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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Emphasis on 'real politics', gov't work
  • [02] Migrant host centre overcrowded

  • [01] PM: Emphasis on 'real politics', gov't work

    PM Costas Karamanlis chaired a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday for approval of new high court justices, which were proposed by Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis to the Cabinet, and earlier to the Inner Cabinet. FinMin George Alogoskoufis submitted proposed tax changes to the State Legal Council. Addressing the Cabinet, Karamanlis urged his ministers to concentrate on 'real politics' and accelerate the government's work.

    "The citizens elected us to lead the country on the paths of reform and development, which are difficult paths strewn with many obstacles," he said, adding that "the obstacles, regardless of where they come from, will not daunt us, real politics takes place in the field of action".

    Karamanlis said that the government's goal was firmly tied to the country's future, and stressed that his government has proceeded with significant reforms despite the fact that Greece had found itself in the vortex of an international crisis over the past six months, and specifically cited the reforms in the social security sector, the DEKO (public utilities and organizations), education, the country's ports, in stamping out tax evasion, and in energy policy, particularly the recent ratification of the agreement for construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline.

    He said that the apparent hazards in issues "the seriousness of which I have never underestimated" did exist, adding that "we are not turning a blind eye, but they will not become a brake to the continuation of our work".

    "We are all obliged, each one in his own field but also as a whole and tight-knit team, to traverse this difficult path," the premier stressed.

    Karamanlis further said that he has not, and will not, accept divergences from the goals for the sake of temporary gains in popularity, and demanded of his ministers "strict devotion to the substance of policy, to yielding tangible results", and called for constant self-criticism.

    Noting that the relationship his government has earned with the citizens was one of confidence, the premier demanded that the question "what more can we offer the country╗ should be their rule of thumb.

    Making a brief review of the government's accomplishments to date, he particularly noted the 325 major public works (ports, airports, Egnatia motorway, roadworks) throughout the country, the efforts to solve the problems faced by the ailing national carrier Olympic Airways, and the restructuring of the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) and the Public Power Corporation (PPC).

    He also noted the efforts to introduce absentee voting for overseas Greeks, and accused main opposition PASOK of "preaching other things when it was in government, but acting differently now, thereby proving that it does not respect the Greeks abroad".

    Karamanlis further referred to the administrative reform, the national strategy in the education sector, and also in the national issues such as the FYROM name issue and the Cyprus problem, and Greek-Turkish relations, while also stressing that the government was handling with prudence and caution the international issues such as the recent crisis in the Caucasus.

    Another example of 'real politics' was the hard work carried out throughout the summer for a coordinated confrontation by the state machine of the immense number of wildfires.

    The premier also highlighted the fact that Greece rose ten places in the competitiveness index, according to a World Bank report (Doing Business in 2009) released on Tuesday, "which is the result of the serious policy work we are doing", while it was also proceeding at a rapid pace in the efficient absorption and management of EU funds, earning the kudos of the European Commission.

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

    [02] Migrant host centre overcrowded

    ┴ total of 495 illegal immigrants are currently crammed into a migrants reception centre on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, following the arrest of another 24 would-be migrants by the coast guard on Tuesday.

    The 24 Third World nationals reportedly used an inflatable dinghy to reach Greek territory from the nearby Turkish coast. Greek authorities have repeatedly pointed to a surge of illegal immigration emanating from Turkey in recent months, while last week Athens charged that a Turkish coast guard patrol boat actually towed a migrant-laden craft towards the island of Lesvos.

    The reception centre is designed to accommodate up to 280 persons.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo

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