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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 <>


  • [01] Leftist opposition slams education draft law
  • [02] Greek pension funds' assets at 28.9 bln euros

  • [01] Leftist opposition slams education draft law

    Leftist opposition slams education draft law

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Alekos Alavanos was the first party leader on Tuesday to express opposition to the education ministry's unveiled draft bill on higher education reform, accusing the government of "operating under a syndrome of vengeance and defeat".

    He also called on the Karamanlis government "not to proceed with the tabling of the bill and to listen to the voice of reason".

    Alavanos said the government move was "lighting a new fire within universities" when these were on the verge of re-opening, after the momentum, as he said, of recent street protests by college students and academics opposed to a revision of Article 16 of the Constitution.

    Alavanos, who is also a vociferous opponent of revising Article 16 and of plans to allow non-state universities to be established in Greece, warned that the government would face strenuous opposition if it chose a "path of confrontation".

    "It will find it (opposition) everywhere; inside universities, in society and on the streets; the new framework law will have the same fate as Article 16," he said, in referring to main opposition PASOK party's decision earlier in the month to walk out of Parliament debate on constitutional revision.

    Caption: Synaspismos leader Alekos Alavanos. ANA-MPA photo.

    [02] Greek pension funds' assets at 28.9 bln euros

    Greek pension funds' assets totalled 28.9 billion euros at the end of 2005, of which 700 million euros (or 2.42 pct) corresponded to the value of real estate assets, Employment and Social Insurances Minister Savvas Tsitouridis said on Tuesday.

    The minister told reporters that the government's spending on social insurance would total 10.8 billion euros this year, up from 9.663 billion euros in 2006, an increase of 11.7 percent. Tsitouridis said spending accounted for 5.17 pct of the country's Gross Domestic Product this year, up from 4.96 percent in 2006. He also noted that the government's policy laid the foundations for a restructuring of social insurance funds, allowing the next government to implement all necessary reforms amid a transition period.

    Tsitouridis added, however, that ruling ND party does not seek to raise retirement ages, nor does it intend to raise social contributions or cut pensions. Tsitouridis also announced a series of legislative initiatives aimed to cut contribution evasion, restructure health care costs and to rein in spending by pension funds.

    Finally, he unveiled a new website ( that will list the assets of social insurance funds.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Tsitouridis.

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