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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek GDP to rise 2.5% in '09
  • [02] Gov't refers to 30 OA bidders
  • [03] Greek stocks end 2.83% up
  • [04] Patriarch refers to standing problems
  • [05] Pella archaeological site opens

  • [01] Greek GDP to rise 2.5% in '09

    Economic growth rates in Greece will exceed Eurozone's average growth rates in the 2009-2010 period, the European Commission said in its autumn forecasts on the EU economy.

    The EU's executive said it expected Greek GDP to grow by 2.5 pct in 2009 and 2.6 pct in 2010, sharply up from 0.1 pct and 0.9 pct in the Eurozone over the same period, respectively and growth rates of 0.2 pct and 1.1 pct in the EU-27. Greek economic growth was 3.1 pct in 2008, the Commission said.

    The country's fiscal deficit was 3.5 pct of GDP in 2007 and was expected to fall to 2.5 pct of GDP this year. The Commission forecasts that the Greek fiscal deficit would fall to 2.2 pct in 2009 only to rise again to 3.0 pct in 2010. Public debt was 94.8 pct of GDP in 2007 and was expected to ease to 93.4 pct in 2008, 92.2 pct in 2009 and 91.9 pct in 2010. Greek unemployment is forecast to rise to 9.0 pct in 2008 (7.6 pct in the Eurozone and 7.0 pct in the EU-27), rising to 9.2 pct in 2009 (8.4 pct and 7.8 pct in the Eurozone and in the EU-27) and to 9.3 pct in 2010 (8.7 pct and 8.1 pct, respectively).

    The EU executive also forecast that Greek inflation would rise from 3.0 pct in 2007 to 4.4 pct in 2008 and to fall to 3.5 pct in 2009 and 3.3 pct in 2010).

    European Union economic growth should be 1.4 percent in 2008, half what it was in 2007, and drop even more sharply in 2009 to 0.2 percent before recovering gradually to 1.1 percent in 2010 (1.2 percent, 0.1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, for the euro area). The Commission's autumn forecasts show that the EU economies are strongly affected by the financial crisis, which is aggravating housing-market correction in several economies at a time when external demand is fading rapidly. While the important measures taken to stabilise financial markets have begun to restore confidence, the situation remains precarious and the risks to the forecasts significant. As a result, employment is set to increase only marginally in 2009-2010, after the 6 million new jobs created in 2007-2008, and unemployment is expected to rise by about 1 percent over the forecast period after being at its lowest for more than a decade.

    More positively, inflationary pressures are diminishing as oil prices fall, and the risks of second-round effects fade away. After reaching the best position since 2000, the overall budgetary position is also set to deteriorate while the rescue packages could raise public debt.

    "The economic horizon has now significantly darkened as the European Union economy is hit by the financial crisis that deepened during the autumn and is taking a toll on business and consumer confidence. Emerging economies are holding up better than the EU and the US, so far, but even they are unlikely to escape unscathed. We need a coordinated action at the EU level to support the economy similar to what we have done for the financial sector. The Commission last week set out a framework for recovery that aims to boost investment, sustain employment and demand. We are looking forward to hearing Member States' views and, especially, for a joint approach at the EU level ", said Joaquín Almunia, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner.

    The Commission's economic forecast projects EU economic growth to drop sharply to 1.4 percent in 2008. It was 2.9 percent in 2007. In 2009 the EU economy is expected to grind to a stand-still at 0.2 percent before recovering to 1.1 percent in 2010. The equivalent figures for the euro area for the period are 1.2 percent, 0.1 percent and 0.9 percent. In 2007 it was 2.7 percent.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

    [02] Gov't refers to 30 OA bidders

    The government on Monday expressed satisfaction over developments in a closely watched privatisation procedure for national carrier Olympic Airlines.

    Speaking to reporters, Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis said more than 30 business and investment groups expressed interest in buying Olympic Airlines' three companies, namely, its flight activities, the carrier's Athens airport technical base and the ground services operations.

    A deadline for submitting bids ended Friday at midnight. with submitted bids currently evaluated by the government's investment advisors. An inter-ministerial privatisations commission will meet after the evaluation is completed to unveil the names of bids, probably within the next few days.

    Hatzidakis said airline companies, investment funds and other groups are included in the 30 bidders, while he added that Greece-based Aegean Airlines and Lufthansa are not included. He did not comment on a reporter's question on whether Air France was in the list.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo.

    [03] Greek stocks end 2.83% up

    Greek stocks continued moving higher for the fifth consecutive session at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market 2.83 pct higher to end at 2,118.63 points. Turnover remained a low 268.2 million euros, of which 9.6 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved up, with the exception of the Travel sector which ended 0.21 pct down. Healthcare (11.54 pct), Food/Beverage (8.34 pct), Raw Materials (6.99 pct), Utilities (6.01 pct), Constructions (4.37 pct), Media (4.33 pct) and Technology (4.32 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 2.47 pct, the FTSE 40 index was 4.37 pct up and the FTSE 80 index rose 3.32 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 225 to 30 with another 32 issues unchanged.

    [04] Patriarch refers to standing problems

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) on Sunday addressed an event in the northern Greek city of Drama marking the 17th anniversary of his enthronement, where the "Primus inter pares" of the world's Orthodox Church leaders expressed bitterness over continuing problems facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey.

    Bartholomew again touched on the difficulties faced by the ancient Patriarchate in exercising its duties and in the preservation of the millennia-old Christian Orthodox heritage in the neighbouring country, an EU hopeful.

    Addressing the event on Sunday evening hosted by the Bishopric of Drama and the local prefecture and municipality, the Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out that "Turkey is still searching for its identity".

    "Unfortunately, we suffer the consequences of the fermentation and conflicts underway in the country, both those out in the open and those that take place unnoticed," the Ecumenical Patriarch said, before reiterating his standing support for Turkey's EU accession, despite whatever reactions expressed by a segment of the Turkish populations and certain institutions, as he said.

    Bartholomew made a special reference to the Church-owned orphanage on one of the Marmara Sea islands, Büyükada or Prinkipo, the largest of the Princes Islands. The case involving the Patriarchate orphanage was recently adjudicated by the European Court of Human Rights, with a ruling handed down in favor of the Patriarchate.

    The Patriarch said the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate will prefer to have the landmark building returned instead of any monetary compensation, while he also promised to seek recourse to the Turkish courts over 24 Greek Orthodox charitable estates (Vakufs) confiscated by the Turkish state in previous years.

    The Patriarch on Monday was set to arrive in the western port city of Patras to attend a series of civil and Church events in his honor.

    Caption: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is shown during a visit to the island of Rhodes on Oct. 15, 2008. ANA-MPA

    [05] Pella archaeological site opens

    The significant archaeological site of Pella, in northern Greece, formally opened on Monday, with Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis among the first dignitaries to tour the site and an under-construction archaeological museum expected to open in the first half of 2009. Pella was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Macedon. The city was founded by Archelaus (413-399 BC) as the capital of his kingdom, replacing the older palatial settlement of Aigai (Vergina). Pella was later the seat of King Philip II and his son Alexander the Great. Caption: A file photo dated Nov. 24, 2007 shows Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis viewing part of an exhibition at the Archaeological Museum of Vergina, close to the ancient site of Pella. ANA-MPA / STR
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