed by certain quarters as an indirect criticism of the 25-nation bloc's further enlargement, the diplomatic sources noted.

    Greece holds one of the top positions in foreign investments in Romania, while mutual trade relations have marked substantial growth in recent years.

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