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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] EasyCruise to build four new cruiseships in Greece
  • [02] Greek fiscal deficit at 3% of GDP, Commission
  • [03] Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Larijani in Athens

  • [01] EasyCruise to build four new cruiseships in Greece

    EasyCruise and Neorion Holdings on Monday announced the signing of a letter of intent for the building of four cruise vessels at Neorion Holdings' two shipyards in Elefsina and the island of Syros.

    EasyCruise said the cruiseships, with a capacity of 500 passengers each, would be used for sea cruises to the Greek islands.

    Stelios Hadjioannou, chairman of easyCruise, and I. Tavoularis, the chief executive in Neorion Holdings, met with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis to present their plan. Alogoskoufis reassured them over the Greek government's support for the project.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the minister said the projet underlined that economic environment in Greece was attractive for large investment plans. "The specific investment will strengthen tourism and the country's shipyards industry with additional positive impact on the Greek economy," he said.

    Under the plan, easyCruise's vessels will operate weekend and four-day sea cruises from the Faliro marina, in coastal southern Athens, to the Cyclades holiday islands Mykonos and Syros and Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Milos or Serifos, respectively.

    Caption: EasyCruise chairman Stelios Hadjioannou is shown posing in front of his company's first cruiseship, easyCruise One, during the launching of the firm in March 2005.

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

    [02] Greek fiscal deficit at 3% of GDP, Commission

    Greece's fiscal deficit will fall to 3.0 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, while economic growth will reach 3.5 pct this year, the European Commission said on Monday.

    In its spring economic forecasts report for the period 2006-2007, released in Brussels, the Commission said the country's public debt will reach 105 pct of GDP this year before falling to 102.1 pct in 2007. Greece's public debt was 81.5 pct in 1981-2001, 110.7 pct in 2002, 107.8 pct in 2003 and 108.5 pct in 2004. The EU's executive also forecast that Greek inflation would be stable at 3.3 pct in 2006 and 2007, while unemployment would fall gradually to 9.5 pct this year and to 9.1 pct in 2007.

    It is the first time since 2004 that the Commission forecasts a fiscal deficit within the limits set by the Maastricht Treaty. The Commission's forecast on Greek economic growth is higher from its fall economic report and the fourth highest in the Eurozone.

    The report said the country's fiscal deficit totalled 4.5 pct of GDP in 2005, up 0.75 pct from its fall predictions which included a provision for proceeds from securitization totalling 0.8 pct of GDP that never materialised.

    The Commission said government measures to expand the tax base and to combating tax evasion would result to an increase in budget revenues by 0.25 pct of GDP this year and stressed that its forecast for a fiscal deficit of 3.0 pct of GDP in 2006 included only half of temporary measures included in the country's budget. The report said public spending will fall by 0.75 pct of GDP and said the Greek structural deficit will drop by 1.0 percent of GDP this year.

    The Commission said it expected the fiscal deficit to rise to 3.6 pct of GDP in 2007 and said "structural measures will be needed to maintain a fiscal deficit below 3.0 pct".

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said next week that the Commission would review its forecasts right after it was briefed over a draft budget plan for 2007.

    The Commission said economic growth rates slowed slightly in 2005 to 3.6 pct, after a two-year period of strong growth, and acknowledged that despite a fiscal adjustment programme implemented by the government, economic growth was slightly better compared with the Commission's initial forecasts. The report said net exports contributed to economic growth, while private consumption fell and public consumption grew more than 3.0 percent in 2005.

    Greek exports grew 8.0 percent last year, contributing 1.0 percent to economic growth, the Commission said.

    The EU's executive said it expected Greek economic growth at 3.5 pct this year and 3.4 pct in 2007 and noted that rising oil prices would slowdown private consumption. The Commission also forecast high growth rates in net household borrowing, mostly mortgage, while public consumption to remain unchanged and private investments to rise in the two-year period.

    The Commission said that strong growth rates would raise employment by 1.0 percent annually in the 2006-07 period, while wages would also rise. The report, however, said that unchanged productivity would not lead to a significant reduction of labour cost per unit, which would continue growing above the EU average. The Commission said the inflation rate would remain above 3.25 pct in 2006 and 2007.

    ANA-MPA file photo of Alogoskoufis / M. Marogianni.

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

    [03] Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Larijani in Athens

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will meet with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, on Tuesday morning at the foreign ministry in Athens, according to a press release issued by the ministry a day earlier.

    The meeting will come in the wake of an utterly surprise development on Monday, as Tehran announced that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had conveyed a letter to US President George Bush proposing "new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world."

    Larijani, who is also the secretary of Iran's powerful Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), was in Ankara, Turkey on Monday.

    ANA-MPA file photo of Bakoyannis.

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

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