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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cabinet briefed on energy, steps to curb high cost of living
  • [02] Papandreou meets head of WWF Hellas
  • [03] NBG net profits up 25% in Q1
  • [04] 2011 Special Olympics in Athens

  • [01] Cabinet briefed on energy, steps to curb high cost of living

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday chaired an Inner Cabinet meeting on energy policy and measures aimed at ameliorating the high cost of living.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Development Minister Christos Folias said he briefed the Inner Cabinet on some 41 steps announced recently by his ministry aimed at curbing the high cost of living, noting that half of those measures have already been implemented, while 10 additional measures would be announced on Thursday.

    Folias explained that the package of measures would produce tangible results when all 41 of the mutually supplementary measures entered into effect, adding that consumers would definitely see results, while he also denied press reports of problems in his relations with Deputy Minister George Vlachos or with the economy and finance ministry.

    He also said the time has come for long-term planning and important decisions on energy policy, stressing that "the present energy model has reached its limits, combined with the rally in international oil prices".

    Folias said he outlined the energy strategy council's report to the Inner Cabinet, adding that a long-term national policy on energy needed to be drafted, with a horizon of the coming decades.

    He said that every possibility would be utilised, based also on the country's energy links, aimed at a dependable and secure supply of energy to consumers, effective protection of the environment, and support of competition in the energy market.

    For that reason, Folias added, the Council's report would be forwarded to the political parties and to the relevant bodies for broad deliberation.

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

    [02] Papandreou meets head of WWF Hellas

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday met in Athens with the head of WWF Hellas, Dimitris Karavelas, to discuss environmental issues.

    "Unlike those who consider the environment to be an issue for the elite, we consider that it is a crucial issue for all citizens and even more so for the middle and lower classes, who suffer all the negative repercussions from the degradation of the environment, the cost of living and the lack of quality of life," Papandreou said afterwards.

    PASOK's leader said a new environmental policy would unlock huge developmental potential for Greece, which could become a ground-breaker in strategies for green growth provided there were major changes and the necessary political will to carry these out, which PASOK possessed.

    Papandreou then thanked WWF for its role in protecting the environment and said that PASOK was open to the dialogue being launched by the international environmental group, saying that this should lead to specific proposals that would be binding for PASOK and any future PASOK government.

    Karavelas underlined the need for governments to push the environment higher up the political agenda and to "look at our country's development in a different way," adding that WWF's proposal would be presented to all the political parties and other bodies.

    [03] NBG net profits up 25% in Q1

    National Bank group on Wednesday reported a 25-percent increase in its net profits to 423 million euros in the first quarter of 2008, compared with the same period last year.

    The bank said return on equity rose by five percentage points to 28 percent and noted that this performance reflected strong growth of banking services both in the domestic and the markets of Turkey and SE Europe.

    Net profits from activities in Greece grew 8.0 percent to 255 million euros. Turkey-based Finansbank's contribution to the group's profits totalled 129 million euros (up 40 percent from the same period in 2007), accounting for 30 percent of total profitability.

    Net profits from activities in SE Europe jumped 72 percent to 50 million euros, or 12 percent of total profitability.

    National Bank said its net interest margin was 4.31 percent in the first quarter of 2008 from 4.19 pct in the same period last year. The group's loan portfolio 57.1 billion euros at the end of March 2008, from 45.7 million last year, an increase of 25 percent, while saving deposits 60.5 billion euros, up 13 percent over the same period.

    Loan portfolio in the Greek retail banking market 26.6 billion euros, with mortgage loans rising 17 pct to 16.9 billion euros and consumer and credit cards totalling 6.0 billion euros, up 24 percent from last year.

    National Bank said loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises 3.7 billion euros in March, up 28 pct from 2007, while loans to large enterprises rose 22 pct. Saving deposits in Greece totalled 49.3 billion euros, up 11 pct.

    Caption: A file photo dated Friday, 1 June, 2005 shows the exterior of a NBG branch in Athens. ANA-MPA / M. MAROGIANNI.

    [04] 2011 Special Olympics in Athens

    Greece will host the International Special Olympics in 2011, and specifically in Athens between June 25 and July 4, 2011.

    Participating in the Games will be 7,500 disabled athletes from 172 countries, 2,500 coaches, 3,000 officials and 25,000 volunteers, while it has been estimated that 40,000 members of the athletes' families will be coming to Greece from every corner of the planet.

    Apart from the Games, programmes were presented at the Zappeion Hall on Wednesday that aim at sensitising the public and training young people on issues concerning what is "diversity" and "differentness" is in society's day-to-day activities.

    Caption: US Special Olympics athletes wave to the crowd as they enter a stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China, 02, October 2007. ANA-MPA/EPA/DIEGO AZUBEL

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