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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis in Brussels on Monday
  • [02] Demis Nikolaidis resigns as AEK Athens president
  • [03] Doukas on visit to Belgrade
  • [04] Super League soccer results

  • [01] PM Karamanlis in Brussels on Monday

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be leaving for Brussels on Monday afternoon. He will be holding talks with European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens and Eurogroup President and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.

    The prime minister will also address a conference jointly organised by the European Policy Studies Centre and the "Constantine Karamanlis Foundation" on European integration.

    Meanwhile, the prime minister announced measures to fortify the real economy 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," Karamanlis 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."

    [02] Demis Nikolaidis resigns as AEK Athens president

    Demis Nikolaidis announced on Sunday night that he was resigning from his post as president of Athens soccer club AEK, shortly after his team beat Asteras Tripoli 2-1 at home with a goal scored in injury time, adding that his resignation was final and irrevocable.

    The 35-year-old official focused on the jeering he experienced from AEK's supporters, as did team coach George Donis, and explained his decision by saying that he did not wish to be president of a team where such situations occurred.

    [03] Doukas on visit to Belgrade

    Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas said in an interview with the Serb Tanjug news agency that Greece desires to have an active presence in Serbia and to strengthen its European perspective.

    Doukas began a two-day visit to Belgrade on Sunday, accompanied by over 90 Greek businessmen who are interested in investing in Serbia.

    "In this difficult period, we, being a longstanding partner of the Serb people, wish to show strong confidence and support for the Serb economy and for its future perspectives," he said.

    "We wish to bring investments and knowledge with the aim of enriching the infrastructures of Serbia, as well as to contribute to the implementation of our common goal, the creation of a peaceful and prospering region through our incessant cooperation," Doukas added.

    The Greek deputy foreign minister, who is responsible for economic diplomacy, stressed that Greek investments in Serbia have exceeded 2.5 billion euros and that over 27,000 Serb citizens are employed by Greek businesses.

    [04] Super League soccer results

    Olympiakos Piraeus retained its lead in the Super League after beating visiting Ergotelis Crete 2-0 at Karaiskaki Stadium over the weekend. Panathinaikos Athens edged Panionios Athens 2-1 away and AEK Athens downed Asteras Tripoli 2-1 at home with the winning goal being scored in injury time. Panathinaikos is fourth and AEK fifth in the standings, behind Xanthi and PAOK who are second and third respectively.

    In other action:

    Levadiakos Livadia-Panseraikos Serres 0-0

    Aris Thessaloniki-Larissa 0-0

    OFI Crete-Xanthi 0-2

    Panthrakikos Komotini-Thrasyvoulos Athens 1-0

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-PAOK Thessaloniki 1-1

    Standings after eight weeks of play:

    1. Olympiakos 19 points

    2. Xanthi 17

    3. PAOK 16

    4. Panathinaikos 14

    5. AEK 13

    6. Larissa 12

    7. Ergotelis 12

    8. Panionios 11

    9. Aris 10

    10. Panthrakikos 10

    11. Levadiakos 9

    12. Panseraikos 8

    13. Asteras 7

    14. Iraklis 5

    15. Thrasyvoulos 4

    16. OFI 4


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