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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM meets with health, farm ministries' leadership
  • [02] Greek, Turkish FMs meet in New York
  • [03] PPC fined one million euros for excessive emissions
  • [04] Greek budget deficit up 30.1% in Jan.-July

  • [01] PM meets with health, farm ministries' leadership

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday morning conferred with Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, followed by a meeting with Deputy Health Ministers George Constantopoulos and George Papageorgiou. Commenting after the meeting, the health minister said substantial work has been accomplished so far in the sector, adding that efforts will continue for even better results in the months to come. The draft law on primary healthcare will be tabled in Parliament next month, while a major reform of procurements process will be completed in the coming period, allowing for savings, infrastructure improvement and the creation of a new updated national healthcare network, he stressed. The sector of health is among the main priorities of the re-elected government, Avramopoulos underlined, adding that the objective set is to create conditions for the restructuring of the two-decades-old National Health System (ESY), with higher standards and one able to meet the current society's needs.

    Afterwards, Karamanlis met with new Agricultural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos and new Deputy Minister Costas Kiltidis. Kontos told reporters afterwards that he briefed the premier on the ministry's programme for the first 100 days in office, noting that the priority was the plan for the restoration of the recently fire-stricken regions. He also said they also discussed issues concerning the ministry's affiliated entities and organisations, aimed at increasing exports, strengthenng and reinforcing the competitiveness of the Greek farm production, and, by extension, boosting the incomes of Greek farmers

    Asked about a long-discussed plan to diversify cash crop cultivations, Kontos said the goal was the qualitative upgrading of traditional farm products, as well as supporting "alternative farming", which he explained referred to products produced on a small scale in many parts of the country by groups of young farmers.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) surveys the damage done by recent wildfires in the Ancient Olympia region, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007. ANA-MPA/G. ANTONIOU.

    [02] Greek, Turkish FMs meet in New York

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan on Sunday declared their volition to further boost Greek-Turkish relations, during talks here ahead of a UN General Assembly this week.

    According to press reports, the good climate in bilateral talks was ascertained by Bakoyannis' invitation to Babacan to visit Athens, as well as an invitation conveyed by Babacan towards Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for an official visit to Turkey.

    "We are neighbors and we believe that we must work as closely as possible to strengthen our relations, where we have already achieved tangible results," Bakoyannis said after the meeting.

    Caption: Bakoyannis (R) meets with Babacan at the UN building in New York on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2007. ANA-MPA / DIMITRIS PANAGOS.

    [03] PPC fined one million euros for excessive emissions

    The state-run Public Power Corp. (PPC) was fined one million euros for exceeding atmospheric pollutants emission limits, the Greek environment, town planning and public works ministry announced on Monday. The fine was imposed following environmental inspections at several power plants operated by PPC throughout the country.

    "Climate change is a major global problem. Greece must observe the obligations it has undertaken under the Kyoto Protocol," said Environment Minister George Souflias regarding the decision.

    Pointing out that the PPC accounted for 40 percent of carbon emissions in Greece, while also making a significant contribution to overall atmospheric pollution, Souflias said he had ordered environmental inspectors to carry out in-depth checks at all PPC facilities in the country.

    The fines announced on Monday were based on the findings of these inspections, the minister added.

    In a breakdown of the fines imposed, Souflias said power plants at Megalopoli, in the central Peloponnese, had been fined 400,000 euros for greatly exceeding hourly and daily limits for sulphur dioxide gas emissions considered safe for public health, while sulphur scrubbers at one Megalopoli plant had not operated for 31.1 per cent of the hours the plant was in operation in 2006, so it greatly exceeded sulphur dioxide emission limits.

    The plant had also failed to monitor levels of sulphur dioxide, dust, nitrogen oxides and percentage oxygen at several of its units.

    Fines totaling 600,000 euros were also imposed on power stations at Kardia, Ptolemaida and Aghios Dimitrios, all in Kozani prefecture of north-central Greece, because their dust emissions had exceeded daily limits for public health.

    Souflias underlined that the ministry was determined to strictly enforce regulations for the operation of PPC power plants, adding that he had ordered environmental inspectors to continue their inspections of all PPC power plants, while evidence of transgressions would be immediately sent to prosecutors.

    Caption: A view of a power station in Kozani, northern Greece, in a file photo dated Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005. ANA-MPA / CHRISTOS BLETSOS.

    [04] Greek budget deficit up 30.1% in Jan.-July

    Greece's regular budget revenues rose 6.9 pct in the seven-month period from January to July 2007, compared with the corresponding period last year, the General Accounting Office announced on Monday.

    In a report, the accounting office said budget spending was up 6.8 percent over the same period. Budget revenues were slightly lower in January-July compared with a budget target for an annual growth rate of 7.2 pct while spending was slightly up compared with a 6.3 percent growth rate target for the year.

    Total proceeds grew by 5.0 pct, down from a budget target of 5.5 percent; while primary spending grew by 8.9 pct in January-July, up from a budget target of 7.4 pct.

    The accounting office said the budget deficit totalled 7.925 billion euros, up 30.1 pct in the seven-month period this year, from 6.091 billion euros in the same period in 2006.

    An Economy and Finance ministry statement attributed the higher deficit to an increase in spending through the Third Community Support Framework (up 1.2 billion euros).

    Caption: An aerial view of the port of Piraeus' commercial section, dated Dec. 4, 2006. ANA-MPA / G. CHRISTAKIS

    The Public Investments Program's revenues rose by 26.3 percent in January-July, sharply up from a 4.7 pct annual target, while spending was up 39.7 pct from a budget target of 6.9 pct.

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