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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-08

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece's fiscal adjustment progress satisfactory, Almunia says
  • [02] Immigrants a major issue, PASOK leader says
  • [03] Airforce celebrates patron saint, 75th anniversary

  • [01] Greece's fiscal adjustment progress satisfactory, Almunia says

    Greece's fiscal adjustment, through its 2005 budget, is progressing satisfactorily, EU Commissioner on Monetary Affairs Joaquim Almunia said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after an ECOFIN council meeting in Brussels, Almunia said the Commission was awaiting more information regarding the 2006 budget from the Greek government. The EU Commissioner said he met with Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and underlined that an effort to cut fiscal deficits in 2006 must be made through structural measures, accounting for 0.6 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

    Almunia clarified that the EU executive's statistics agency, Eurostat, has not yet reached a decision on whether a Greek government debt securitization plan is compatible with European accounting standards and noted that a decision was expected by the end of the year. The Commissioner, however, repeated his view in favour of structural measures to reduce deficits.

    Greece's 2006 budget and the debt securitization plan were also discussed on Tuesday by Almunia and Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, who was in Brussels to attend an ECOFIN meeting.

    [02] Immigrants a major issue, PASOK leader says

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday said that the role of immigrants was a major political and ideological issue but stressed that Greece was atypical of other European countries, since immigrants were not 'ghettoised'.

    Addressing his party's Parliamentary group, Papandreou said Greece had to consider the social integration of second- and third-generation immigrants in order to ensure public safety.

    He said there will probably be an initiative by PASOK, which was most likely to be a proposal for a cross-party committee on the immigration issue.

    The party's coordinator for economic issues George Floridis, meanwhile, stressed that the issue had to be addressed politically and ideologically in order to prevent reactionary views from dominating the debate, when this began.

    The draft budget for 2006 also dominated a major part of the meeting, with stinging criticism from main opposition officials who described it as "up in the air" and demanded to see all the figures sent to the EU and the commitments made by the government in Europe.

    Floridis was scathing about the government's handling of the economy, meanwhile, saying that its decisions were consistently "catastrophic", with problems in the absorption of 3rd CSF funds and a slowdown of the Public Investments programme, among others.

    [03] Airforce celebrates patron saint, 75th anniversary

    The Greek Airforce on Tuesday celebrated the feast of Archangel Michael, its patron saint, in an official ceremony that also coincided with the 75th anniversary since the Greek Airforce first became the third arm of the Armed Forces.

    The ceremony - which included low overhead flights in formation by airforce planes - was held at the Dekeleia Airforce Base in Tatoi, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Papoulias was accompanied by Deputy Defence Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos, while the event was attended by Parliament vice-president Yiannis Tragakis, representatives of the political parties, the leadership of the Armed Forces and Security Forces and other officials.


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