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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis briefed on economy, new tax bill
  • [02] Sweeping changes to PASOK structure
  • [03] Turkish FM Gul's visit to be rescheduled

  • [01] PM Karamanlis briefed on economy, new tax bill

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Friday with national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis, who briefed him on the course of the economy and the new tax bill, which would be tabled later in the day in parliament.

    Alogoskoufis told reporters after the meeting that the bill contains substantial tax reliefs for all the Greeks.

    Regarding the economy, Alogoskoufis said that the developments were positive, stressing the 4.4 percent growth in Greece's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2006 against the corresponding period last year, adding that the reduction in the deficit was proceeding in accordance with the budget forecasts.

    Alogoskoufis further noted that unemployment was also declining, while the development of employment was within the margins of the forecasts.

    On inflation, the minister said it was being contained, assisted also by the containment of international oil prices.

    The country's national statistical service on Thursday announced that GDP had grown by 4.4 percent in the third quarter of the year over the same period of 2005, following growth rates of 4.1 percent in both the preceding quarters this year.

    The statistical service, in a report, said investments rose 7.6 pct in the July-September period from the corresponding period in 2005, adding 1.6 percentage points to an increase in final demand.

    Greek exports grew 7.4 pct in the third quarter, adding 1.1 percentage points to the increase of final demand. The value of exports totalled 7.898 billion euros.

    Imports rose by 5.8 pct to 11.273 billion euros. The statistical service said final consumption grew by 3.3 percent in the third quarter.

    [02] Sweeping changes to PASOK structure

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou has decided sweeping changes to the party's organisational structure, which are expected to be ratified on Friday at a meeting of the PASOK National Council.

    The decision was announced on Thursday evening during a short meeting of the party's Political Council, with Papandreou calling for the resignations of the Council's members to facilitate the election of a new Political Council by the National Council meeting on Friday, which Papandeou said will be a crucial first milestone in the new course for PASOK, with the second milestone being the party's Programming Conference, and the next general elections, whenever they are held, being the third.

    Changes will include the replacement of current party secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, who will be put in charge of organising the Programming Conference. Papandreou is slated to propose the election of party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis to replace Xenoyiannakopoulou as PASOK secretary, but it is not yet known who will be replacing Athanassakis.

    Papandreou will also be revamping the party's Coordinating Body, which will be renamed as the Parliamentary Council and will function under PASOK Parliamentary Greoup secretary Dimitris Reppas.

    Further, an informal body headed by Papandreou himself will also be established, which will meet weekly to deal with current political affairs and will comprise the National Council secretary, the party's Communications secretary, the Programme director, and the Parliamentary Group secretary, while a Programme Committee will also be set up, headed by MP Anna Diamantopoulou on condition that she is elected to the new Political Council on Friday.

    Addressing the Political Council on Thursday, Papandreou outlined the changes he intended to make to the party, and also reviewed the party's course from the 2004 general elections to the present, stressing that the two goals were to preserve PASOK's unity and to understand the reasons for such a serious defeat in those elections, which brought New Democracy to government.

    [03] Turkish FM Gul's visit to be rescheduled

    Turkey's foreign minister Abdullah Gul will not be visiting Athens on the proposed dates of December 7-8, and a later date for the visit will be determined through diplomatic channels, Greece's foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos announced on Friday in Amman, Jordan, where he is accompanying foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis for the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the "Forum for the Future" which opens on Friday.

    The Turkish side has responded that Mr. Gul's visit to Athens will not be able to take place on the December 7-8 date, and it was agreed that it will take place at a later date to be decided via diplomatic channels, Koumoutsakos said.

    The Gul visit had been originally set for December 7-8, while Bakoyannis personally discussed with her Turkish counterpart -- during a meeting on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Riga earlier in the week -- the possibility of a postponement of the visit if an urgent UN Security Council session tentatively called by the Qatari UNSC presidency for December 7 was finalised for that date.

    A Greek foreign ministry announcement on Thursday, however, said that Greece, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, was informed by the Qatari presidency that the urgent council session, at foreign ministers' level, which Bakoyannis will be attending, has been moved from Dec. 7 to Dec. 12 following a request by the UN Secretary General.

    Following that development, the Greek foreign ministry communicated with the Turkish foreign ministry to reiterate its proposal for Gul's visit to take place on the originally scheduled dates of December 7-8, the announcement said, adding Greece's "keen interest" in the visit.


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