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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis in Zagreb for 10th SEECP summit
  • [02] Greek fiscal deficit cut 'credible, sustainable'
  • [03] Gov't on issue of legal migrants' vote in local polls

  • [01] PM Karamanlis in Zagreb for 10th SEECP summit

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday will attend the 10th summit of the South-East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) member-states in Zagreb, Croatia.

    A day earlier, Karamanlis spoke by phone with Serbian political leadership, expressing the European Union's interest for a normalistion of the political situation in the country, as a the formation of a government in Belgrade is pending.

    In the evening, the Greek prime minister attended an official dinner hosted by Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader in honour of SEECP leaders.

    On Friday, apart from his participation at the official sessions of the summit, Karamanlis will have meetings with Montenegro Prime Minister Zeljko Sturanovic and Bosnia-Herzegovina Prime Minister Nikola Piric.

    The summit's sessions are being observed by US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and by European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.

    Karamanlis is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, who on Thursday told an Austrian television channel that Greece supports the European prospects of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), although Skopje's leadership must become fully realise that its position should not be anti-productive for Greece.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (L) is greeted by his Croatian counterpart Ivo Sanader during their last meeting in Zagreb on Monday, Jan. 15, 2007. ANA-MPA / P. SAITAS.

    [02] Greek fiscal deficit cut 'credible, sustainable'

    Greece's fiscal deficit fell below the 3.0 pct of GDP limit "in a credible and sustainable way", the European Commission said in its recommendation proposal to ECOFIN to end an excessive fiscal deficit procedure against the country.

    The European Commission's agencies completed drafting of a recommendation proposal, which is expected to be adopted by the Community's executive arm in May 16 after a recommendation by EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

    The recommendation proposal asks the Council to annul its previous decision over an excessive fiscal deficit in Greece, after it concluded that the country's budget deficit fell to 7.9 pct of GDP in 2004 to 2.6 pct of GDP in 2006, mainly through measures of permanent nature and some temporary nature measures accounting for 0.6 pct of GDP. The Commission estimates that the deficit would fall by 0.25 pct of GDP this to 2.4 pct, while it underlined the need for alertness to maintain fiscal discipline in the future and stressed its preference to permanent nature measures in fiscal consolidation efforts.

    Referring to the country's public debt, the Commission said it was adequately reduced from 108.5 pct of GDP in 2004 to 104.5 pct in 2006 and was expected to fall to 97.5 pct in 2008.

    The EU's executive said that Greek statistics agency improved procedures of collecting and processing of statistical data, reducing statistical divergence and improving the quality of statistical figures and noted that following this development Eurostat withdrew all of its reservations over the quality of Greek statistical data.

    The Commission said its economic forecasts were based on existing financial figures and not on revised GDP figures submitted by Greek authorities, figures that revised upwards by 26 percent the country's GDP. It said that Eurostat was currently examining the revised figures and its recommendations were expected during the year.

    The Commission said that if Eurostat fully verified Greece's revised GDP figures, the country's fiscal deficit would fall below 2.0 pct of GDP.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of FinMin Alogoskoufis.

    [03] Gov't on issue of legal migrants' vote in local polls

    Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the European Union interior ministers' meeting in Potsdam on Thursday, said there is no constitutional obstacle for the right to vote in local municipal election level to be given to legal and long-time immigrants.

    "In the framework of our policy, those enjoying the status of long-time residents ... will have the right to participate in municipal and prefectural elections. What is not anticipated by the Constitution is participation in national elections because, as it's well known, only Greek citizens can participate in national elections," he said.

    Asked to comment on the bill giving overseas Greeks the right to vote, Pavlopoulos said he has sent it to the opposition parties for consultations, while he expressed a conviction that it will be tabled in Parliament and will be ratified before the end of the present government's tenure.

    The minister also called on the opposition, particularly the main opposition PASOK party, to agree to help get the law to be ratified, since a two-thirds majority is required in order for it to become valid in general.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Pavlopoulos.

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