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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-13

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM chairs Inner Cabinet meeting
  • [02] Papandreou unveils new strategic plan for growth
  • [03] Ferries hit by truckers' strike

  • [01] PM chairs Inner Cabinet meeting

    The Inner Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday convened on issues concerning the Interior Ministry at the Maximos mansion (government's headquarters). Earlier, Karamanlis held talks with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. In the afternoon the Prime Minister will address at the annual assembly of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB).

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

    [02] Papandreou unveils new strategic plan for growth

    George Papandreou, the leader of PASOK main opposition party, on Tuesday urged social partners for a commitment on the main axes of a new strategic agreement for growth.

    Addressing the annual general assembly of the Federation of Hellenic Industries, Papandreou also criticized the governmentās economic policy.

    ?A strategic agreement for growth proposed by PASOK is a necessary preconditions to put a brake on the downhill course. It is a road map to exit the country from crisis,? Papandreou said underlining the four basic principles of this agreement: changing a growth model, to a ?green? growth model, supporting purchasing power of Greek households, combating bureaucracy and corruption and the need for consultation and consensus.

    PASOK recommends the introduction of a single progressive tax scale, based on the inflation rate, which will not create counter-incentives in the labour market. ?The Greek product and services market operates in the wrong way, pushing prices up and creating disparities,? Papandreou said, adding that a government must follow a consistent policy against cartels and ?hidden? business deals, combating views that lead to higher prices and reducing production.

    ?We need another economic and social policy, based on bold interventions to boost competitiveness, and supporting great reforms for the transition to the knowledge economy, tax measures to support weaker classes and upgrading a social state,? PASOKās leader said.

    Papandreou noted that the Greek economy, despite strong growth rates, was heading towards a structural crisis and underlined that uncertainties grew not only for workers, but for young people, pensioners and for businessmen as well. Inflationary pressures were ignited by the governmentās policies, through increases in indirect taxes, unjustified increases in electricity bills, higher school fees, and rapid increases in shipping fares and pharmaceutical product prices.

    He accused the government of overshooting in consumer spending, while he said that PASOKās main policy was that the Greek stateās role was to defend the interests of the society and to ensure the distribution of benefits to all citizens. Commenting on a government plan to sell the management of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation to Deutsche Telekom, Papandreou said the Greek state must maintain its leading decision-making and planning role in enterprises of national strategic importance.

    [03] Ferries hit by truckers' strike

    The repercussions of a more than week-long strike by truckers extended to coastal shipping on Tuesday, with several ferry boats forced to remain in port or cancel scheduled voyages due to a lack of fuel.

    Among these, the car ferry "Ierapetra" remained stranded at the port of Piraeus since Monday evening, when it was scheduled to set sail for the islands of Milos, Santorini, Aghios Nikolaos in Crete, Kassos, Karpathos, Diafani, Halki and Rhodes.

    Also stranded in Piraeus is the car and passenger ferry "Anthi Marina", which was due to set sail at 17:00 on Tuesday evening for Patmos, Leros, Kos and Rhodes, and the car and passenger ferry "Milena" that is due to depart at 22:00 for Paros, Naxos, Agios Kyrikas, Fourni, Karlovassi and Vathy.

    In Kavala, the passenger/car ferry "Panagia Soumela" did not depart for Limnos and Lesvos on Monday evening, as scheduled, while a planned trip by the "Skiathos Express" leaving from Volos for the islands of Skiathos, Glossa, Skopelos and Alonissos was also cancelled.

    The strike by the owners of public-use trucks, including tanker trucks carrying fuel, has now entered its ninth day and is having widespread repercussions on Greek markets everywhere, leading to shortages of fuel but also other goods. The key demand being made by truck owners, who operate on the basis of a licence given by the government that then control their haulage rates, is a 13 percent increase in their rates, as opposed to 5 percent offered by the government. In addition, they want to be allowed to use national highways at weekends and have demands related to their social insurance contributions and pensions.

    Inquiry into cancelled ferry routes

    In the meantime, a preliminary inquiry into the cancellation of scheduled ferry services was launched on Tuesday by the head of the Greek coast guard Vice-Adm. Theodoros Rentzeperis, who ordered officers to investigate the truth of claims that ships lacked fuel and lubricants needed to set sail.

    The investigation is expected to wrap up before the end of this week.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo / GIOTA KORBAKI


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