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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Minister speaks in Thessaloniki on Greek tourism
  • [02] Chinese minister meets General Communications Secretariat
  • [03] Transport minister on OA plan

  • [01] Minister speaks in Thessaloniki on Greek tourism

    Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, inaugurated in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Thursday evening the pavilion of the National Tourism Organisation of Greece (EOT), within the framework of the 24th International Philoxenia exhibition of Helexpo.

    He expressed "the determination of the political leadership of Greek tourism to take all the necessary measures which will safeguard the Greek tourism product against the international economic crisis."

    "Our objective is to show yet again that Greece is the country of the Eurozone, which for another difficult year will have a tourism product which will withstand," the minister said.

    "The strategy will be two-phased and will include on the one hand specialised strategies for the traditional markets, Britain, Germany and the United States, and on the other, the strengthenining of extroversion of the emerging markets of eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine etc.) but also other countries such as India, where EOT plans to soon open offices."

    [02] Chinese minister meets General Communications Secretariat

    Chinese Radio, Cinema and Television Minister Wang Taihua met in Athens on Thursday with the leadership of the General Communication Secretariat-General Information Secretariat.

    The Chinese official underlined the strengthening of the political, economic and cultural relations which have developed, particularly in recent years, between Greece and China.

    Wang Taihua, who met with government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, General Information Secretary Panos Livadas and Communications General Secretary Margarita Papada, also expressed his joy for visting Greece for the first time, describing his visit as "a life's dream."

    The Chinese minister referred to "the valuable help by the Greek government" in the efforts of the people and government of China for the successful hosting of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

    He noted the importance of journalistic exchanges between the two countries and the cooperation of Greek Radio and Television (ERT) with the Chinese state television CCTV, which, he said he hopes, will be concluded with the signing of an agreement during the official visit of the President of China to Athens in November.

    [03] Transport minister on OA plan

    Transport and Communications Minister Costas Hatzidakis on Thursday confronted the attack launched by the main opposition PASOK party, regarding the course of the privatisation of the ailing Olympic Airines, by reminding of past statements made by PASOK leader George Papandreou and other members of his party.

    The transport minister and those addressing Parliament on behalf of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party, during the discussion on arrangements for the national carrier's employees, stressed that the solution proposed by the government was the only explicit and realistic one and, consequently, it has already secured the consent of the European Commission and of the large majority of employees.

    "In 2005, Papandreou in his address at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) had said that the government 'must prepare a serious action plan to enable whatever privatisation process to be completed'," Hatzidakis reminded.

    "(PASOK deputy) Evangelos Venizelos had likewise stressed the need in 2005 for 'the continuation of a legitimate, honourable and transparent privatisation process'. Today, PASOK is trying to hide behind excessively vague formulations," the transport minister added.

    ND rapporteur Lefteris Avgenakis reminded of past statements made by PASOK's transport minister Christos Verelis that "the citizens are not prepared to pay money to companies that have huge problems" and that "the solution lies with the seeking of private capital through the sale of a majority part of the company."

    PASOK Parliamentary representative Christos Papoutsis said that "the PASOK government was interested in saving Olympic and not in how to sell it away" and added that "from the beginning of the economic crisis until today over 40 companies have merged or called for state backing."

    Yiannis Mavrikos said on behalf of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) that the government "is privatising OTE (the Hellenic Telecomunications Organisation), the ports, roads, such corporations as DEH (the Public Power Corporation), which are profit-making, while it is preparing to sell Agrotiki Asfalistiki and Ethniki Asfalistiki."

    Th. Leventis of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) wondered why "all this that is being forwarded for coverage by the state budget is not mentioned in its draft plan which has been tabled" and added that "evidently there will be no listing of these funds."

    Asterios Rondoulis of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party asked the minister "why didn't you send the administrations that were responsible for this mismanagement at Olympic to the public prosecutor" adding that "somebody might think that you fraudently supported a practice that was leading to the company's bankruptcy and this is called fraudulent bankruptcy."

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