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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis on official visit to Russia next week at Putin's invitation
  • [02] Papandreou addresses workers at shipyard
  • [03] IMF: Thriving Greek economy to continue

  • [01] PM Karamanlis on official visit to Russia next week at Putin's invitation

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will pay an official visit to Russia next week at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the government spokesman announced on Tuesday.

    The spokesman announced that, at Putin's invitation, Karamanlis will pay a three-day visit to Russia beginning on Monday, Dec. 17.

    Spokesman and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos said that a wide range of bilateral issues will be discussed during the premier's scheduled meetings in Moscow, with special focus on the energy sector, as well as international issues of mutual interest.

    Asked whether dates for Karamanlis' pending visit to Turkey have been finalised, as claimed in the local press, Roussopoulos said he has nothing new to add.

    Caption: A file photo dated Thursday, March 15, 2007, shows Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a signing ceremony in Athens to finalise a deal for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. ANA-MPA / O. PANAGIOTOU

    [02] Papandreou addresses workers at shipyard

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Tuesday lashed out at the government's social security policy and expressed support for the right of wage-earners and pensioners to a "dignified future", as he said. He was addressing employees at the Elefsina Shipyards, west of Athens. Papandreou accused the ruling New Democracy government of lacking a development plan for the country, stressing that enterprises such as the Elefsina Shipyards are being downgraded and eventually sold off, as in the case of public utilities like the Public Power Corp. and OTE telecom. He accused the government of adopting tax exemptions favoring the rich and spoke of impunity resulting from the favorable settlements reached with major enterprises and the uncontrolled operation of the market. He also referred to the huge inequalities created, skyrocketing inflation, high taxation and opposition speculation over a VAT increase. On the social security issue, he stated that the system is underfinanced by the New Democracy government, creating a huge deficit expected to reach 10 billion euros in 2008, while tax evasion has jumped to 25 percent from 16 percent in 2004. Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    [03] IMF: Thriving Greek economy to continue

    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation predicted that the Greek economy will continue to thrive with growth fuelled by domestic demand, the Greek finance ministry on Tuesday.

    IMF experts also noted Greece's high growth rates in recent years and a marked reduction in the gap between domestic per capita real incomes and those in the EU.

    Experts said higher growth rates were supported by a steady improvement in employment rates, a sharp rise in real wages, low interest rates and rapid credit expansion, while the limiting factor was the external sector. They forecast continued strong growth for the Greek economy for some time to come.

    According to the IMF, investment prospects are good due to more rapid absorption of EU funds and investments that take advantage of the motives of excessive demand from housing and the expected completion of a large number of infrastructure projects.

    The initial conclusions of the IMF delegation, however, also point to economic imbalances that may create medium and long-term risks for growth and employment prospects. Among them are listed the steady decline in competitiveness as reflected in the rising current accounts deficit, inflexible labour and product markets and high levels of public debt.

    It advises the government to stick to efforts for reform, especially efforts to gradually improve the country's fiscal position. On a more short-term basis, the IMF delegation said that the budgetary targets for state revenues in 2008 were ambitious and that major efforts were needed to achieve these.

    It said that further measures to boost revenues and control primary spending would be needed in order to achieve a balanced budget by the year 2010.

    The delegation's report described the Greek banking system as robust, with adequate capitalisation and high profitability but called for close monitoring of certain aspects, such as the rapid credit expansion.

    Caption: A file photo, dated Monday, Jan. 22, 2007, shows a window shopper on Athens' upscale Ermou pedestrian way during the sales period. ANA-MPA / A. BELTES

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