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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Govt to press on with debt securitization plan, opposition reacts
  • [02] PM inaugurates Iakovidis' art exhibit

  • [01] Govt to press on with debt securitization plan, opposition reacts

    Next year's budget will not include the figure from a debt securitization plan, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday. The Greek minister noted that the figure would be included after completion of a technical consultation -currently underway- with Eurostat to approve the plan.

    Speaking to reporters, Alogoskoufis said the 2006 budget would focus on restraining public spending, and combatting tax evasion.

    The main opposition PASOK party and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party criticised the government on its debt securitization plan.

    The Greek minister said that even without revenues from a debt securitization plan, the government managed to reduce its fiscal deficit by more than two percentage points, as agreed with the European Union. The deficit will fall to 4.4 percent of GDP from 6.6 pct in 2004, excluding revenues from debt securitization. "We have said from the beginning that debt securitization is a temporary revenue and we have moved according to Eurostat's regulations," the Greek minister said.

    Alogoskoufis said the government would continue efforts to have a debt securitization plan approved by the European Union and stressed that revenues would be included either in the 2005 or the 2006 budget, depending on the approval by Eurostat. The Greek minister said approval procedures were taking longer these days since Eurostat was more cautious with such plans due to problems surfacing with similar plans in the past.

    Alogoskoufis said the Greek economy was moving in the right direction and stressed that no other EU member-state managed to achieve so many things during one year. "Our aim was to combine efforts to reduce fiscal deficits, safeguarding growth rates, and boosting employment and social cohesion," Alogoskoufis said.

    The Greek minister said the government would seek a full privatisation of Emporiki Bank, to sell another stake in Agricultural Bank and to list Athens Airport in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    PASOK, SYN on govt's securitization plan

    The main opposition PASOK party and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party criticised the government on its debt securitization plan on Monday.

    PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, commenting on Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis' announcements, said that the government's economic policy "has collapsed" and that the government "is transferring the problems of its policy on to the real economy, thus burdening Greek citizens."

    He also accused Alogoskoufis of "writing and re-writing the 2006 budget," and coming up with different results for the 2005 budget with a deficit that now stands at 4.4%.

    SYN's Panagiotis Lafazanis, member of the party's Political Bureau and head of the Economic and Social Policy Division, said that without revenues generated from securitization, which he called "accounting alchemy", the 2005 and 2006 budgets will mean "harsh austerity" and new tax burdens for workers and pensioners, as well as "a new wave of out-of-control privatisation that threatens to level everything in the public sector."

    "Government policies are paving the way for very difficult years ahead, at the expense of the Greek public, while major corporations, particularly banks, have seen an unprecedented rise in profits," he said.

    [02] PM inaugurates Iakovidis' art exhibit

    Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Costas Karamanlis inaugurated the retrospective exhibit of Georgios Iakovidis, founder of the National Art Gallery, on Monday evening.

    Karamanlis called Iakovidis "a major figure in the Greek art world," who despite being underestimated by younger generations of painters and critics, "succeeded in creating works that marked Greeks' unconscious."

    Karamanlis added that Iakovidis' paintings can be seen as an allegory.

    "The children he painted represent end of 19th century Greece, as it tries to find its pace among the other European nations, while the elderly men and women that Iakovidis also painted, resemble the historical and cultural origins of the Greek nation which was fervently trying to come together," he noted.

    In his brief address, Panayiotis Tetsis, Chairman of the Gallery's Executive Board, described Iakovidis as an innovator.

    He also touched on the issue of the gallery's building, saying that expanding the current building would be "an improvement, but not a solution."

    Iakovidis served as the gallery's first director in 1900 and was also head of the School of Fine Arts.

    Present at the opening were Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis, the ministry's Secretary General Christos Zachopoulos, National Art Gallery Director Marina Lampraki-Plaka and others.

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