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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM holds meeting on cutting the cost of red tape
  • [02] More port strikes this month
  • [03] Kifissia flower show 'nature fest'

  • [01] PM holds meeting on cutting the cost of red tape

    Reducing administrative burdens and the cost of bureaucracy and was the focus of a meeting on Friday between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

    In statements after the meeting, Pavlopoulos stressed that this was this was the first time in Greece that there was a special operational plan included in the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for administrative reforms, which would pivot mainly around cutting back red tape.

    "Under PASOK governments, all these things were unknown and had been left to their fate," he added.

    The minister said that meetings like the one held on Friday would occur frequently from now on, since this was a priority area for the government and there were areas of joint responsibility between the interior and finance ministries, now that the latter had acquired its own operational plan. With the start of the new programme now beginning, there was a need to quickly push through issues touching on both public administration and the economy, he pointed out.

    Alogoskoufis said that dealing with bureaucracy was an issue of immense importance for the general public and the economy. He stressed that, according to a report by the European Commission, the cost of bureaucracy in Greece was greater than the average for all European Union countries and, especially for businesses, exceeded 6.5 percent of GDP.

    The finance and interior ministry have jointly undertaken an initiative to cut down bureaucracy for businesses and the general public, he added. Karamanlis-Garganas meeting Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with Bank of Greece Governor Nikolaos Garganas at Maximos Mansion, the government headquarters in Athens. In the meeting held Friday morning, Garganas announced that he will leave his post as the bank's Governor when his tenure ends on June 14, pointing out that he has served a total of 12 years in the Bank of Greece, as Deputy Governor (Sept. 5, 1996 - June 13, 2002) and as Governor since June 2002.

    Garganas stated that he was first appointed to a Bank of Greece senior executive post 33 years ago in January 1975 by the then Bank of Greece Governor, the late Xenophon Zolotas.

    Caption: Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis (left) and Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos (right) descend the steps of Maximos Mansion where the prime minister's offices are based after a joint meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to discuss ways of reducing bureaucracy and reducing the cost of red tape on Friday. ANA-MPA - M. Marogianni

    [02] More port strikes this month

    Dockers and administrative staff at the country's two largest commercial ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, on Friday announced plans for new strikes in May to protest against the privatisation of the ports' container terminals, saying they would hold a 48-hour strike on May 8-9 and a 24-hour strike on May 15.

    The dates coincide with the deadlines by which private investors must submit their bids for the management of the two container terminals in a tender, starting with the tender for Piraeus on May 9 and followed by Thessaloniki on May 15. Interest in the management rights to the terminals have so far been expressed by British, Chinese and Arab firms.

    In addition to striking, the dockers will continue to refuse over-time and week-end work and will also join forces in protests on the tender deadlines, with dockers from Thessaloniki travelling down to Piraeus on May 9 and vice-versa.

    The strike action is taking place alongside legal action taken by dockers, who have petitioned the country's supreme administrative court, the Council of State, to stop the process.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of a container being unloaded at Piraeus port.

    [03] Kifissia flower show 'nature fest'

    More than 2,000 species of Greek and foreign flora will be on display at the Kifissia flower show in the Dimitris Zomopoulos Park for more than half the month, up until May 18. As part of the show, the Kifissia municipality has also organised a "nature festival" that has added symbolic importance in the wake of last summer's devastating fires that decimated forests around the capital.

    Apart from events at the official opening on April 30, there is a core of exhibits and individual events focusing on the ecological aspects of gardening and with the participation, this year, of botanical gardens in Greece and abroad, pavilions promoting environmental messages and others promoting organic produce.

    The exhibition programme additionally includes performances of music and dance, shadow-puppet performances by the Evgenios Spatharis company, school bazaars, flower-arranging classes, as well as the screening of documentaries.

    The flower show will be open for the public between 10:00 in the morning and 10:00 in the evening, while between the hours of 11:00 and 14:00 there will be classes in environmental education delivered by agriculturalists to schools visiting the site. Visitors will also be able to seek tips on caring for their plants and gardens from experts at the show's advice centre.

    Caption: A riot of colours and a sunny, spring day greeted visitors arriving at the Kifissia flower show on Friday, May 2. ANA-MPA/Orestis Panagiotou


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