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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Global effort needed to exit crisis
  • [02] Papandreou criticises bank support plan
  • [03] Deputy FM Doukas to visit Serbia
  • [04] ASE to launch two new indices on Mon.
  • [05] ΚΚΕ condemns gov't measures
  • [06] Deadline for OA bids Friday night
  • [07] ASE up for third straight day
  • [08] 2 new ASE indices on Monday

  • [01] PM: Global effort needed to exit crisis

    Measures to fortify the real economy were announced on Friday by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, during an off-the-agenda discussion in Parliament on the repercussions of the global financial crisis. He stressed that the government's priority was to guide the country through this difficult time with the least possible repercussions for ordinary people.

    "Our primary goals are to minimise the impact of the crisis on Greek citizens as much as is humanly possible. Faced with the size of the challenge, our only concern is the country and we are indifferent to any political or party cost," the premier underlined.

    "The international crisis has burdened and will continue to burden the Greek economy. It has slowed growth rates and escalated the high cost of living. We are among the first countries in the eurozone to have acted so quickly, and so promptly and so decisively. Our economy shows strong resilience," stressed Karamanlis.

    The premier emphasised, however, that 28-billion-euro package announced by the government for supporting the banking system did not involve handing over tax-payers' money to the banks, while those claiming otherwise were lying and trying to mislead.

    "Nothing is being 'given' to banks. Not one euro is being spent from the budget. There is no loss but gain for the public sector. Tax-payers are not paying but receiving," Karamanlis stressed.

    The premier pointed out that households and businesses would benefit as a result of the plan, which would relieve the upward pressure on interest rates, protect deposits and the availability of loans and thus support economic activity and preserve jobs.

    In addition, banks participating in the scheme would have to pay up to 500 million euros into state coffers each year and money that would then be used to finance public investments and the social cohesion fund.

    The premier stressed that international collaboration against the crisis was imperative, together with policies that will heighten people's sense of security, with the focus on the middle and low incomes. He underlined the need for cooperation in Europe also, noting that it should be possible to temporarily relax rules that prevented taking more effective measures in response to the problems.

    "In this hour, each and every citizen's and family's interest is directly connected with the resilience and the adaptability of our economy. It's the hour of individual and collective responsibility," underlined Karamanlis.

    He then turned his fire on the main opposition PASOK party, which he accused of failing to understand that the speed at which things were changing and of remaining locked in a petty political viewpoint of events that it understood only imperfectly.

    "Having these views, can they take the responsible stance demanded by the occasion? The populists and demagogues are doing great damage to the economy. Yet again, they are proving themselves inferior to the occasion," he added.

    Karamanlis slammed PASOK leader George Papandreou for what he called contradictory views on the issue of supporting banks; conceding the need to support the banking system, one the one hand, but at the same time accusing the government of giving away tax-payers' money.

    "This shows total confusion and demonstrates a total political inadequacy in critical situations," the prime minister said.

    He was also scathing about PASOK's pledges for more state hand-outs, noting that, even by conservative estimates, the measures announced would cost some five billion euros a year and were "completely unrealistic".

    The prime minister gave assurances that there would be no new taxes and was critical of those attempting to use the financial crisis to "revive confused ideologies", as well as those resisting government reforms.

    "It doesn't make sense for people to express hope for an increase in employment, on the one hand, and then incite reactions to every reform. To admit the need for changes and then support privileged groups so that nothing can change," Karamanlis stressed, adding that no one could go along with methods that sought to "blackmail" society.

    At the same time, he sent a clear message to markets to self-regulate, stressing that "free economic activity must not submit to greed or a lack of restraint."

    Speaking during his rejoinder, the prime minister closed by warning that the world was faced with a major crisis whose intensity and duration could not be predicted. The challenge that now lay before all political forces was to set aside their differences and draw up a strategy to deal with the oncoming recession, he emphasised.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis speaks in Parliament on Friday 31 October 2008. ANA-MPA/MARIA MAROGANNI

    [02] Papandreou criticises bank support plan

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday charged that the policies responsible for the current international credit and economic crisis are the same ones followed by the ruling New Democracy party.

