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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Inner Cabinet discusses boosting competitiveness
  • [02] Greek govt intensifies efforts to combat tax evasion and smuggling
  • [03] PASOK leader Papandreou blasts government policies as socially unjust
  • [04] Interministerial committee confers on defence industry
  • [05] Large scale adulteration of alcohol drinks in Attica region

  • [01] Inner Cabinet discusses boosting competitiveness

    The Inner Cabinet, chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis, met Tuesday and discussed ways of boosting competitiveness.

    Taking part in the meeting, in addition to the ministers which are standing members of the Inner Cabinet, were development ministry secretary general Nikos Stefanou, special secretary for competitiveness Spyros Efstathopoulos, National Council for Competitiveness and Development committee of experts vice president Vassilis Patsouratis, and committee member Prof. Spyros Makridakis.

    The prime minister and inner cabinet were briefed on the development ministry's efforts and initiatives to boost competitiveness in Greece, while Prof. Makrydakis presented a detailed report on the Greek economy's competitiveness, the country's position based on the economic indices published by all major international organisations. Makrydakis, who teaches at Insead in France and the University of Piraeus, also made recommendations for the goals and initiatives that must be undertaken up to the year 2010.

    Afterward, Soufias said that Greece's world ranking in competitiveness had slipped steadily between 2000 and 2004.

    "The balance of trade deficit was widening, we were handing over jobs to our trade competitors, and throughout this period we did not attract foreign investments," he noted.

    He said the government had responded by declaring the years from 2005 until 2010 "Years for Competitiveness" and was promoting new policies in this direction.

    According to Sioufas, the government was "unfolding an integrated developmental policy" that involved public administration, the economy, education, health, tourism, agricultural development and culture.

    "We are promoting the reforms required for the country to move forward," the minister stressed, noting that the aim was to reverse current trends and lift Greece from its current low ranking among developed countries.

    Earlier, Karamanlis had a private meeting with development minister Dimitris Sioufas.

    [02] Greek govt intensifies efforts to combat tax evasion and smuggling

    The Greek government will announce its decisions over a plan to integrate tax on heating and diesel oil in the country by the end of July, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas to discuss the issue, Alogoskoufis said Finance ministry agencies were intensifying inspections in tourist regions and islands around the country in an effort to combat tax evasion and smuggling.

    "We are obliged to ensure that all Greek citizens will pay their taxes according to their income," he said.

    [03] PASOK leader Papandreou blasts government policies as socially unjust

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said Monday that his party, when it became government, would abolish all the unilateral regulations instituted by the present government.

    Speaking after a meeting of the PASOK Political Council, which dealt mainly with the reforms in the labour sector being advanced by the New Democracy (ND) government, Papandreou attacked the government's policies as "policies of economic failure and social injustice".

    Referring particularly to the bill on labour reforms, Papandreou accused the government of "taking money from the working people's pockets and putting it in the pockets of the employers", adding that it was a "socially unjust and class-oriented choice".

    He also accused the government of "investing in an outdated developmental model, that of cheap labour", which he said promoted neither competion nor employment, entrepreneurship and productivity, adding that the government had adopted a "model of social authoritarianism, putting the citizen in the margin".

    Papandreou was in Istanbul on Tuesday, where he was slated to be the central speaker at the first International Meeting of the International Committee of Women for Peace in the Middle East, a joint initiative of Jerusalem Link, a forum of women from Palestine and Israel, that concerns the role of women and their participation in the peace process that commenced in 2002 in Jerusalemn. The meeting is taking place at the initiative of the UN, in an effort for inplementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

    [04] Interministerial committee confers on defence industry

    Matters concerning the defence industry were discussed Monday by national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis, national defence minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos and development minister Dimitris Sioufas.

    Alogoskoufis told reporters that the meeting of the interministerial committee on the defence industry was called by the national defence minister in order to seek ways of utilising the country's armaments programmes to boost the Greek defence industry.

    The discussion also covered the Skaramangas shipyards, which Alogoskoufis said the government was seeking ways to develop and to maintain the jobs there.

    He noted that at previous meetings, the interministerial committee had discussed other defence industries, and recalled that a memorandum has been signed with ELBO (Hellenic Vehicles Industry) for the production of vehicles in Greece, provided ELBO offered competitive prices, "because we cannot in any instance violate the principles of competition".

    [05] Large scale adulteration of alcohol drinks in Attica region

    Greece's Finance ministry on Tuesday announced large scale tax evasion and adulteration by restaurant and entertainment enterprises in the Attica region.

    Inspections made by official authorities in 39 enterprises in the period July 1-3 in the Attica region, found that 26 enterprises were breaching tax legislation (66.67 pct), while inspections made by the State General Laboratory found increased adulteration rates in alcohol drinks, served by entertainment enterprises to customers, ranging from 20 percent in whiskey, 50 pct in vodka, and 100 pct in rum and tequila samples.

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