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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM, Trichet on credit crisis, eurozone
  • [02] PASOK agrees with investigation committee on Vatopedi
  • [03] Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis event in Seoul
  • [04] Gov't: Bank support measures not 'carte blanche'

  • [01] PM, Trichet on credit crisis, eurozone

    The continuing turmoil on the credit markets and the current state of global as well as the euro zone and Greek economies were at the focus of discussions on Thursday between Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean-Claude Trichet and Vice-President Loukas Papademos in Frankfurt.

    In statements to the press afterwards, Karamanlis stressed that developments in the international were unprecedented in the post-war period, adding that the major credit crisis coincided with the sub-prime crisis in the US, both in tandem with the rise in global inflation, a dangerous combination for most of the countries of the world.

    Karamanlis also stressed that the impact of the credit crisis had spread to Europe through the interdependence in today's world, resulting in the liquidity problems on both the European interbank market and in the operation of European banks.

    The premier expressed satisfaction, however, with the concerted and decisive way in which the EU leadership has acted in the past few days.

    "We adopted a broad plan, which contains a series of measures, the goal of which is to restore the citizens' and investors' confidence in the banking system," he said, noting that the plan guarantees the liquidity of the banks so that they may continue to carry out their role. "These measures have already brought results, as the interest rates on the interbank market have started to decline," he elaborated.

    Regarding the role of the ECB, Karamanlis described it as "particularly positive', noting that "from the very first moment, under the guidance of its president, Mr. Trichet, it provided substantial liquidity to the banking system".

    He said the European Central Bank had displayed full comprehension of its wider role in the course of the European economy, and expressed his conviction that the ECB, in cooperation with the EU governments, would continue to contribute decisively to improvement of the standard of living of Europe and its citizens.

    Karamanlis further said that he briefed Trichet on the decisions taken by the Greek government, and particularly the legislation of a minimum guarantee on deposits, as well as on its political commitment for full guarantee of the savings of depositors in banks operating in Greece.

    He also briefed the ECB chief on the programme for fortifying the Greek credit system which, the premier stressed, provides the necessary guarantees for the medium-term borrowing of the credit institutions, but stressed, however, the strict conditions and continuous monitoring by the State of all banks entering the credibility restoration program.

    Karamanlis told Trichet that the weaker social strata needed to be helped, and noted that the governor of the Bank of Greece, George Provopoulos, who accompanied the premier to the meeting, was in constant contact with the ECB.

    Mutual briefing in such crisis instances was absolutely necessary, as developments were progressing rapidly and allowed for not one hour of delay, Karamanlis said, and expressed his conviction that the good cooperation between the Greek side and Trichet and Papademos would continue.

    Also present at the meeting were foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis as well as Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (L) and the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Jean-Claude Trichet, enter the ECB headquarters where they met for talks in Frankfurt Main, Germany, 17 October 2008. ANA-MPA/ EPA / Frank Rumpenhorst

    [02] PASOK agrees with investigation committee on Vatopedi

    Main opposition PASOK on Friday said that it would vote in favour of ruling New Democracy's proposal for a Parliamentary investigation committee to look into the Vatopedi Monastery land deals but insisted on the need for a Preliminary Examination Committee as well.

    PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou stressed that PASOK would vote in favour of both because "we are not afraid of anything, we want things fully cleared up and will give alibis to no one."

    He also urged the other opposition parties and ruling New Democracy MPs to support PASOK's proposal so that the offences to be investigated would not go unpunished.

    A similar announcement was made earlier on Friday in Parliament by PASOK Parliamentary spokesman Evangelos Venizelos, who also stressed the need for a Preliminary Examination Committee that could examine the case before the present Parliamentary session ended, after which all acts committed up until the year 2007 would be effectively statute-barred.

    "PASOK wants the issue examined fully and in depth. But the investigation of acts before 2004 is essentially political. We want everything checked. We will gladly vote for ND's proposal calling for the formation of Investigation Committee," Venizelos said. At the same time, he urged ND to attend next Friday's session when PASOK's proposal will be debated in Parliament and not walk out in fear of a rebellion by back benchers in the secret ballot.

    According to Venizelos, PASOK would like the two committees to operate concurrently "so that they can act in a coordinated way and speedily attribute responsibilities."

    [03] Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis event in Seoul

    In commemoration of the International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis' 20th anniversary this year, the group unveiled its own website <font color="#0000FF" size="2" face="Verdana"><font color="#FFFFFF" size="2" face="Verdana"> and the first-ever conference on Kazantzakis ever held in Korea. The foundation, established in Geneva on Dec.14, 1988, created the website with the purpose of offering information to the public on the life and works of the renowned 20th century Greek writer, along with a bibliography, copies of studies by Kazantzakis scholars and activities undertaken by the foundation. A conference entitled "Life and Work of Nikos Kazantzakis" will be held in Seoul, South Korea on Oct. 30 in cooperation with the embassy of Greece and a number of local universities, including Hankuk University. Meanwhile, on Nov. 27, a special event will be held in the University of Geneva, where Eleni Kazantzaki and a handful of the writer's admirers founded the society in 1988. The Jean-Gabriel Eynard Greek-Swiss Association, the Greek Association of Geneva, and the local ethnic Greek community will be among those who will pay tribute to Kazantzakis, during a literary event held under the auspices of the Greek general consulate. Finally, the individuals and institutions that have offered their assistance to the Friends of Kazantzakis through the past 20 years will be honored in a formal event to be held in Athens on Dec. 10. Among the honorees will be the foreign ministries of France and Greece, the Greek Press Offices abroad, former Cypriot minister of culture and education Klairi Angelidou.

    [04] Gov't: Bank support measures not 'carte blanche'

    "The state does not support banks and bankers but the entire banking system," Deputy Economy Minister Yannis Papathanasiou stressed on Friday, during an address in Parliament. Responding to a current question by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos over a resurgent state's presence in the financial sector, Papathanasiou said recently announced measures aim to boost liquidity in the domestic banking system, in order to problems with competitiveness and interest rate hikes. The deputy minister also underlined that the measures are not in the form of a "carte blanche", adding that banks wishing to make use of favorable terms must first accept the state's terms and veto power, while they will also have to slash senior executives' remuneration. On his part, Alavanos suggested that local banks that cannot withstand the pressure of the international credit crisis should be nationalised, if such a move will benefit the economy. He also stated that the 28 billion euros earmarked for support of the banking system accounts for more than funds earmarked for Greece in the 4th CSF.
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