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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-13

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't says broadband expansion a priority in 2007
  • [02] Papandreou: Gov't lacks strategy in energy sector
  • [03] Cyprus applies to join Euro-zone on Jan. 1

  • [01] Gov't says broadband expansion a priority in 2007

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday chaired an Inner Cabinet meeting that focused on the country's digital and broadband strategy.

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, who earlier had a one-on-one meeting with Karamanlis, told reporters afterwards that major strides had been made in the country's digital strategy and in expanding the broadband network, the penetration of which was expected to jump to 7 percent by the end of 2007 from 0.1 percent in 2004.

    "Fast internet is important for both society and the economy," Alogoskoufis said, stressing that significant investments have been made in that sector.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, in turn, noted that the strategy for digital convergence with the rest of western Europe was proceeding according to plan, adding that two important programmes were being implemented by his ministry, in which 52,000 companies were already taking part.

    Sioufas further said a joint programme by the education, transport & communications and development ministries for fast and inexpensive Internet for university students was progressing at a rapid pace, with 29,800 applications having been submitted by the end of 2006, of which 17,700 accounts have been activated.

    The rate of submission of relevant applications by students has reached approximately 150 per day, Sioufas added, stressing the importance of speedy Internet for the knowledge society.

    Transport and Communications minister Mihalis Liapis stressed significant progress has been made in the sector, stressing that the gap that existed with other European countries needed to be bridged.

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that under the Information Society programme, commitments today reached 690 million euros, up from 1.2 million euros when the present government took over from its predecessor, adding that not a single euro will be lost out of the 904 million earmarked for Greece under the EU's 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF).

    Electronic governance was also important for combating bureaucracy and for transparency in public administration, Pavlopoulos continued, while at the same time the citizens will be able to carry out transactions with public services online.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PM Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Papandreou: Gov't lacks strategy in energy sector

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday accused the government of lacking a strategy in the energy sector and of downgrading the Public Power Corp. (PPC), as well as of failing to serve the public interests, comments he made during a meeting of his party's parliamentary council.

    "The government has heavy responsibilities for its energy policy, but also for PPC, which it is downgrading through a lack of planning but also through criminal delays and omissions," Papandreou said, noting that a small portion of that problem lies in the repeated changes in the PPC's top management spots.

    Accusing the government of serving "various interests" rather than the public good, Papandreou said that for PASOK the PPC was a public corporation "with a strategic role in Greece and the Balkans".

    Papandreou further referred to the relationship between energy policy and the country's national security, citing what he called a lack of strategy for renewable energy sources and a lack of environmental sensitivity. He added that he himself had, in 1986, broached the issue of using renewable energy sources, while noting that Greece, with its abundance of sunny days, should have been a pioneer in this sector.

    Papandreou said that as president of Socialist International (SI) he had undertaken initiatives internationally for tackling the "greenhouse effect" and recently, in fact, had sent letters to US President George W. Bush, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the issue.

    Before the meeting, Papandreou had a brief discussion with party MP and former minister Theodoros Pangalos, days after the latter outlined his positions for revising the controversial university asylum regime and for police patrols on campuses.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    [03] Cyprus applies to join Euro-zone on Jan. 1

    The Republic of Cyprus on Tuesday submitted an application to the European Union to join the eurozone on Jan. 1, 2008.

    The application, signed by Finance Minister Mihalis Sarris and the governor of Cyprus' central bank, Christodoulos Christodoulou, was submitted to European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia and the European Central Bank.

    Copies were also sent to the German finance minister, as Berlin's holds the current EU presidency, and the prime minister and finance minister of the Eurogroup presidency, Luxembourg.

    Sarris expressed confidence that the application would be granted, stressing that Cyprus is absolutely ready and fulfils criteria for joining the eurozone in 2008.

    Caption: The hand of European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet is shown during a press conference in Frankfurt, dated Thursday, 04 May 2006. ANA-MPA / EPA / Arne Dedert


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