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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-08-24

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis tells ND's Political Council the government is determined to continue reforms
  • [02] Budget for 2006 to curb spending, boost growth
  • [03] Fire aboard Italian cruise ship under control
  • [04] City of Athens distributing new historical, tourist maps

  • [01] PM Karamanlis tells ND's Political Council the government is determined to continue reforms

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking on Wednesday afternoon at a meeting of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's Political Council, expressed the government's "determination to continue the course of changes and reforms in the state, the economy, education and health."

    Karamanlis made clear that the government "will not retreat to reactions of organised interests and closed groups of privileged people" and added that "he does not compromise with the past."

    The prime minister explained that "the changes and reforms are not an end in itself, they are the necessary prerequisites for a really strong economy and for the dynamic development which bears fruit for all."

    The ND's Political Council session was held on Wednesday immediately after the completion of the first round of reforms, shortly before the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair and shortly before the start of preparations for the setting up of the state budget of the next year, Karamanlis added.

    The prime minister made a brief reference to the situation which the government inherited from the previous Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government (debts, deficits, penalty rates on overdue loans, numerous contract workers, bureaucracy, corruption, operational problems in public utilities) and stressed that the confrontation of these problems extracted a great part of the government's efforts.

    In continuation, he referred to the axes of the government's efforts and stressed in particular the triptych: the refounding of the state, fiscal cleansing, new developmental model.

    Karamanlis further said that the government's efforts are made more difficult because of the unfavourable international circumstances.

    [02] Budget for 2006 to curb spending, boost growth

    The government's budget for 2006 aims to curb public spending and attain high growth in order to help lower the fiscal deficit to below 3.0% of gross domestic product, finance ministry sources said on Wednesday.

    In 2005, the deficit is forecast to fall below 4.0% of GDP, in line with targets, the sources said, speaking after a meeting of Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis with senior service officials.

    The 2006 budget will also rest on the government's efforts to clamp down on tax evasion, eliminate unnecessary spending, contain normal spending, and make good use of European Union funds, the same sources said.

    Spending under the budget is likely to show a lower rate of growth than 4.6% this year. Revenue is targeted to rise by 7.0%-7.5% against 11.4% in 2005.

    Growth in 2006 is targeted at 3.6% or above, from an estimated 3.5% or 3.6% in 2005, the sources said.

    Details of the budget will be finalised in coming meetings, they added.

    Alogoskoufis has asked ministries to keep their spending requirements as low possible.

    [03] Fire aboard Italian cruise ship under control

    A fire that broke out aboard the Italian cruise ship "Costa Classica" on Wednesday morning has been brought under control, according to authorities.

    The fire was detected immediately by the ship's fire alarm system when Costa Classica was eight miles east of the island of Poros and heading towards the port of Piraeus.

    The Coast Guard responded to the emergency by sending five Coast Guard vessels, the navy ship "Limnos" and a Super Puma helicopter; however, they did not need to intervene.

    Costa Classica, with its 1,583 passengers on board, arrived safely in the port of Piraeus later in the day.

    [04] City of Athens distributing new historical, tourist maps

    Volunteers throughout downtown Athens on Wednesday began handing out new tourist and historical maps of the Greek capital, part of a joint initiative by the municipality's newly formed tourism and economic development organisation along with several tourism-related associations and chambers, including the Hoteliers' Chamber.

    The first map displays the gamut of mass transit lines and routes (metro, buses, trolleys, tram) available, along with useful telephone numbers and information about museums and tourist sights.

    The second map, depicting the city's historical centre, pinpoints significant archaeological sites, monuments and attractions.


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