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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis confers with FinMin, immediate priorities set out
  • [02] Incident outside PASOK HQ condemned

  • [01] PM Karamanlis confers with FinMin, immediate priorities set out

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday morning met with Economy and Finance minister George Alogoskoufis, followed by meetings with deputy ministers Antonis Bezas and newcomber Nikos Legas.

    Alogoskoufis told reporters afterwards that the newly re-elected government's immediate priority was the drafting of the 2008 budget's preliminary outline, on which he said substantial preparation has already been made.

    The goal, he said, was continuation of the successfal fiscal adjustment of the past three-and-a-half years (during the New Democracy government's first term in office) so as to achieve a balancing of the budget by 2010, noting that this was an obligation that all the euro-zone members have.

    The second target, Alogoskoufis continued, was the utilisation of the EU's Community Support Framework (CSF), on which substantial progress has also been made, adding that the progress would continue under the new Deputy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou.

    He said another immediate target was to pass a tabled bill on utilisation of the fourth CSF, based on the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) covering the period 2007-2013.

    "It is a major developmental opportunity for the country, up to 2013, for the development of the broadband and digital services infrastructures, but also for the training of the relevant personnel, which is a condition for development in the coming years," Alogoskoufis said.

    The minister further stressed that the first bill that will be re-tabled in parliament will be the draft law on combatting tax evasion, adding as well that the government's announcement on abolitin of the inheritance tax and all taxes on the 'first home' will also be immediately materialised.

    Replying to questions, Alogoskoufis said announced measures concerning three-children families and military officers' salary scale will be immediately implemented as of Jan. 1, 2008.

    [02] Incident outside PASOK HQ condemned

    An incident outside main opposition PASOK's headquarters in downtown Athens momentarily increased the political thermometer in the nascent contest for the party's helm, when an onlooker threw a cup of coffee on the back of leadership candidate Evangelos Venizelos as the latter entered the building.

    A brief commotion followed, all caught live by a half dozen television stations broadcasting from the site.

    The man, who was later identified, appeared in his late '50s to early '60s and used a walking stick. He was later driven away in a police vehicle.

    An indignant Venizelos immediately charged an "effort by some to return to bullying and the Dark Ages; we must safeguard the morals of the democratic bloc (i.e. PASOK) and our political culture".

    He also referred to "directed actions".

    Afterwards, PASOK spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis exited the building and issued a statement sharply condemning the incident, saying it is not only directed against Mr. Venizelos, but against all of PASOK. The party also stressed that the man involved in the incident is neither a member or a registered supporter of PASOK.

    In a later development, PASOK general director Rovertos Spyropoulos has filed a lawsuit against the man who threw a plastic cup of coffee at Venizelos.

    The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the political party no less, charges that the assault was intended to "downgrade and defame" the party's presidency and political council, a member of which is Venizelos, with the obvious purpose to damage PASOK's reputation.

    PASOK leader George Papandreou also referred to the incident during the political council meeting on Thursday afternoon, sharply condemning it.

    The suspect -- identified as one Dimitrios Rellos, a resident of the Athens district of Galatsi -- has reportedly been arrested in the past for targetting other political figures in a similar fashion, including former president Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Caption: An external view of main opposition PASOK party's headquarters in downtown Athens on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007. ANA-MPA / KATERINA MAVRONA.

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