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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-08
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Inner Cabinet convenesThe Inner Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis convenes on Wednesday on Economy Ministry issues. Earlier, Karamanlis met with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
On Tuesday, the premier urged the leadership of Greece's development ministry to quickly push through legislation designed to regulate the operation and supervision of markets and prices, after an unannounced visit to the ministry earlier that day.
"We must all go above and beyond ourselves to deal with the problems," he stressed in statements to reporters.
Karamanlis said he had asked the ministry to fast-track draft bills setting up a body to supervise markets and granting more powers to the Competition Commission.
He also called for the maximum frequency of market inspections and the prosecution of certified offences involving price-gouging to the full extent of the law.
During his visit, the prime minister was briefed on the efforts currently underway at the ministry to curb high prices and demanded that government action be faster, bolder and more efficient.
Referring to the international economic crisis, Karamanlis said that economies were undergoing sharp shocks, with strong upward pressures on inflation. Along with the long-term imbalances of the Greek market, these were increasing the pressures on households, he added.
"I am well aware that the unemployed, those on low pensions and those on low incomes in general are finding it hard to get by," Karamanlis stated.
He described the problem of high prices as "difficult and complex" and stressed that the government's efforts sought to minimise the impact of the economic crisis on the market.
Karamanlis' visit to the development ministry was the first in a series of unannounced inspections he will carry out at several ministries in order to learn about the progress in government actions and initiatives to combat the country's problems.
Replying to reporters' questions after the visit, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros denied that the premier's decision to start from the development ministry had special significance or indicated a poor performance in the ministry's campaign to curb price hikes, stressing that no interpretation should be given to the order in which the visits were carried out.
 FinMin on bank depositsA legislative regulation providing for guarantee of bank desposits of up to 100,000 euros, which will be in effect for the next three years, will be tabled in parliament in the next few days and will be incorporated into the draft law for protection of borrowers currently being discussed in parliament, economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis announced on Wednesday.
Alogoskoufis said that the current 20,000 euros legislated guarantee benchmark will be raised to 100,000 euros, adding that the political commitment for protection of all deposits beyond the legislated 100,000 euros was in effect. He said the deposits guarantee was effectove fpr a;; banks active in Greece.
The government's priority was to restore and boost confidence in the proper operation of the credit system, Alogoskoufis said, adding that any masure required will be taken for protection of deposits.
Turning to Tuesday's meeting of the Council of EU Economy and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) in Luxembourg, he said that the 27 member states had agreed to continue support for financial institutions, which were of great importance for the function of the systems.
He said there would also be close cooperation among the EU '27' in actions to be made, while the possible cross-border impact of decisions taken at national level would also be taken into consideration. He clarified, however, that the underlying decision of the ECOFIN was that basic decisions for any interventions in the credit sector of a country would be taken at national, and not Community, level, and consequently each member country had the responsibility of intervention in order to do whatever its own credit system needed on the one hand, and on the other to coordinate with the other member countries so as to have coordinated action "given that we are a single market".
ECOFIN further decided to avert distortions in handling between the European and American banks that could prospectively arise due to differing accounting regulations, Alogoskoufis said, adding that the national and Community interventions would be prompt, while the support would be of a temporary nature. The target, he said, was not to nationalise the European banking system but to restore confidence in it.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of FinMin George Alogoskoufis
 ASE:Plunges 7.2 pct at openingEquity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Wednesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), influenced by dives on the major European money markets, with the basic share price index down 7.20 percent, standing at 2,435.95 points at 10:45 a.m., and turnover at 36.4 million euros.
Individual sector indices were moving downward across the board, with the heaviest losses in Technology, down 7.59 percent; Industrial Products, down 7.50 percent; Raw Materials, down 7.42 percent; Banks, down 7.38 percent; and Food & Beverage, down 7.32 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 7.27 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 6.06 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 4.96 percent.
Of the stocks moved, 3 were up, 161 were down, and 24 were unchanged.
 Turn to new marketsTourist Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos addressed the 7th conference of the Federation of Greek Tourist Businesses (SETE), that took place on Tuesday on the theme of "Tourism and Development," assessing that 2009 will be a difficult year for Greek tourism but stressing that "we shall handle it with self confidence."
Greece's tourism leadership will be turning its attention to new markets in 2009 as well and to developing ones, placing emphasis on Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, China, etc. Moreover, the ministry will be implementing a separate strategic marketing plan for the markets of the United States, Britain and Germany.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The ECOFIN Council's decision on the international economic crisis, the government's decision to increase the guaranteed deposits in banks up to 100,000, the Vatopedi monastery affair and the Siemens scandal dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "FinMin George Alogoskoufis' decision: The state guarantees deposits in banks of up to 100,000 euros".
APOGEVMATINI: "100,000 euros the guarantee in deposits".
AVGHI: "Toxic bonds in social security Funds - The Funds' reserves are being gambled after a governmental decision".
AVRIANI: "Siemens high ranking cadre involved with the slush funds Reinhard Sicaczek gives away names and code numbers".
CHORA: "Karamanlis puts pressure to his ministers - He started surpise visits to ministries".
ELEFTHEROS: "Karamanlis woke up and remembered after five years New Democracy's (ND) program against the high cost of living".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Deposits are secure, 'black hole' in loans".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "1.4 trillion euros damage - UN speaks of crisis of the century and the International Monetary Fund counts the losses".
ESTIA: "Back to 'socialism-mania' - New Democracy swerves from it's ideology".
ETHNOS: "High cost of living is everyone else's fault except the prime minister's".
KATHIMERINI: "Global alert over the crisis ".
LOGOS: "100,000 the guaranteed deposit - Alogoskoufis doubles ECOFIN's agreed ceiling".
NIKI: "High cost of living 'strikes' Karamanlis- After five years of governance, he understood finally the households' major problem".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Mockery of the people - Government's preannouncement over the crisis and high cost of living - EU, ND and PASOK support profiteering".
TA NEA: "3,452 euros in extra taxes will be paid by every family in 2009".
TO VIMA: "European FinMins decided to raise the guaranteed deposit to 100,000 euros in the eurozone".
VRADYNI: "Financial crisis strikes real estate and constructions".
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