|Wednesday, 21 November 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-24
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM promises to fight 'privileged interest groups'Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday said his government would continue to put the interests of the many above those of privileged interest groups, during a speech given at an event in Serres to mark the 10th anniversary since his uncle, the late Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis, passed away.
"For us, the interests of the many, the interests of the country and of society are goals that are not negotiable. And this is our own, practical way of paying homage to the politician Constantine Karamanlis," the premier said.
He underlined that the government would continue to stand against "the cries of conservatism, stand against the organised interests that are only concerned with preserving their unfair privileges at the expense of society as a whole, countering with the interests of the many".
The prime minister also pledged to press on with reforms to Greece's problem-riddled educational system, in the face of those who wanted nothing to change:
"Evaluation, developmental policy planning, extending democracy through the participation of the entire academic community in the election of bodies, the foundation of non-state, non-profit universities to boost competitiveness in knowledge; these are self-evident pivotal points of a policy that dares to face the present and the future, providing answers to the challenges that lie ahead," he stressed.
Like his uncle before him, the prime minister noted that he was faced with a choice about the path that he choose to guide the country in the coming decades:
"The choice is clearcut and unambiguous. Either we compromise with the mindsets, obsessions, behaviour and practices of conservatism and retrogression or we move forward responsibly and seriously, with determinational and boldness, to carry out the reforms and changes that the country needs," he stressed.
"These were the two choices that Constantine Karamanlis faced also when he was striving for the European future of the country. In the face of these two choices, Karamanlis never faced a dilemma and this was his most important political legacy. This is the historical proof that for a leader to not submit to short-term political cost, to put the interests of the country and the citizens above all other considerations is a political choice that is not only feasible but, in the end, the only viable and responsible strategy."
Tribute to Karamanlis senior
Paying tribute to the elder Karamanlis, the premier stressed that the values and ideals that had guided his uncle's political action continued to inspire and guide Greek men and women in all areas of politics.
"Constantine Karamanlis handled the fate of the country at particularly crucial times and, today, it is often possible - in my view, wrongly - to take the results of the policies of Karamanlis' governments for granted. If we consider them in the light of their age, however, nothing of the things achieved was easy or a given. The hardest and most important of which achievements was that he gave a specific, tangible, palpable content to a universal demand for the country's progress. He managed to inspire confidence in his compatriatiots," the premier stressed.
The two-day seminar, which consisted of a series of round-table discussion on the life and work of Constantine Karamanlis senior, was held at the Technological Education Institute in Serres, the area of Greece that the Karamanlis family originally hailed from. It was organised by the Constantine Karamanlis Foundation with the collaboration with the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, the University of Macedonia and the Serres TEI.
The event was also attended by a number of government ministers, MPs from a number of parties and local government officials.
Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressing a two-day seminar to mark the 10th anniversary since the death of his uncle and late statesman Constantine Karamanlis at the Serres TEI on Saturday. ANA-MPA - Nikos Arvanitidis
 PASOK leader meets Serbian Socialist Party leaderMain opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou hosted a working luncheon in Athens on Friday for Serbian Socialist Party leader Ivica Dancic and Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. Papandreou said that he and the Luxembourg minister and the Serbian political leader discussed the prospects of the Serbian party's accession to the Socialist International, as well as developments in Serbia regarding "its European course and the possibility of shaping a government that will pave the paths to Europe but, in parallel, with the guarantees of Europe itself towards Serbia for the support of this process, as well as support for the European Balkans that, unfortunately, the European Union has delayed in past years."
The PASOK leader further said that the EU has delayed, "despite the efforts we had made at the time, in 2003 in Thessaloniki ... to fully integrate the Balkans into the European Union. We must provide strength and vitality for this course again ... Serbia's course towards Europe will also play a decisive role," he said.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.
 Finmin meets Fed chairmanGreece's Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, who is currently on an official visit to the United States, had a meeting late on Friday with the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors Ben Bernanke in Washington.
Talks between the two men covered the state of the U.S. and global economies and the measures that need to be taken in order to ensure efficient handling of a possible slow-down of world economic growth but also international inflation caused by a rise in oil prices, food and raw materials.
In statements after the meeting, Alogoskoufis said that this was a "difficult conjunction" and praised the U.S. Federal Reserve for its rapid response, which had provided liquidity to the system. He expressed hope that the U.S. economy would respond positively to these measures so that there would not be any further repercussions for the global economy.
Europe was in a better state than the U.S. in terms of growth but shared common problems, chiefly inflation, the minister added, noting that the "best possible" was being done to improve the state of the world economy.
Alogoskoufis later departed for New York in order to meet representatives of investment banks, concluding his official visit to the country.
Caption: Greece's Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis (Left) shakes hands with the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors Ben Bernanke (Right) during their meeting in Washington on Friday (local time). ANA-MPA/Finance ministry - Nikos Apostolopoulos.
 Papariga attacks on all frontsCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga attacked both the government and the Parliamentary opposition parties PASOK and SYRIZA during a press conference held in Iraklio, Crete on Saturday.
She accused main opposition PASOK and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) of "devoting themselves to para-political opposition at a time when the ruling New Democracy government was carrying out so-called reforms and accelerating its privatisations programme by trampling on its opponents".
According to Papariga, the two parties were "important elements in a political system that is daily becoming more rotten". In the face of this, the only legitimate opposition tactic was to resist capital and the dictates of the EU, she added.
The leader of the KKE is due to speak at an open gathering at Iraklio's Eleftherios Venizelos Square later on Saturday evening.
Caption: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga speaking during a press conference given in the Cretan city of Iraklio on Saturday. ANA-MPA - Stefanos Repanis.
 Tsipras slams state of health sectorThe head of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party Alexis Tsipras attacked the government policy for healthcare on Saturday, in a speech at an event organised by SYN in the run-up to elections within trade unions for the medical profession.
According to Tsipras, Greece permanently occupied the lowest positions in terms of spending on health within the EU and stressed that it was not possible to tackle the healthcare sector's problems without generous funding.
He also accused the government of treating its obligation to provide free public health as a chore to be avoided and denounced the state of public hospitals as "tragic".
Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras.
 Eurovision song contest tonightPeople throughout Greece were making plans on Saturday to gather around TV sets for the day's highlight event, the finals of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade.
Greece's entry for the competition, which will be broadcast by the state television channel NET, is young Greek-American singer Kalomira with the song "Secret Combination", with music by Constantinos Pantzis and lyrics written by Posidonas Giannopoulos. Greece is to appear 21st in a total of 25 countries.
Kalomira will be accompanied by backing vocalists Victoria Halkiti and Nektarios Georgiadis and her set includes a team of dancers and some impressive stage props designed by Ilias Ledakis. The choreography was designed by Juliano and artistic direction by Costas Kapetanidis.
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