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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-20

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Karamanlis: 'Education reforms backed by citizens'
  • [02] Greek economic sentiment index up in Jan.

  • [01] Karamanlis: 'Education reforms backed by citizens'

    The Inner Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, on Tuesday unveiled and simultaneously approved the education ministry's long-awaited draft bill for higher education reforms, which was submitted by Minister Marietta Yiannakou.

    In brief televised comments immediately afterwards, Karamanlis said the four primary changes envisioned in are the encouragement of universities' autonomy and independent management of their finances; promotion of their wider role in society; upgrading of degrees bestowed by Greek higher education institutions and, especially, the curtailment of political parties' influence in faculty senate elections by mandating a vote by all registered students.

    "There are no margins for deadlock and stagnation. Citizens, young people and their families want changes," he stressed, adding: "Now is the time for decisions. Mature reforms for a mature society. We have exhausted all margins for dialogue."

    In touching on the heated opposition to the prospects of such reforms, spearheaded primarily by the university professors' union (POSDEP) and the leftist opposition, Karamanlis noted that "certain minority opinions are reacting to change"

    "The goal is to upgrade state universities, for Greek degrees to become more prestigious and for degree-holders to find employment corresponding to their qualifications," the premier added.

    In terms of the contentious university asylum regime, Karamanlis said that not only was the asylum law "not being abolished, but instead it is being upgraded to safeguard the free exchange of ideas, something that is today being impeded by unrestrained violence."

    In addressing her counterparts at the Inner Cabinet meeting, Yiannakou outlined the draft bill's provisions.

    In terms of the Constitutional revision process and the government's stated intent to eventually revise Article XVI in order to allow the establishment and operation of recognised non-state universities in the country, Parliament is slated to hold its first vote on Thursday on which relevant articles will be eligible for revision by the Parliament plenum to arise from the next general elections, which will be a Revisionary Parliament.

    A second vote is scheduled to come at the end of March.

    Caption: ANA-MPA photo of Premier Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Greek economic sentiment index up in Jan.

    The economic sentiment index rose slightly to 107.6 points in January, up from 107.1 in December, recording the fifth biggest increase in the Eurozone, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) announced on Tuesday.

    IOBE said a steady improvement since mid-2005 has led the index to higher levels, surpassing the country's long-term average level.

    The report attributed the January improvement to an improvement in business climate, reflecting more positive forecasts for the current activity and more favourable prospects for the coming months. On the other hand, however, consumers were more pessimistic in January over their forecasts for the country's and their households' economic conditions.

    The business expectations index in manufacturing rose to 104.5 points in January, from 102 in December, significantly higher compared with 99.3 points in January 2006.

    The business expectations index in constructions rebounded after three months of declines to 106 points in January form 104.5 in December and 87.9 in January 2006.

    The business expectations index in the retail sector jumped to 127.2 in January from 120.9 in December.

    The business expectations index in the services sector rose to 111.4 points in January from 109.2 in December.

    The consumer confidence index fell to -31 in January from -28 in December.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo / A. Beltes.


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