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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-08-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] First fund mergers completed
  • [02] Culture minister in Beijing
  • [03] Bill on colleges voted in House

  • [01] First fund mergers completed

    Employment minister Fani Palli-Petralia on Friday expressed satisfaction with the timely completion of the first stage of the social security reform and its overall course, during a visit to the OAEE, the social security organization of self-employed professionals, where she met with the organization's presidium and its new governor Constantine Papathanasiou.

    Petralia noted that the first stage of the reform had been completed on Friday, "precisely on the date stipulated in the relevant law".

    Reviewing the course of the reform to date, Petralia referred to the 23 social security funds that were merged into five larger funds, as per the reform, and of the 80 administrative Acts issued concerning the distribution of resources, transfer of services and employees, and unification of archives.

    She said that the next "rendezvouz" would be in October , when the reform would be completed with the merging of all 133 branches and funds into 13 large funds.

    "The government, and I, personally, express our satisfaction because our commitments to the citizens have been realized on the specific dates we had set out," she said.

    Questioned on the possibility of a 'collapse' of the deficit-making funds, Petralia said that the reason the social security reform was decided was the big pathogeny of the system that had accumulated over a large number of years. She assured that the State guaranteed the workers' pensions, adding that "there is no worry over the pensions, and all the deficits of the funds are covered".

    Papathanasiou, in turn, said that his priority was cooperation with the social partners and the organization's employees alike for rational distribution of the personeel coming from the merged funds.

    He also assured that there was no prospect of pensions not being paid, adding that sell-off of the organization's assets for covering the pensions was not a priority.

    Petralia met earlier with the presidium of the state-run Social Security Foundation (IKA), the country's largest social security fund, and later also visted the Civil Servants' Welfare Fund for a courtesy call and getting-acquainted meeting with its new president Gerassimos Thomopoulos.

    During a press briefing later, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos noted that the first phase of the social security reform was completed on August 1 in accordance with the timetable stipulated in the relevant law.

    He explained that 24 social security funds and branches were merged into five existing funds, noting that more than 80 administrative Acts had been issued in order to achieve that goal.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Employment and Social Protection Minister Fani Palli Petralia.

    [02] Culture minister in Beijing

    Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Friday departed for Beijing in view of the events of the Cultural Year of Greece in China and the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

    On Saturday, he will watch the premiere of Euripides' ?Medea?, directed by Dimitris Papaioannou, at Beijingās Art Centre.

    On Sunday, Liapis will inaugurate an exhibition of the International Olympic Truce Centre a the Greek Home in Beijing.

    On Monday, the Greek culture minister will give a press conference regarding the events of the Cultural Year of Greece in China, at the amphitheatre of Beijingās Capital Museum. On the same day, he will meet his Chinese counterpart Cai Wu.

    On Thursday, Liapis will meet with the President of the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Olympic Games (BOCOG), Liu Qi, at Beijingās Town Hall.

    On Friday, the Greek culture minister will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, at Beijingās National Stadium.

    On Saturday, August 9, Liapis will attend the event which the Greek Olympic Committee will hold at the Greek Home, in the presence of athletes and foreign Olympic Committees.

    [03] Bill on colleges voted in House

    A government bill designed to regulate issues relating to the private colleges known as Liberal Studies Centres was voted in Parliament on Friday afternoon by the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party deputies of the second summer section of the House.

    The Liberal Studies Centres, many of which run franchise degree courses offered by European universities, have operated on a quasi-legal basis in Greece up until now, since the Constitution expressly forbids universities and higher education institutes that donāt belong to the state sector.

    According to Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis the government's bill was an attempt to impose order on a previously chaotic sector made up of post-secondary school courses, liberal studies centres and colleges.

    He had also pointed out that this was among the government's pre-election pledges and that it intended to set down strict guidelines and rules for businesses operating in the particular sector.

    CAPTION: Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis addressing the House debate on the bill, on Thursday.

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