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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] UN: Greek GDP growth at 3.1% for '06
  • [02] Papandreou slams 'uncaring' gov't policy for farmers

  • [01] UN: Greek GDP growth at 3.1% for '06

    Greece's economic growth will reach 3.1 pct this year, the fourth-largest performance in the Euro zone, a UN report on the global economic outlook in 2006 reported on Tuesday.

    The report, presented in Athens during an event organised by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) and UNRIC, the UN's information centre, said Greek inflation would ease to 3.0 percent this year from 3.6 pct in 2005, while it was projected to rise to 2.0 percent in the Euro zone from 1.8 percent last year.

    On his part, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said these estimates were pessimistic.

    The UN's report envisages strong growth rates in Southeastern Europe, a region with a strong Greek business presence -- at 5.9 pct this year from 6.0 pct in 2005, while in Turkey GDP growth will reach 5.3 pct from 4.6 pct over the same period, respectively.

    The US economy is expected to grow by 3.1 pct this year (3.3 pct in 2005), Japan's GDP will grow 1.9 pct (2.1 pct), while developing countries are expected to record a 5.6 pct growth rate in 2006 from 5.7 pct in 2005. The European economy will grow by 2.1 pct (1.5 pct in 2005), while the Euro zone economy to grow by 1.9 pct (1.3 pct in 2005).

    Caption: Alogoskoufis addresses the IOBE-UNRIC event on Tuesday, April 11, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / A. Beltes

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] Papandreou slams 'uncaring' gov't policy for farmers

    Greece's main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday denounced the government's policy for farmers as "uncaring" while addressing his party's Parliamentary group, which convened to discuss farming issues and the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    Farmers knew they had been taken in by the government's pre-election promises, while the agriculture ministry was in disarray and unable to deal with the new CAP, Papandreou stressed.

    PASOK's leader also used the opportunity to invite those who voted for ruling New Democracy (ND) in the last elections to participate in a debate for drafting PASOK's electoral programme, while at the same time parrying criticism from government ministers by saying that their interest in PASOK's programme reflected their failure to execute their party's own programme.

    Referring to a visit by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Central Macedonia in northern Greece later this week, Papandreou predicted that the prime minister would once again confine himself to making pre-election promises to farmers, who were now having to cope with the insecurity, uncertainty and massive loss of income brought about by the government's policies.

    Production costs were rising out of control, farming pensions were mired, the gap between consumer and producer prices was widening and VAT, instead of being reduced as ND had promised, had actually increased, PASOK leader's said.

    He announced that the main opposition party intends to table a draft bill that will make the state cover the costs now paid by farmers to determine their rights, pointing out that farmers had so far paid 65 million to enrol in a farming register.

    He also presented the six main axes of PASOK's policy for agriculture and said that the party's full proposal will be presented at PASOK's national conference for the agricultural sector in June.

    Briefly, these will focus on achieving the following:

    - A shift to "quality farming" based on high-quality products with a distinct brands and identity and promotion of the Mediterranean diet;

    - Linking agriculture with high-quality services in health, education, culture and tourism;

    - Making agriculture an "entrepreneurial activity for the many" that benefited from developmental laws, policies for business incentives and employment programmes;

    - Investing in human resources through better education and life-long learning for farmers.

    - Land planning to determine uses of land and conditions for renting agricultural land to farmers on favourable terms;

    - Reducing production costs by lowering the cost of labour, cost of purchasing materials and supplies etc.

    Summarising his party's policy, Papandreou said the aim was to make farming a profession that was chosen rather than inherited.

    Criticising the government for wasting valuable time in the two years it had been in power, Papandreou stressed that farmers will be left behind and developments would overtake Greece if the same policies continued.

    He also stressed that people were disillusioned with the government and were now carefully following the things PASOK said as the potential future government:

    "The people reject the things that are now being done by the government, which is simply following PASOK, and this is a great victory for us," Papandreou concluded.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

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