    Speaking at an off-the-agenda debate on the economy, Papandreou referred to "neo-liberal and neo-conservative" policies that allowed "vested interests, cartels, accumulated wealth, the power establishment and mass media to hide behind the ideology of the free market."

    Papandreou pointed to derivatives and structured bonds as "toxic products" imported by the ND government, while at the same time blaming the economy and justice ministers for state-controlled pension funds' losses.

    "We uncovered your policies and we stopped you. You accused us t hen and now as populists. Without our insistence, however, the funds would have collapsed. Beneficiaries would have lost their life's savings," Papandreou added.

    The former foreign minister also charged that the government is allocating 28 billion euros in guarantees for banks' liquidity without transparency and rules, "and without anyone knowing the true extent of every bank's problem."

    In making the statement, Papandreou reiterated that his party will vote against a relevant draft bill. In a rejoinder, Papandreou accused the government of giving a "blank check" to the banks, while attempting to "shove its problems under the rug of the international financial crisis." Responding to ND allegations that PASOK's proposals are incredibly costly and invest only in "populist practices and irresponsibility", Papandreou stated that "policy means prioritising". Finally, he lashed out at the prime minister, accusing him of trying to hide the government's problems behind the international financial crisis. Caption: ANA-MPA photo.

    [03] Deputy FM Doukas to visit Serbia

    Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas will be making an official visit to Serbia between November 2-4, accompanied by over 80 Greek businessmen and investors in an effort to further strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations at a difficult time for the countries of southeastern Europe as well, due to the international monetary crisis.

    According to a foreign ministry announcement on Friday, Doukas will be having a private meeting with the country's Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic as well as with cabinet members, such as the Energy and Mines, Trade and Services and Economy and Regional Development ministers.

    The holding of the business Conference in Belgrade on November 3, which will be inaugurated by the Serb prime minister, is of great importance for bilateral economic relations between Greece and Serbia, while the Greek and Serb businessmen will be addressed by Doukas, the Serb Economy minister, the Serb deputy minister for International Economic Relations and the governor of Serbia's National Bank, the announcement added.

    The deputy foreign minister will be concluding his visit to Belgrade on November 4 with a lecture at the private Megatrend University, with the participation of students, academics and think tank representatives.

    [04] ASE to launch two new indices on Mon.

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, Nov. 3, will begin calculation of its new indices, FTSE/ASE Liquid Mid and FTSE/ASE-CSE Bank Index, with a starting price of 2,000 points.

    The new indices will be calculated on line on a daily basis and will reviewed twice a year (April and October).

    The FTSE/ASE Liquid Mid index will monitor the activity of the 20 more traded stocks in the FTSE 40 index, with the aim of introducing a series of derivatives products and ETFs.

    The index will be comprised of AB Vassilopoulos, Alapis, Babis Vovos, GEK, Geniki Bank, Athens Water, Hellenic Exchanges, Intracom Holdings, Metka, Mechaniki, Jumbo, Thessaloniki Port, Sarantis, Sidenor, Sprider, Terna, Folli-Follie, Forthnet, Frigoglass and Fourlis.

    The FTSE/ASE-CSE Bank index will monitor activity of banking stocks included in the FTSE 20 index, the FTSE 40 index and the FTSE/CySE 20 index, with the aim of introducing a series of derivatives products. The index will comprise of Alpha Bank, ATEbank, Geniki Bank, Hellenic Bank, National Bank, Eurobank, Marfin Popular Bank, Piraeus Bank, Proton Bank, Cyprus Bank and Hellenic Postbank.

    [05] ΚΚΕ condemns gov't measures

    Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Friday, speaking at an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament on the financial crisis, called on the working classes as well as all low-income earners and pensioners to take "battle positions and counter-attack" the economic policy "operating against them."

    The communist leader termed the announced government's measures for guarantee funds and anti-poverty benefits a "smoke screen", stressing that small businesses will not benefit from the 28 billion euros allocated as liquidity guarantees to combat the credit crisis' effects on the local money market.

