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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-18

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM's message marking Battle of Crete anniversary
  • [02] Papandreou: Our duty to serve public interest
  • [03] FinMin on OTE deal
  • [04] Pavlopoulos : Strong local gov't

  • [01] PM's message marking Battle of Crete anniversary

    Celebrations marking the 67th anniversary of the Battle of Crete commenced on Sunday, due to culminate the following Sunday, with prime minister Costas Karamanlis issuing a message referring to the historic event but also the efforts being made by Greece today, both internally and abroad.

    "The Battle of Crete, one of the most glorious and heroic pages of the World War Two epos, is for every Greek a source of pride and inspiration. It is a resounding example of what can be achieved by a peoples struggling for their freedom and dignity, even when facing the superior weaponry of a conqueror," Karamanlis said in his message.

    He said that Greece today was, in action, honoring the struggle and sacrifices of its forefathers and its Allies for a strong and prospering homeland in a free, peaceful and democratic world.

    On the domestic front, it was proceeding with determination to the materialisation of the changes and reforms in every aspect of public life that meet the challenges of the present and prepare a better future, the premier said.

    In its international relations, he continued, with absolute respect to international law and treaties, the Greek people, united more than ever, were working responsibly so that the long-suffering Southeastern Europe may finally become a neighborhood of security, confidence and mutual respect among the states and peoples of the region.

    In that framework, Greece firmly supports the Euro-Atlantic prospect of all the countries of the region, under the self-evident condition, however, of full compliance with the values and prerequisites of those institutions.

    "Having the conviction that the best conferral of honor to the Fighters for Freedom is the active service of the values and ideals that have throughout the centures inspired the Greeks, we are moving forward, and meeting the challenges of our generation with responsibility and determination," the premier's message concluded.

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

    [02] Papandreou: Our duty to serve public interest

    Elections were being held on Sunday for the new members of the main opposition PASOK party's regional bodies.

    "My duty, and PASOK's duty, is to serve -- and we are serving -- the public interest and truth," PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Sunday, after voting at a ballot set up at the party's local organisation office in the Nea Erythrea suburb of Athens.

    "We do not arrive at our decisions, or actions, from various interests, as the government does," Papandreou said, adding that the government and everyone else concerned must realise that no "methodisations" will stop PASOK.

    "Our strength is the democratic strength of the people," he said, adding that "all those who must give account will do so, very soon".

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou while voting on Sunday 18 May 2008 in Nea Erythrea, Athens

    [03] FinMin on OTE deal

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis passed off as "hollow threats", statements by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and MP Theodoros Pangalos over the deal with Germany's Deutsche Telekom concerning the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), in an interview with the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos newspaper.

    "If someone has something to say, he should speak with specific arguments," Alogoskoufis said, adding that, "in other words, if the 3 percent (package of shares in OTE) is a 'sell-out', then what is the 66 percent (of the OTEs tock) sold during the PASOK governments?".

    Alogoskoufis said that the deal reached by the government "ensures substantial investments in the country, to the benefit of the citizens and working people".

    The minister futher said that Deutsche Telekom representatives had expressed interest in OTE at the end of 2007 to OTE CEO Panagiotis Vourloumis, whom the government instructed to tell DT that if Marfin Investment Group (MIG, which had a 19 percent interest in the Greek telecoms company, which it recently sold to DT) did not "leave the picture", then there could be no discussion with any strategic partner, explaining that DT decided to take the initiative and approach MIG and make its acquisition proposal.

    Alogoskoufis said that from here on steps towards capitalisations (of stock in state-run organisations) would be "more careful", and that the state must not give control, must not lose its majority holdings, in specific large companies, without previously clarifying what the course of those holdings would be in the future.

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

    [04] Pavlopoulos : Strong local gov't

    The government believes in the need of creating a strong local goverrnment institution with fewer and more powerful municipalities and prefectures, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in an interview with Ethnos daily appearing in the newspaper's Sunday edition.

    He said that the present municipalities could be united into a third their present number, while the number of prefectures should not be many more than the number of the country's administrative regions, which remain at 13, Pavlopoulos said, expressing hope that the relevant draft law would be ready in early autumn, so that it could be voted on by parliament by the end of the year.

    Regarding bureaucracy and corruption in the public sector, Pavlopoulos acknowledged that there has been improvement, "but a minister who deals with the problems of everyday life cannot be satisfied".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos


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