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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM to meet with Serb counterpart
  • [02] Papandreou to meet with bankers
  • [03] Kassimis at UN conference
  • [04] Banks back government's plan
  • [05] Wildfire on Mt. Athos

  • [01] PM to meet with Serb counterpart

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will meet with his visiting Serbian counterpart Mirko Cvetkovic shortly after noon on Tuesday.

    Earlier, Karamanlis is scheduled to have separate meetings with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    Cvetkovic will also give a press conference at a central Athens hotel, and will later be received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    On Monday night, the premier addressed a new message to banks on their participation in the plan regarding 28 billion euros to support liquidity in the market, while speaking at an event on the European Investments Bank's 50th anniversary held at the Athens Concert Hall. "Participation in the plan is voluntary. However, we have made it clear that no one has the right to convey the repercussions of whatever different decisions of his to loan holders," he said.

    "The state has the possibility of securing this target. The government is determined (and it has the way) not to allow attitudes at the expense of society, at the expense of collective interest," the prime minister added.

    He outlined the main aspects of the Greek plan to tackle the crisis that is aimed at decreasing inter-bank interest rates and interest rates for loans to households and businesses.

    It is also aimed at securing liquidity and the continuation of credit expansion, with emphasis being placed on the funding of small and medium-size enterprises and the granting of housing loans.

    "The Greek plan does not burden the taxpayers and it does not deduct even one euro from the state budget. On the contrary, indeed, its full implementation can produce public revenues of up to 500 million euros, which we commit ourselves to be utilised for the backing of the Social Cohesion Fund and of Public Investments," the prime minister added.

    Karamanlis underlined that the government's main aim is support for the real economy, entrepreneurship, employment and for the weaker and the average economic classes.

    The prime minister referred to the international economic crisis, saying that special situations require special decisions and strong reflexes and noted that the government has proved its response to the new requirements in practice.

    Karamanlis went on to say that the Greek economy has far greater endurance compared to many others. Despite the international crisis, both the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have predicted, as he said, that in 2009 Greece will have growth rates reaching 2 percent and 2.5 percent of GDP respectively.

    "The Greek economy's perspective is far better compared to the Eurozone. And this is of major importance. Our immediate aim, now, is to restrict as much as possible the unfavourable repercussions of international pressure. For this purpose, we are in a state of constant vigilance," he added.

    The prime minister added that a second aim of major importance is supporting the real economy and the citizens who are in greater need.

    Lastly, Karamanlis praised the contribution of the European Investments Bank to Greece's development from 1963 (when it financed the Corinth-Patra national motorway) until today.

    CAPTION: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] Papandreou to meet with bankers

    PASOK party leader George Papandreou will receive a number of leading domestic bankers at the party's headquarters on Tuesday, according to a party announcement.

    Papandreou will be meeting on Tuesday with National Bank CEO Takis Arapoglou, Eurobank Managing Director Nikos Nanopoulos, Bank of Piraeus President Mihalis Sallas and Marfin Bank Vice-President Andreas Vgenopoulos.

    Papandreou is also expected to meet the boards of Alpha Bank and the Emporiki Bank in the coming days.

    Papandreou, speaking on Monday after his meeting with social partners for talks on problems concerning the economic and credit crisis, said that the situation requires political initiatives.

    Papandreou ascertained that his party's proposals are "meeting with wider acceptance" and stressed that this is not the time for wellwishing or for blank cheques to banks and rejected an economic policy which is unfair.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou

    [03] Kassimis at UN conference

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis will be representing Greece at the UN General Assembly's high level two-day conference on November 12-13 on the theme of "The culture of peace."

    According to an announcement by the UN, the issue "Towards a culture of peace" had been initially examined during the General Assembly's 50th and 51st sessions under the chapter of "Human Rights," while a relevant General Assembly resolution had proclaimed 2000 "An International Year for the Culture of Peace."

    U.S. President George W. Bush will be participating, among others, in the two-day conference and he is expected to make an address from the General Assembly's podium for the last time.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis.

    [04] Banks back government's plan

    A government-sponsored plan unveiled to support the banking sector in Greece cope with the international financial crisis has the support of the overwhelming majority of the banks operating in the country, according to statements issued by the Hellenic Bank Association (HBA) and the Association of Co-operative Banks of Greece (ACBG).

    According to an HBA statement, ?the suggested measures are moving on the right direction in support of the Greek economy and therefore they have the backing of the association despite the disagreement voiced by certain of its members.? Banks, however, act individually as provided by the legislation on competitiveness and there can be no interbank agreement within the framework of the HBA, the statement reads.

    On their part the 16 banks represented by ACBG serving roughly 200,000 customers, private individuals and small-medium sized companies, notified Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis Monday on their intention to join the 28-billion-euro package extending credit to households and small and medium sized investors. According to ACBG, the preconditions and terms set will ensure transparency, allow for state control and keep the cost of money under control.

    Furthermore, all co-operative banks participate in the Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises (TEMPME SA) facilitating access of small and very small enterprises to the country‚s financial system by providing guarantees and undertaking part of their financial and commercial risk.

    [05] Wildfire on Mt. Athos

    A fire broke out late Monday night in a forested area on Mt. Athos, but was not threatening monasteries in the all-male monastic community, firefighters said Tuesday morning.

    The fire broke out at 11:30 p.m., in the Petrovouno area of Mt. Athos, and was burning pine trees and brush.

    A strong firefighting force from Halkidiki and Thessaloniki rushed to Mt. Athos immediately after the blaze broke out, but firefighting efforts were being hampered by strong northeasterly winds blowing in the area and the inaccessible terrain.

    Firefighters battled the blaze throughout the night, while airborne assistance was despatched at dawn.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of a fire engines operating at a wildfire at Kliston Monastery.

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