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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis to meet with French President on sidelines of NATO Summit
  • [02] FinMin Alogoskoufis in Brussels
  • [03] President Papoulias ends visit to Oman and UAE

  • [01] PM Karamanlis to meet with French President on sidelines of NATO Summit

    Greece's Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will meet Wednesday afternoon with French President Jacques Chirac in Riga, Latvia, it was announced on Tuesday. Karamanlis, who arrived in the Latvian capital on Tuesday evening to attend the NATO summit meeting, will meet with Chirac at 4:00 p.m. (Greek time). Heads of state and government from the 26 NATO member countries are meeting in Riga on November 28-29 to discuss the Alliance's operations, transformations and partnerships. NATO's engagement in Afghanistan, as well as its missions and operations in Darfur, Iraq, Kosovo and the Mediterranean are on the agenda for discussion.

    The leaders will also focus on the upgrading of NATO's military capabilities aimed at meeting the challenges of today's versatile security environment, with discussions covering key elements of the transformation process such as strategic transport, the NATO Response Force, missile defence and other initiatives considered vital to adapting NATO's military capabilities to new security threats, according to Alliance officials.

    Broadening and strengthening partnerships will also be at the top of the summit agenda, with the leaders expected to reconfirm NATO's open door policy and underscore their intention to deepen the Alliance's relations with non-NATO countries building on the existing partnerships and through new programmes.

    Caption: Greece's Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (L) with French President Jacques Chirac during the premier's official visit to France in September 2005. (ANA-MPA/A. Goulielmos)

    [02] FinMin Alogoskoufis in Brussels

    European Union finance ministers examined the course of the European economy and the continuous strengthening of the euro's parity against the dollar in Brussels on Tuesday. The Council sided with the European Commission's recent assessments on the need for the speedier promotion of structural changes and the better coordination of fiscal policies in the EU's 25 member-states.

    As regards the Greek economy, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis noted that the Council recognises the fact that the country's fiscal deficit is decreasing at an impressive rate, without this taking place at the expense of growth rates, competitiveness and employment.

    Alogoskoufis also said that on the question of fiscal restructuring Greece is "halfway" and the course towards balanced or even surplus budgets will be continuing in the years to come, but with milder balancing measures than those required so far.

    "We are on a good course. Results exist regarding the backing of the financially weaker groups of the population, such as with the initiatives we are undertaking for low pensions, while tax reform is also important to boost average incomes and the economy in general," the minister said.

    Alogoskoufis further stressed that "the effort must be continued in the coming years to enable us to complete fiscal adjustment, primarily in the sector of expenditures, and, even more so, in the sector of tackling tax evasion."

    Referring to the assessment made by Commissioner Joaquin Almunia on Monday that in the spring of 2007 he will probably be proposing the discontinuation of the excessive deficit process to which Greece has been subjected, Alogoskoufis said that "this is also our view."

    Lastly, on the question of the euro's parity against the dollar, the finance minister said that "nobody likes sudden changes in parities", adding that for the time being the increase in the euro against the dollar is not a factor of particular concern for the Greek economy and mainly for the country's tourist industry.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis)

    [03] President Papoulias ends visit to Oman and UAE

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias ended his visit to Oman and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday with his arrival in Dubai, where he held official talks on bilateral and international issues with the Emirate's leader and hailed a business forum of Greek and Arab businessmen, in the framework of which a memorandum of cooperation between the Athens and Dubai Chambers of Commerce was signed.

    Apart from the political aspect of the presidential visit to countries in the Arab peninsula (a region having a special geopolitical significance), meaning warming up political relations between Greece and these countries once again, President Papoulias placed particular importance on the further widening of the fiscal and commercial aspect of Greek-Arab relations.

    President Papoulias said in a statement that Greece "always maintains" close and cordial relations with the Arab world, relations that are historic, cultural and, of course, economic and commercial.

    He further said that his presence in the region wishes to underline the cordiality of these relations and pointed out that "extensive ground exists for their further development."

    The President also said that "through business activity we wish to send a strong message of stability, peace, solidarity, cooperation and qualitative development to the international community so that the wider region can emerge as a region of prosperity and progress."

    President Papoulias stressed to the Arab side that for Greece the strengthening of Greek-Arab relations is a "strategic option" and called for investments in Greece.

    The President of the Republic will be returning to Athens on Wednesday afternoon.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias)

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