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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK unveils plan to support economy
  • [02] MIG's Vgenopoulos criticism banking draft bill
  • [03] Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative board meeting in Athens
  • [04] Transport minister on road safety

  • [01] PASOK unveils plan to support economy

    The main opposition PASOK party on Wednesday unveiled a package of five proposals aimed at supporting the real economy and small- and medium-sized enterprises from the current global credit crisis.

    The proposals were presented during a news conference by PASOK deputy Mihalis Chrysohoidis. Presenting the proposals, Chrysohoidis said limited liquidity conditions prevailing in the domestic market, because of an unjustified delay in beginning the 4th Community Support Framework (2008-2013), raised prospects of a further shrinking or disappearance of several small- and medium-sized enterprises. He also criticized the governmentās plan to offer financial support to the banking system, saying it offered public money to banks without ensuring adequate supervision on the system. He accused the plan of abusing state support and noted that the package did not envisage a special clause ensuring that the money would be distributed to the real economy.

    The five-point proposals, drafted by PASOK party, envisaged abolishing so-called ?gentlemenās pact? between the Economy ministry and banks. It also called for the state to buy a limited amount of banks shares along with establishing supervision of banks included in the program, setting up a funding mechanism for very small, small and medium-enterprises, and reducing the tax burden on SMEs and citizens.

    [02] MIG's Vgenopoulos criticism banking draft bill

    [03] Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative board meeting in Athens

    Athens on Wednesday hosted the opening of a two-day board meeting of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a high-powered group comprised of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations that aims to set a ?global standard? for transparency in mining contracts between companies and governments.

    Speaking after the conclusion of the first day, Robert Mosbacher Jr., the head of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), a US government agency, summarised the initiativeās goal by saying that EITI wants all major international lending organisations, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) and the Asian Development Bank, for instance, to formulate international guidelines that mandate transparency in funded projects.

    Mosbacher, himself a former energy industry executive appointed as OPIC CEO and president in 2005, said American and US-based companies are already under such transparency obligations, which he said aim squarely at tackling corruption in the developing world from major mining and exploration deals.

    Conversely, Mosbacher acknowledged that China and Russia, two major international mining and exploration players, were not represented at the EITI board meeting, although he said contacts with the two sides are continuing.

    [04] Transport minister on road safety

    Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis, addressing the international conference of the International Car Federation Foundation on road safety in the city of Hania, on the island of Crete, on Wednesday stressed that the problem of road safety does not have a homeland, it is something that concerns all, it is an issue of humanity, it is an issue of the present and the future and requires joint handling, coordinated action and international cooperation.

    According to data provided by the minister, invoking the World Health Organisation, 1,200,000 people are killed on roads all over the world every year, meaning that in practice there is a fatality every three minutes.

    He also referred to a recent report prepared on behalf of the Union of Greek Insurance Companies which revealed, among other things, that seven out of 10 motorists admitted having ignored red traffic lights, 56.3 percent having overtaken another vehicle by entering an oncoming lane and 30 percent having driven under the influence of alcohol.

    Hatzidakis stressed the importance placed by his ministry on road safety and on measures it has taken in this direction, noting that halving the number of fatalities on roads by 2010 is a feasible target, compared to 2000 when we had 2,013 fatalities.

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