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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government unveils bill on real estate taxation
  • [02] Minister on need for public administration reform
  • [03] PASOK announces campaign on the economy
  • [04] PM to attend Euro-Med Summit in Barcelona

  • [01] Government unveils bill on real estate taxation

    An inner cabinet meeting on Friday approved a draft legislation envisaging changes in the taxation of real estate assets.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said the draft bill would introduce a gradual abolition of transfer taxes, raise tax-exempt limits on heritage and stressed that the changes were included in New Democracy party's pre-election programme.

    The new legislation would restructure the building sector and effectively combat tax evasion, the Greek minister said. Under the new bill, the tax-exempt ceiling for home owners will rise to 80,000 euros. Alogoskoufis said that all building projects submitted for licence this year would be exempted from the introduction of VAT even if their building permits would be issues in 2006.

    Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, commenting on the inner cabinet meeting, said the draft bill would better organise taxation on real estate assets and stressed that the introduction of VAT covered certain categories of real estate assets.

    [02] Minister on need for public administration reform

    Chronic weaknesses within public administration make reform imperative and call for "re-establishment" of the state, Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Prokopis Pavlopoulos said during a keynote speech, kicking off a three-day conference organised by the European Public Law Center in Athens on Friday.

    Pavlopoulos cited the structural problems afflicting public administration - its size, low-quality services, poor organisation - and said that these effectively undermine the state's prestige and the quality of democracy itself.

    By "re-establishing the state," the government is trying to implement a comprehensive policy of 'cleaning up' and modernising the public sector.

    According to Pavlopoulos, the government's measures to improve public administration include strengthening transparency, meritocracy; ensuring that public funds are spent wisely through continuous audits; eliminating confusing legislation and capitalising on new technologies and communication in order to implement e-governance.

    The minister noted that all reforms - implemented, under way or scheduled - affect the entire public administration system, including state agencies, local government and the broader public sector.

    "Quality, flexibility and effectiveness are the long-term goals of our political options," he said.

    Placing the issue within a broader, European context, Pavlopoulos said: "We also place great importance on the effect that the EU acquis communautaire has on governance and public administration reform. The continuously increasing production of Community legislation on the one hand, and the emergence of common rules and actions on the other, influence our attitudes and behaviour. The Commission's White Paper "European Governance" details the principles of proper governance and recommends the greater participation of citizens, more active communication with the broader public, a greater involvement of the society of citizens in the shaping of policies which is in line with the concept of greater responsibility, greater flexibility in terms of the means of implementing legislation and programmes and general cohesion of policies."

    "The successful reshaping of governance on an EU-level strengthens the Union's potential to contribute to international governance. The effort to shape relations and practices on an international level in accordance with EU principles and goals is permissible," he concluded.

    [03] PASOK announces campaign on the economy

    The main opposition PASOK party has announced a nationwide dialogue campaign with citizens on the economy, in the wake of High Cost of Living Day and the two-day period on health.

    The initiative will be carried out in three phases during which party delegations will be touring the entire country. An announcement said the aim of the camapaign is "to highlight major problems facing the economy as a result of the policy of the government".

    PASOK delegations will be visiting the regions of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Central Macedonia, Western Macedonia, Ipiros, Thessaly and Central Greece on November 26 and 27.

    PASOK leader George Papandreou will visit the city of Karditsa, central Greece, on November 27 and will address an open political event at the city's indoor stadium.

    The party's National Council secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou will visit the northern prefecture of Ioannina and will address a political event at the cultural centre of the municipality of Bizani on November 27.

    The second phase of the campaign has been scheduled for December 3 and 4 in the regions of the Northern and Southern Aegean, Crete, the Peloponnese, Western Greece and the Ionian.

    The dialogue initiative will be completed on December 7 with visits by party delegations to the Attica basin (Athens, Piraeus and the rest of Attica).

    [04] PM to attend Euro-Med Summit in Barcelona

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be departing for Barcelona on Sunday to take part in the EuroMed 10th Anniversary Summit.

    On Sunday night, Karamanlis will take part in a working meeting on the theme "Alliance of Civilisations" that will take place at the CCIB Conference Centre and afterwards attend a cultural event at the National Art Museum of Catalonia and a dinner given by King Juan Carlos of Spain in honour of the visiting heads of state and government.

    The EuroMed summit will begin on Monday with an address by Juan Carlos and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, president of the European Council.

    The meeting will end at around midday, with Karamanlis scheduled to return to Greece on Monday afternoon.

    During the regular press briefing on Friday, meanwhile, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that no meeting between Karamanlis and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the EuroMed summit.

    The spokesman noted that the premier's schedule in Barcelona was "very tight".

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