|Monday, 18 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-17
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Karamanlis to meet ECB presidentPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis will meet on Friday in Frankfurt the President of European Central Bank Jean Claude Trichet. On Thursday, Karamanlis after a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels said that the plan for supporting the Greek financial system seeks to ensure stability and protect incomes, especially lower incomes, loan holders and depositors. He also stressed his opposition to abandoning or greatly relaxing the EU Stability Pact because of the credit crisis.
"A reversal of the stability pact should be neither expected nor should it happen," the Greek premier told reporters during a press conference, in which he presented the decisions made by the European Council.
Karamanlis appeared sanguine about the state of the Greek economy in general, noting that Greece was in a better position than most European countries and that Greek banks were much less exposed to "toxic" products. Though the country would unavoidably be affected by the broader repercussions of the international credit crisis, he pointed out that even the highly conservative forecasts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted annual growth rates above 2 percent for Greece, significantly above those of other EU countries.
He stressed, meanwhile, that the government was closely watching the situation and ready to intervene if necessary.
According to Karamanlis, the measures to support the Greek financial system would not lead to a change of taxation policy and Greeks should not expect to see any new taxes. He said that the reforms already passed would broaden the tax base while not increasing the tax burden on low and middle incomes.
Regarding the EU Stability Pact, the Greek premier stressed that this was not divorced from real economic conditions but added that these issues would be discussed in more detail at the next ECOFIN Council. He warned people not to expect any radical departures from the implementation of the pact, however, saying that EU countries would continue to operate within its framework while taking advantage of recent revisions allowing greater flexibility in its implementation.
Under provisions introduced in the latest revision of the Stability Pact, greater "flexibility" in its implementation is allowed in "extraordinary circumstances", similar to the ones observed today as a result of the credit crisis and the fears of a global economic recession.
Karamanlis underlined the importance of providing support for small and middle-sized businesses and of a plan being prepared by the European Investment Bank. For the support of lower incomes in Greece, meanwhile, he repeated a pledge to activate the Social Cohesion Fund and provide benefits for heating to those hardest-hit by the crisis, such as pensioners and the unemployed.
Regarding the decisions taken by the 27 EU leaders, the Greek premier said these aimed to restore confidence in the financial system throughout the Community. To achieve this, the European Council on Thursday agreed on a series of measures, such as a European early warning mechanism that would point out dangers threatening the economies of EU member-states, regular meetings of national regulatory bodies on a monthly basis and EU initiatives in collaboration with the Community's international partners to reform the finance system.
Karamanlis also outlined decisions taken by the 27 EU leaders on a number of other issues discussed during the summit, which was originally held to discuss action against climate change.
With respect to the stalled Lisbon Treaty, blocked since its rejection in an Irish referendum, he said this would be discussed in depth at the December summit, when the Irish side was expected to present specific proposals.
Regarding action against climate change, he reported only that Greece would not seek to be exempted from the implementation of Community policies that had already been decided.
Karamanlis further told reporters that he had sent a letter to European Council President Nicolas Sarkozy and his other EU counterparts on the issue of illegal immigration and asylum, asking them to display a spirit of solidarity with all the countries that, like Greece, were on the frontiers of Europe and faced strong migration pressures. Greece had also clearly supported further strengthening FRONTEX, the EU agency charged with coordinating EU member-state cooperation in policing the EU's external borders.
Commenting on developments in Georgia, Karamanlis expressed satisfaction at the prompt withdrawal of Russian troops from the Caucasus.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
 New plane sent for PapouliasAn Olympic Airways (OA) airplane has been despatched from Athens to Da Nang to bring back Greek president Karolos Papoulias and a 180-member delegation back to the Greek capital, after an OA A-340 airbus flight that was due to depart Da Nang for the return, via Hanoi, was aborted before lift-off when the pilot cabin's instrument panel indicated a malfunction in one of the plane's four engines.
The OA Boeing 737, which was due to reach Da Nang at approximately 7:00 p.m. local time (3:00 p.m. Greek time), was also carrying parts necessary for repair of the airbus.
Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet, with whom Papoulias held talks on Monday at the start of his four-day state visit to Vietnam, was due to arrive in Da Nang from Hanoi at noon for a second meeting with the Greek president, taking advantage of the delay.
OA technicians on board the airbus were carrying out the repairs.
Caption: President Karolos Papoulias in Anoi, Vietnam on Wed. 15 Oct. 2008/ANA-MPA/VANGELIS VARDOULAKIS
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The rumours of a government reshuffle after the developments on the Vatopedi monastery case dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' interview in Brussels: "No early general elections, government reshuffle is my prerogative".
APOGEVMATINI: "Enigma over the reshuffle - Karamanlis ruled out early general elections but left open the possibility of a reshuffle".
AVGHI: "Karamanlis sends from Brussels a cover-up order before the setting up of a parliamentary fact-finding commission on the Vatopedi case".
AVRIANI: "The culprits who milked billions from the Athens Stock Exchange are now the 'angels of catharsis'."
CHORA: "Trapped in Vatopedi monastery Abbot Ephrem's web".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "The Prime Minister has made up his mind on the reshuffle".
ELEFTHEROS: " Maximos mansion (government headquarters) fears that ruling party New Democracy rebels may vote in favour of main opposition PASOK party proposal for the establishment of a preliminary probe committee".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The Vatopedi monastery scandal quiz leads to a reshuffle".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The prosecutors on Vatopedi case persist, against the pressures, on their resignations".
ESTIA: "A change of policy is mandatory - Economy threatened by recession".
ETHNOS: "All are not guilty until the reshuffle - Karamanlis appeared abashed in Brussels".
KATHIMERINI: "The votes in parliament are an ordeal for the government".
LOGOS: "General elections are out of the question, but the possibility of a reshuffle exists".
NIKI: "Sly manipulation to save themselves under the fear of fact-finding commission and ND's rebels".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The European dead-end path is an enemy for the public interests".
TA NEA: "Prosecutors in Vatopedi case charge they are undergoing strong pressures".
TO VIMA: "Ministers' and deputy ministers' chairs are teetering - Karamanlis intimated at government reshuffle".
VRADYNI: "Everything is open except general elections - Karamanlis, in Brussels, triggered political developments scenarios".
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