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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK slams draft budget as 'classist'
  • [02] Cyprus DHKO leader meets Greek leadership
  • [03] Gov't: Demand for natgas to soar by 2010

  • [01] PASOK slams draft budget as 'classist'

    Main opposition PASOK on Wednesday slammed the draft budget for 2007 as both classist and impossible to execute. According to former minister Vasso Papandreou, who heads the main opposition party's economy and finance section, the budget was "up in the air" and "not worth the paper it was written on".

    She also claimed that it features reduced spending for wage-earners and pensioners, education and health, while benefiting the wealthy and powerful, thus "making clear New Democracy's classist policy".

    Despite a much-publicised alleged reduction in direct taxation, the actual budget figures for 2007 revealed plans to gouge wage-earners and pensioners for an additional 3.2 billion euros in taxes, she claimed.

    This included a 6.8% increase in direct taxes on individuals relative to 2006, or 620 million euros, compared with a mere 2.7% increase in taxation for legal entities such as companies, or 120 million euros, due chiefly to advance payment of taxes.

    She also stressed the sums raised through indirect taxes, such as VAT and special duties for alcohol, fuel, mobile phones and tobacco products.

    [02] Cyprus DHKO leader meets Greek leadership

    The new leader of Cyprus ruling Democratic Party (DHKO) Marios Karoyian held talks with Greece's state and political leadership during a lightning visit to Athens on Wednesday, before he returns to Cyprus on Thursday for local government elections taking place there.

    The round of meetings began with talks held with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, while he was later received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Papoulias congratulated Karoyian on his recent election as head of Diko and asked him to convey his regards to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas on his return to Cyprus.

    In his meeting with Bakoyannis, they discussed Turkey's European prospects, the Cyprus issue and the Finnish EU presidency's proposal for ending problems caused by Turkey's refusal to fully implement the EU-Turkey customs union protocol and open its ports and airports to Cyprus ships and planes.

    Karoyian said his talks with Bakoyannis had been "warm, friendly and substantive" and that the two sides shared "common assessments and objectives and common synergies in terms of carrying out the plans of the two governments [Greek and Cypriot]".

    In comments on the anniversary since the illegal Turkish occupation regime in northern Cyprus was first established, Karoyian said that his party condemned the "illegal formation in the occupied territories, which was an entity subject to Turkey" and noted that its existence was a "provocation for the international community".

    The new leader of the Diko party also met Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, who again expressed her congratulations on his election and her best wishes for his term as party leader.

    This was followed by a meeting with ruling New Democracy's Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis to discuss cooperation between the two parties and exchange views on the Cyprus issue and the European Commission's progress report on Turkey issued a week earlier.

    In a New Democracy party announcement after the meeting, Zagoritis stressed the party's support for Turkey's European orientation while noting that Turkey had an obligation to respect the values and principles of the European Union and to fully adopt and implement the criteria and terms it had been set for accession.

    After meeting main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, Karoyian said they had the same views and positions with regard to the Cyprus government's objectives and handling of issues and that Papandreou had undertaken to intensify general efforts to influence decision-making centres that also determine assessment of Turkey's accession course, so that Turkey would finally realise that it must behave like a modern, European country and be able to fulfill its obligations.

    Papandreou said they had discussed the EU progress report on Turkey, and stressed that Turkey had to comply with the terms and its obligations toward the EU, including EU member-state Cyprus.

    "This is necessary and I believe that there will be the required assessment of this course at the Summit meeting in December," Papandreou added.

    PASOK's leader also commented on the anniversary of the pseudo-state, recognised only by Turkey, stressing that the day was a reminder that the Cyprus problem was one of occupation and of occupation forces, which should not exist in Europe today.

    He called on Karoyian to "wage our battle together with the Cypriot people, with you, for a just solution to the Cyprus issue".

    Karoyian was elected as party leader on October 24 with the backing of the party's old guard, who had set up Diko three decades earlier. At 45, he became the third and youngest party leader from an extraordinary conference where he was challenged only by deputy leader Nicos Cleanthous. Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos had stepped down as party chief in August.

    Karoyian, an Armenian Cypriot who rose up the ranks of the party founded by the late Spyros Kyprianou, father of European Health and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, won by a surprisingly wide margin of 62.6 per cent of the party's voters over 37.4 per cent for Cleanthous.

    [03] Gov't: Demand for natgas to soar by 2010

    Athens on Wednesday hosted a meeting of transportation and distribution companies for Russian natural gas in the Balkans, bringing together representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, FYROM and Turkey.

    Nikos Stephanou, the development ministry's secretary-general, opened the sesssion by noting that the government's energy policy aimed to expand the natural gas grid around the county, while stressing that state-run DEPA SA has begun a series of projects to expand supply to western Greece, as well as to strengthen network safety and the reliability of the national grid.

    These projects include: interconnecting Greek-Turkish natural gas networks (DEPA is expected to complete its part of the project by April 2007); upgrading the Revithoussa off-shore terminal by June 2007; building a natural gas pipeline between the cities of Karditsa and Trikala (central Greece); building a pipeline to the power station at Aliveri (central Evia); building a pipeline to Corinth and later on to Megalopoli in order supply new power stations in the Peloponnese.

    The meeting aims to draft a specific timetable for the maintenance and development of sections of a natural gas Inter-Balkan system, running through participating countries, and to ensure the supply of natural gas in the region.

    Russian supplies account for around 80 percent of Greece's natural gas imports. Greek imports are expected to surpass 2.5 billion cubic metres this year, rising more in the future.

    Stephanou said demand for natural gas in Greece was expected to rise rapidly over the next few years, to more than 6.0 billion cubic metres by 2010 and to 7.5 billion in 2015. Greece's natural gas grid now covers 962 km of high-pressure pipelines.

    Caption: A picture taken March 28, 2002 shows a map issued by the Turkish energy and development ministry of a gas pipeline project linking Karacabey in Turkey with Komotini in Greece and then on to western Europe. ANA-MPA / EPA / T. Tinazay.

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