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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs meeting on education, culture - More operational funds for education sector
  • [02] Euromoney conference on Greece as business gateway
  • [03] Greece on right track in new technologies

  • [01] PM chairs meeting on education, culture - More operational funds for education sector

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the government's Committee on Education and Culture, with the participation of education minister Marietta Yannakou, culture minister George Voulgarakis, and the two ministries' general secretaries.

    Earlier, Karamanlis conferred with defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis.

    The education and religious affairs ministry has announced that the national economy and finance ministry has earmarked an additional 50 million euros in credits from the 2006 State Budget in order to cover operational expenses in all levels of education.

    Of this sum, approximately 23 million euros are earmarked for primary and secondary education, 25 million euros for universities and technical higher education institutions, while the remaining 2 million euros are earmarked for scholarships by the State Scholarship Foundation (IKY).

    [02] Euromoney conference on Greece as business gateway

    National economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis will outline the specific provisions and manner of operation of the National Strategic Reference Framework for the Fourth Community Support Framework (CSF) at a press conference on Wednesday.

    Earlier, Alogoskoufis addressed the opening session of a two-day Euromoney conference in Athens titled "Greece 2006: A Gateway for Business", taking place at the Grande Bretagne Hotel.

    This year, Euromoneyās Greece conference will be dedicated to highlighting Greeceās increasingly pivotal role as a forum for inward and outward investment. Greece 2006: A Gateway for Business will cover the overall economic role of Greece in the world. It will explore aspects of the Greek economy and recent changes in the Greek financial profile.

    These will include discussions on Greeceās fast changing stock market, the successes and failures in upgrading Greeceās infrastructure, Greeceās evolving investment universe and banking sector, and the more traditional realms of shipping and real estate, as well as exploring how to view Greece as an investment destination.

    In November 2003, Euromoney ran its first investment and capital markets conference in Greece for many years. The event was a resounding success, with a prestigious roster of international speakers, lead sponsors, and over 600 high level delegates from 23 countries. In 2004, Euromoney followed up this success with a conference in Athens focusing on Post-Olympic Greece.

    Last year, the conference concentrated on the efforts to make the Greek economy more competitive, following Prime Minister Costas Karamanlisā declaration of 2005 as the Year of Competitiveness. The 2005 event included speeches by miniser Alogoskoufis, Ruairi Quinn, Former Minister for Finance and Chairperson for the European Movement Ireland, Republic of Ireland, and Loukas Tsoukalis, President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and Special Adviser to the President of the European Commission.

    [03] Greece on right track in new technologies

    Greece was moving in the right direction with respect to new technologies, but it needed to make leaps, however, in order not to miss the train of digital development, according to speakers at the Economist Conferences' Fourth E-Government Forum taking place at a central Athens hotel titled "Digital Greece: Setting technology in its right dimension".

    Addressing the event, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding,spoke of the situation in the digital technology sector both in Greece and throughout Europe.

    She said that only 50 percent of the EU's productivity profits emanated from new technologies, compared with 80 percent in the US.

    Reding stressed that Europe must move faster in order to bridge the difference with the US while, regarding the further spread of broadband networks, she said a new regulatory framework was necessary that would help in opening up the markets.

    On broadband networks in Greece, the Commissioner said the statistics were discouraging, given that only 12 percent of the population had access to broadband networks, whereas the average in the EU-15 (the EU member states before the recent enlargement) was 90 percent.

    In July 2006, she said, penetration of broadband networks by Greeks was 2.7 percent, compared to an EU average of 15 percent, with the member states with the highest penetration reaching up to 30 percent.

    She urged action on the part of the government for the growth of broadband networks in Greece, adding that the EU would help in that direction.

    Reding noted however that Greece, although with a delay, was moving in the right direction, as the government and prime minister Costas Karamanlis understood the need for speedy development of new technologies.

    Addressing the same conference, interior, public administration and decentralisation minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed that the government was advancing a qualitative upgrading of the state by way of transforming the citizen-state relations so that the citizens may play an active role and have the ability to echck the legality and transparency of the state apparatus.

    To achieve this, the national system of authentication was being developed in three areas: the link-up network (Syzefxis programme), the Hermes central e-portal, and the management of the public sector digital certification.

    To materialise the above, the proper personnel was required, the minister said, and for this reason the training of existing public administration personnel in new technologies was progressing.

    Main opposition PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou said that the issue of Information Society was, for Greece, a matter of survival. She said the new technologies preparedness index in Greece had declined in the past two years, noting that this was so not because Greece was moving slowly, but because the other Eu countries were moving more quickly.

    She stressed the need for Greece to adopt a new developmental target that would enable the country to make the digital leap that would bring it among the top positions in the list of technologically developing countries.

    The Forum is organsised under the auspices of the Special Secretariat for the Information Society (Hellenic Ministry of Economy and Finance, the General Secretariat for Information Systems (Hellenic Ministry of Economy and Finance) and the Hellenic Ministry of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation.

    According to the organisers, the scope of the meeting is to see how we can set technology in its right dimension and move towards a more service-centered & citizen friendly state.

    Furthermore, the participants will brainstorm and evaluate the prospects and challenges for Europe with emphasis on i2010, whereby the European Commission will be called upon to give its action plan and how technology can move higher up in the political agenda.

    The aim is to show the necessity of information technology for the coherence of citizens and business and also the way that technology can bring tangible results to productivity from the governmentās point of view, the providersā and the usersā, according to the organisers.

    Caption: European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding addressing the Economist Conferences' Fourth E-Government Forum taking place at a central Athens hotel titled "Digital Greece: Setting technology in its right dimension". (ANA-MPA/M. Kiaou)

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