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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM unveils measures to protect indebted households
  • [02] FinMin on OTE-Deutsche Tel. deal
  • [03] Russian architecture exhibition

  • [01] PM unveils measures to protect indebted households

    Banks are obliged to manifest increased social responsibility, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said Friday in Parliament, during discussion of questions tabled by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on over-indebtedness of households due to excessive bank borrowing.

    Practices that violate good faith, and abusive conditions in transactions "are not acceptable", the premier said during the 'Hour of the Prime Minister', and stressed his government's determination to "ensure protection of consumers" and take additional measures through "adoption of proposals from wherever they originate".

    He also referred to the status of operation of debt collector companies, an issue which he said was put forward by initiative of the Consumer Ombudsman, which was an institution that his New Democracy government had established, and said that the responsible ministries were advancing a draft institutional framework to "set rules" for such companies.

    Karamanlis said the measured currently examined by the government envisaged: prohibiting real estate auctions at prices below their objective value, while auctions will be obligatory held in courts with sealed bids. Also, borrowers will be offered a 12-month grace period to seek a new rescheduling of their debts with banks and setting social and economic standards to deal with such cases. The government was also examining plans to prohibiting confiscation of part of monthly wages up to 1,500 euros for debt to the public sector or banks and raising a 10,000-euro debt ceiling for forclosures of first houses.

    The Prime Minister reiterated that the government would not hesitate to adopt proposals made by opposition parties.

    Commenting on the economy, Karamanlis said an economic slowdown in the European Union -mainly due to high oil prices- affected national economies and citizens' financial situation, while he added that these effects could have been more dramatic if the government did not implemented economic reforms in the previous four years.

    He criticized previous governments for failing to address the issue of relations between bans and consumers. Karamanlis said that in a period when a negative international conjucture affects both national economies in the EU and households' financial situation, "financial institutions could not be indifferent, nor delaying the necessary changes...They must carefully respond to their customers' demands and the proposals made by the government by taking the initiative of conforming with any court decisions," he said.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] FinMin on OTE-Deutsche Tel. deal

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Friday reassured that a deal between Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation and Deutsche Telekom, due to be reached in the next few days, fully ensured the country's and the Greek state's strategic interests and said that the Greek state will not reduce its equity stake in OTE to low levels.

    Speaking in Parliament, the Greek Minister said the deal, which will be activated only if ratified by Parliament, could be annulled only if a Greek government cut its stake below 5.0 pct. Alogoskoufis said the government was implementing a policy of strategic alliance with the necessary management, with the aim to ensure the future and development of Hellenic Telecoms to the interest of consumers.

    "With this deal will avoid the risk kof losing control of the organisation. With negotiations, currently underway, we will ensure all strategic interest of the country and of the Greek state which will have the last word," Alogoskoufis said, adding that the issue of labour rights was covered by Greek labour legislation.

    Alekos Alavanos, president of SYRIZA opposition party, speaking in parliament said the Greek state should gradually begin to regain control of 51 pct of shares in Hellenic Telecoms and noted that the government had "penal responsibility" over the sale of OTE.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis

    [03] Russian architecture exhibition

    The lost vanguard of the Russian architectural art is being highlighted in the exhibition "Lost vanguard Found - Synthesis of Architecture and Art in Russia (1915-1935)" organised by the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki in cooperation with the Schusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow and the Museum of Photography in Thessaloniki, in the framework of the Photobiennale, 20th Photography Meeting 2008. It features photos of buildings dating back to the 20s and 30s coming from the Museum of Architecture in Moscow, architecture designs, paintings and scale models of Russian artists from the 1920s that belong to the Kostakis Collection of the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki and a number of recently taken photographs of Russian architecture buildings. The exhibition will be held in the Moni Lazariston exhibition hall in Thessaloniki and will run until September 28.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Moni Lazariston exhibition hall in Thessaloniki

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