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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Enhanced role for private insurance sought, PM stresses; Finmin notes sector's growth
  • [02] Gov't on reported CIA flights through Greece
  • [03] Cooperation between Greek, Cypriot hoteliers

  • [01] Enhanced role for private insurance sought, PM stresses; Finmin notes sector's growth

    Enhancing the role of private insurance and its contribution toward instilling a sense of security among Greeks is an important goal for the government, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told insurers on Thursday.

    He was addressing the annual general assembly of the Association of Insurance Companies of Greece held at the Athens Concert Hall.

    The prime minister underlined the importance of increasing the public's trust in private insurance as an institution and said that the government's aim, in the dialogue that will soon begin on overhauling the state pension system, was to achieve a socially just reform in which private insurance would have a complementary role.

    Karamanlis also pointed to an increase in investments in the sector after several years of relative inactivity, saying that this indicated its potential.

    Among the government's targets in 2008, he listed gradually dispensing with a stamp duty for life insurance and further intensifying the work already underway to supervise the market and monitor its solvency.

    The premier stressed that supervision with strict criteria ensured that the public's trust in private insurance would not be compromised, announcing the hiring of staff for a committee to supervise private insurance. He further underlined the sector's contribution to the Greek economy, which included some 50,000 jobs and invested capital of 9.0 billion euros.

    "The government's aim is to establish Greece as a centre in Southeastern Europe and the insurance sector can play a significant role in achieving this target," Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said, in his own address to the meeting.

    The Greek minister noted that the insurance sector enjoyed higher growth rates, compared with economic growth rates, and stressed that the aim was that private insurance should become more accessible to citizens.

    Insurance firms increasingly offer more choices and services and the sector attracts large investments from abroad, Alogoskoufis said, adding that the government was determined to ensure the credibility of insurance companies while the insurance market was also supported with tax incentives.

    "We want to strengthen the market, but your efforts have more significance," the Greek minister said. He also referred to the achievements made by the Greek economy, saying it was undergoing a transformation to become more business-friendly, more competitive and more exporting.

    Economic growth is supported by the private sector and its investments, while foreign investors have begun investing in Greece again.

    Commenting on the economy, Alogoskoufis said that "a lot work still has to be done" and that there was no room for complacency or delays.

    [02] Gov't on reported CIA flights through Greece

    All movements of aircraft to and from Greece abided by the terms, regulations and conditions of international air travel, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said on Thursday in response to questions regarding flights by CIA-chartered planes making stopovers in Greece.

    The questions came in the wake of a European Parliament report on Wednesday asserting that several EU member-states had condoned CIA transfers of terror suspects to countries where they could face torture, known as "extraordinary renditions".

    Greece was among 14 EU states included in the report. The EU parliament on Wednesday voted to accept a resolution condemning member-states who accepted or ignored the practice. It is unlikely, the report said, that European governments were unaware of rendition activities on their territory.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Antonaros.

    [03] Cooperation between Greek, Cypriot hoteliers

    Joint action and cooperation on further utilising the strategic advantages that Greece and Cyprus have in the tourism sector, as well as resolving basic problems facing the tourist products of the two countries, were decided by the boards of the Hotels Chamber of Greece and the Cypriot Hoteliers Federation, in a joint meeting held in Cyprus attended by Cypriot Trade,Tourism and Industry Minister Antonis Michailides.

    It was an initiative by the board of the Hotels Chamber of Greece in the framework of a series of acts scheduled by the Chamber's board to boost the extroversion of the Greek hotel sector and, consequently, of Greek tourism.

    The representatives of the two agencies reached the conclusion that Greece and Cyprus are tourist destinations having considerable prospects, particular characteristics and competitive advantages.

    Caption: Cyprus' Trade,Tourism and Industry Minister Antonis Michailides (CNA/ANA-MPA file photo).

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