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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Protocol for Pan-European Corridor X signed
  • [02] Gov't defends ferryboat fare deregulation

  • [01] Protocol for Pan-European Corridor X signed

    Transport ministers from the countries crossed by the planned Pan-European Corridor X on Friday signed a Protocol for cross-border cooperation that aims to speed up its completion, during a meeting held on the Ionian island of Corfu.

    The meeting was presided over by Greek Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis, while the signature of the protocol was an initiative by Greece, which for the last three years has held the presidency of the working group for cross-border transits.

    The agreement calls for simplified procedures during border inspections and adopting a uniform strategy/policy for the various forms of border control, reduction of waiting times and thus overall journey times along Corridor X, combatting corruption and the illegal movement of goods and persons, while it aims to attract as much passenger and freight traffic as possible on both the road and rail networks.

    Liapis welcomed the signature of the protocol and said that Corridor X would soon be operative and efficient and will increase passenger and goods traffic by both road and rail.

    According to Greece's Deputy Economy Minister Antonis Bezas, the Protocol signed on Friday would ensure security and discourage cross-border crime while at the same time satisfying transport needs for goods and people with speed, comfort and at reasonable cost.

    He said the first stage of the Protocol will be initially implemented by the customs authorities of each country, followed by work to simplify and harmonise procedures, streamline legislation, exchange information and create common standards, checking procedures etc at border crossings.

    The minister emphasised that a Working Group to coordinate the necessary action between the various states and services will now operate on a permanent basis.

    During his speech, Bezas underlined that developing successful transport networks did not depend exclusively on infrastructure but also on improving procedures for crossing country borders, removing obstacles, minimising delays and the transit costs for goods and passengers.

    Pan-European Corridor X will provide the main road and rail links running from Greece to central and northern Europe. Countries participating in the development of Corridor X - many of which are carrying out improvements to their road and rail infrastructure - include Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece. As Bezas pointed out, the Corridor's fourth branch in Greece will also link up to the Egnatia Highway and to the northwestern Greek port of Igoumenitsa.

    Apart from the transport ministers from the countries involved, participants in Friday's meeting included representatives of the European Union and other organisations, while the Protocol was signed for Greece by both Liapis and Bezas.

    [02] Gov't defends ferryboat fare deregulation

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Friday defended the government's deregulation of ferry and shipping fees in Parliament, while warning aspiring "shipping cartels" that those seeking to create a monopoly would pay heavy fines.

    Replying to questions from the main opposition PASOK deputies, Kefaloyiannis rejected the notion that the government had "beaten a hasty retreat in the face of shipowners' greed" or that it was jointly responsible for "an average rise in ticket prices by 15-20 percent".

    Kefaloyiannis countered by pointing to concomitant discounts of up to 50 percent on shipping lines in the north Aegean while he disputed the validity of a chart of ticket price increases submitted by PASOK MP Christos Protopappas.

    He also expressed the government's pleasure that prices increases were "restrained" at a time when oil prices had reached $70 a barrel.

    At the same time, he warned ferry owners that the government will quickly clamp down on attempts to impose uniform prices and cartel-type practices and that offenders would be referred to the Competition Commission and face penalties reaching up to 10 percent of their total turnover.

    Opposition MPs dismissed the government's warnings as empty threats, however, claiming that the fines were largely ignored and unenforced, especially by the larger shipowners.


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