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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Folias rules out power company rate hike
  • [02] Greek current accounts deficit up 16.7% in Jan-Sep
  • [03] Strike at Athens metro on Thursday, Friday

  • [01] Folias rules out power company rate hike

    With a pledge that electricity rates will remain unchanged in 2009, Development Minister Christos Folias addressed Wednesday's meeting of ruling New Democracy's Parliamentary group on the international financial crisis by urging those present to "change crisis into opportunity".

    He then went on to list the tools at his ministry's disposal for winning what he called this "national wager" and alleviating the repercussions of the crisis.

    "We stand at the side of small and medium-sized enterprises, who are the backbone of the Greek economy," he stressed, pointing to plans for the creation of a fund to guarantee loans on favourable terms for SMEs.

    "It essentially amounts to a full subsidy of the interest," the development minister told MPs and representatives of trade and industry associations attending the meeting.

    He also pointed to the simplification of state transactions involving businesses, which had become faster and provided more opportunities for enterprise, such the ability to found limited and societe anonyme companies in a single day.

    "A third weapon is the support of consumers," stressed Folias, and added that "grey zones" would be eradicated from the market, which would soon acquire its own supervisory body acting as a sort of market financial crimes squad.

    A fourth "weapon", according to Folias, was that the government was "putting an end to the abusive practices of banks".

    "Already, two banks have been cautioned about making unilateral changes in the terms for loans," he said.

    The minister stressed, also, that the Greek market was subject to controls and not a place where businesses were free to do as they liked, as indicated by the fact that price rises in supermarkets had been curbed and inflation reduced from 4.9 percent in July to 4.6 percent in September.

    He promised that the government would put an end to abuses and ruthlessness by payment collection companies by introducing a framework that would make them operate in a modern, transparent manner by the end of the month.

    Folias was addressing a meeting on the "International financial crisis: Challenge of responsibility for everyone" that was also attended by representatives of trade unions and employer associations.

    Among them was General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) president Yiannis Panagopoulos, who spoke out against the government's 28-billion-euro package for supporting bank liquidity and said that they should instead receive extra funds from their shareholders, with the state intervening only when the shareholders claimed inability by the banks' partial nationalisation. He stressed that there should be repercussions for those that were responsible for the crisis.

    Hellenic Federation of Enteprises (SEV) President Dimitris Daskalopoulos spoke of a "collapse of ruthless financial capitalism" and warned that no sector and no social group could avoid the repercussions of the coming economic crisis.

    He underlined the need for a new correlation between society, economics and politics that included a shift away from the virtual financial economy to the real economy.

    Other speakers included the president of the General Confederation of Craft and Commerce Professionals of Greece (GSEBEE) Dimitris Asimakopoulos, who stressed the need for measures specifically targeting SMEs, the head of the farmers' federation PASEGES Mihalis Voumvoulakis and the head of the National Federation of Greek Commerce Vassilis Korkidis.

    [02] Greek current accounts deficit up 16.7% in Jan-Sep

    Greece's current accounts deficit widened by 16.7 pct in the nine-month period from January to September, totaling 21.08 billion euros, compared with the corresponding period last year, the Bank of Greece announced on Wednesday.

    The central bank, in a report, said the worsening current accounts deficit mainly reflected a 14.5-pct increase in the trade deficit to 34.1 billion euros in the same period.

    The trade deficit widened by 4.3 billion euros in the nine-month period, reflecting higher net payments on fuel imports (3.401 billion euros), while excluding ships and fuel, export proceeds jumped 17 pct or 1.512 billion euros, while import payments rose by 8.1 pct or 2.316 billion euros. On the other hand, the services' surplus grew by 1.186 billion euros, reflecting higher net proceeds from transportation services (shipping), while net proceeds from travel services grew by only 180 million euros as travel spending by foreigners grew 4.0 pct and net payments by Greeks abroad grew by 12.5 pct.

    The incomes' deficit widened by 1.214 billion euros, reflecting higher net payments for interest, dividends and profits. The financial transactions balance recorded a net inflow of 1.124 billion euros in direct investments and a net outflow of 17.967 billion euros in portfolio investments.

    [03] Strike at Athens metro on Thursday, Friday

    The Athens Metro will be not working on Thursday and Friday due to strike action by metro staff demanding the signature of a new collective labour agreement for 2008. All metro staff have announced a 24-hour strike on Thursday, followed by another 24-hour strike by the metro train drivers on Friday. This means that all metro services will effectively come to a standstill for the next two days.
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