    Papariga criticised and condemned ruling party New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK proposals, citing pretexts in the name of the crisis "that will eventually entrap the workers and tabled her party law proposal for the protection of the lower incomes, the amelioration of indirect taxation in heating oil and popular products.

    She also accused the prime minister of only describing the symptoms of the international credit crisis without explaining their origin.

    "The crisis always arrives after major profits and stems from the manipulation of the working classes. This period has reached a dead end and cannot be repeated. It's the policy that consciously suspends state interventions, allowing themarket remain uncontrolled," Papariga said, who also criticised Papandreou.

    Papariga condemned the government's decision to privatise national carrier Olympic Airways, stressing that her party's opposition has nothing to do whether OA is sold to Gulf State-based owner, but the fact that the company will be closed.

    "Whichever measure you take is against the working class and benefits the businesses. Who will you control a market with strong monopolies? By emptying the workers' pockets" referring to the two major parties.

    The difference between the two parties is that government proposes measures to assist the bank's profit while PASOK's measures are hot money via the industrialists. This is an illusion. When we refer to workers protection we refer to borrowers' protection with public housing programmes.

    Caption: ANA-MPA photo.

    [06] Deadline for OA bids Friday night

    Investors interested in national air carrier Olympic Airlines (OA) will be announced next week, Transport and Communication Minister Costis Hatzidakis said after meeting with a Europarliament transportation committee delegation. The group was headed by European Parliament first vice-president Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, a Greek Euro-MP . Hatzidakis clarified that the deadline for prospective bids ends on Friday evening. Bids will subsequently be evaluated by special investment advisers working for the government. The meeting with the European Parliament delegation focused on transportation issues, with an emphasis on loss-making Hellenic Railways (OSE) and debt-ridden Olympic Airlines. Hatzidakis briefed Euro-MPs on the OA privatisation plan and confirmed that OA domestic flights linking the mainland with numerous Greek islands will continue uninterrupted through subsidisation on unprofitable routes. Caption: ANA-MPA file photo.

    [07] ASE up for third straight day

    Greek stocks recovered more ground at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, remaining in a recovery course for the third consecutive session. The composite index rose 2.50 pct to end at 2,060.31 points, with turnover a moderate 251.3 million euros, of which 10.1 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved higher with the exception of the Travel sector which fell 0.85 pct. Oils (10.02 pct), Raw Materials (6.64 pct), Food/Beverage (6.61 pct), Insurance (6.37 pct) and Commerce (6.09 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.81 pct, the FTSE 40 index was up 2.61 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 2.32 pct higher. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 193 to 52 with another 42 issues unchanged.

    Caption: ANA-MPA photo

    [08] 2 new ASE indices on Monday

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, Nov. 3, will begin calculation of its new indices, FTSE/ASE Liquid Mid and FTSE/ASE-CSE Bank Index, with a starting price of 2,000 points.

    The new indices will be calculated on line on a daily basis and will reviewed twice a year (April and October).

    The FTSE/ASE Liquid Mid index will monitor the activity of the 20 more traded stocks in the FTSE 40 index, with the aim of introducing a series of derivatives products and ETFs.

    The index will be comprised of AB Vassilopoulos, Alapis, Babis Vovos, GEK, Geniki Bank, Athens Water, Hellenic Exchanges, Intracom Holdings, Metka, Mechaniki, Jumbo, Thessaloniki Port, Sarantis, Sidenor, Sprider, Terna, Folli-Follie, Forthnet, Frigoglass and Fourlis.

    The FTSE/ASE-CSE Bank index will monitor activity of banking stocks included in the FTSE 20 index, the FTSE 40 index and the FTSE/CySE 20 index, with the aim of introducing a series of derivatives products. The index will comprise of Alpha Bank, ATEbank, Geniki Bank, Hellenic Bank, National Bank, Eurobank, Marfin Popular Bank, Piraeus Bank, Proton Bank, Cyprus Bank and Hellenic Postbank.


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