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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM stresses policy for public sector reforms
  • [02] 51st Eurovision song contest semi-finals held in Athens
  • [03] Orfanos receives French Ambassador Delaye

  • [01] PM stresses policy for public sector reforms

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday reiterated his government's volition to implement reforms and restructuring of Greece's often cavernous public administration, one of ruling New Democracy (ND) primary pre-election campaign planks. "Reforms launched since the first day ND came to power will continue firmly and with more rapid and decisive steps in order to make the re-establishment of the state and public administration deeper; to promote decentralisation and to further strengthen local government," the premier stressed in a brief message to delegates at a conference on local government held at the Delphi archaeological site in south-central Greece.

    The conference is co-organised by former PASOK minister Gerassimos Arsenis' Institute for Research and Strategic Policy, the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), the Local Government Institute and the European Cultural Centre of Delphi.

    Karamanlis pointed out that reforms are necessary given the growing international trend for change and reforms, whereas the focus now revolves around the citizen and his active participation in decision making.

    In a direct reference and criticism of the preceding PASOK government's funding of local governments, he said municipalities and communities have now been relieved of excessive borrowing, while prefectural governments enjoy stable funding -- three times higher compared to 2004, he said.

    (Caption: PM Karamanlis. ANA-MPA photo / V. Vardoulakis)

    [02] 51st Eurovision song contest semi-finals held in Athens

    First-time contestant Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, FYROM, Ireland, Lithuania, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine are the 10 countries that qualified in the early hours of Friday for the 51st Eurovision song contest Final on Saturday night, following viewer voting late Thursday among the 23 contestants at the spectacular semi-final held in the indoor basketball venue at Athens' OAKA main Olympic complex.

    The 23 countries taking part in Thursday night's semi-final were: Armenia (which is taking part for the first time in the history of the competition), Bulgaria, Slovenia, Andora, Belarus, Albania, Belgium, Ireland, Cyprus, Monaco, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Finland, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Portugal, Sweden, Estonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland.

    The ten best semi-finalists elected late Thursday night will now compete in Saturday's final with the 14 top songs of last year's Eurovision song contest: Switzerland, Moldova, Israel, Latvia, Norway, Malta, Denmark, Romania, Croatia (which was the first runner up and took the slot following the withdrawal of Serbia-Montenegro), the four major countries which traditionally participate in the competition -- Spain, Germany, France and the United Kingdom -- and 2006 host country Greece, which won the Eurovision song contest in 2005 with "My Number One" performed by Elena Paparizou.

    Thursday night's qualifiers were Armenia, with "Without your Love" performed by Andre; Bosnia-Herzegovina, with "Lejla" performed by Hari Mata Hari and his band; Finland, with "Hard Rock Hallelujah" performed by the heavy metal band Lordi; FYROM, with "Ninanajna" performed by Elena Rusteska; Ireland, with the ballad "Every song is a cry for love" performed by Brian Kennedy; Lithuania, with "We are the Winners (of Eurovision)" performed by LT United; Russia, with "Never let you go" performed by Dima; Sweden, with "Invicible" performed by Carola; Turkey, with "Superstar" performed by Sibel Tuzun; and Ukraine, with "Show me your Love" performed by Tina Karol.

    The event was hosted by Greece's Eurovision 2004 third-place winner and pop heartthrob Sakis Rouvas ("Shake It") and Greek-American model, reporter and actress Maria Menounos, who will also host the Final on Saturday night.

    (ANA-MPA photo/Orestis Panagiotou)

    [03] Orfanos receives French Ambassador Delaye

    Deputy Culture Minister responsible for sport George Orfanos received French Ambassador to Athens Bruno Delaye on Friday for talks on cooperation between the two countries, in the framework of Francophony, in the sector of sport and the promotion of programme exchanges for young people.

    Speaking after the meeting, Orfanos said "our meeting today comes to confirm that Greece and France share the desire for the development of youth exchanges, not only of a cultural character but in the framework of sports practice and recreation."

    He added that "relations of friendship between Greece and France are being confirmed in all international institutions and meetings. They are moving in the direction of a common cultural orbit with our initiatives for the future of our children."

    The French ambassador referred to the youth exchange plan between the two countries, saying that "in June France will welcome 200 young Greeks and Greece an equal number of French aged between 11-14. Our target, until next summer, is for the number of children to reach 1,000 from each country."

    (ANA-MPA photo of French Ambassador to Athens Bruno Delaye)

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