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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM, environment ministry leadership outline priorities
  • [02] Yushchenko pilgrimage to Mount Athos
  • [03] Unemployment rate down to 8.1% in Q2, yr/yr
  • [04] 'Car Free' Day in Athens on Sat.

  • [01] PM, environment ministry leadership outline priorities

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday met the minister and deputy ministers of the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry to discuss the top priorities in these areas in the next four years.

    In statements after their meeting, Minister George Souflias stressed that public works would figure prominently in the ministry's activities, with a massive -- by Greek standards -- programme due to begin in the autumn, which he said would "turn Greece into a large construction site".

    According to Souflias, works worth an estimated 17.5 billion euros had been awarded through tenders in the past 3.5 years, more than in the past two decades, while studies for works to be included in the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) had begun in 2005.

    The minister also pointed out that 4.5 billion euros were available under the 4th CSF for environmental projects, the same amount as for infrastructure projects, and stressed that this had not been the case in the past when the budget was biased in favour of public works. Included in this sum was 180 million euros for protected areas.

    Other priorities listed by the minister were completing the legislative framework for spatial planning for the entire country and ensuring that the land register covered 2/3 of the Greek population by 2010.

    On environmental issues, he pointed out that the government had increased rates of recycling to 22 percent from 6 percent when it took over and had introduced measures to combat climate change and waste water treatment.

    Another priority was to begin the construction a metropolitan park at the Helliniko site in coastal Athens, he added.

    Souflias repeated that the ministry was determined not to allow development that was not allowed in NATURA areas to be carried out on burnt land at the Kaiafa site in the Peloponnese, donated to the fire-ravaged municipality of Zaharo.

    He repeated his objections to the creation of a separate environment ministry at the present phase, noting that the environment was better served when the ministry was combined with that for public works, while noting that the same issue could be raised again in three years time when the works under the 3rd CSF were finished and those under the 4th CSF were beginning.

    Caption: An external view of the Maximos Mansion, the premier's official office, in Athens. ANA-MPA file photo

    [02] Yushchenko pilgrimage to Mount Athos

    [03] Unemployment rate down to 8.1% in Q2, yr/yr

    The unemployment rate in Greece fell to 8.1 percent of the workforce in the second quarter of 2007, down from 8.8 percent in the corresponding period last year, the lowest rate since 1998, the National Statistical Service (NSS) announced on Friday.

    Unemployment among women remained more than double (12.6 percent) the figure for men (5.0 pct), while unemployment among young people aged 15-29 reached 17.8 percent. The statistical service said that out of a total of 398,006 unemployed people in the country, 38.5 percent are seeking full-time jobs and 50 percent are seeking full-time jobs but were willing to accept part-time jobs as well.

    First-time unemployed individuals accounted for 35.2 percent of total unemployment, with long-term unemployed people (those seeking jobs for more than 12 months) accounted for 55.2 percent of the total unemployment figure.

    Unemployment among foreign nationals was almost equal with the national average (8.0 pct and 8.1 pct, respectively).

    NSS said the Western Macedonia region (11.6 pct) and Epirus (10.1 pct) recorded the highest unemployment rates in the second quarter of 2007, while Crete (4.2 pct), the South Aegean and Thessaly (with 7.2 pct each) recorded the lowest rates.

    The number of employed people in Greece totalled 4,519,853 in the second quarter of the year, with 95,624 people entering the job market in the same period. The primary sector recorded a 2.6-percent decline in employment compared with the second quarter last year, although the secondary and third sectors recorded increases of 3.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. The services (8.0 pct), healthcare (5.8 pct) and hotel-hospitality (5.6 percent) sectors recorded the highest employment growth rates.

    Part-time employment accounted for only 5.8 pct of total employment in the country, while wage earners accounted for 64.1 percent of total employment, down from an 80 percent average in the EU.

    ANA-MPA file photo of the port of Piraeus.

    [04] 'Car Free' Day in Athens on Sat.

    Athens will observe the "European Car-Free" day on Saturday, which means that people wanting to go to the city's centre will have to do so without their vehicles.

    On the other hand, all public transport will be free of charge throughout the day as part of Greece's participation in European Mobility Week, by order of new Transport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis.

    The aim is to improve the public's attitudes and behaviour in terms of their daily travel needs and cut down traffic congestion by promoting the use of public transport.

    The City of Athens, for the first time, and in cooperation with the ministry of transport, the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and the municipality's Road Safety Organisation, invites all Athens residents to participate in a series of events at Kotzia Square on Saturday to mark the culmination of European Mobility Week 2007, which is marked by events in 1,300 European cities.

    Caption: A file photo, dated Monday, June 20, 2007, shows holiday traffic on the Athens-Lamia highway. ANA-MPA / P. SAITAS.

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