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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Gov't plan aimed at real economy, citizens
  • [02] Papandreou at con'f on combating trafficking
  • [03] Athens appoints agents in ICJ case

  • [01] PM: Gov't plan aimed at real economy, citizens

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday toured the central Greek prefecture of Magnesia and the port city of Volos, where he visited the city's chamber of commerce and met with its board as well as representatives of producer classes in the prefecture.

    During his address at the Volos chamber of commerce, the prime minister referred specifically to the ongoing global financial crisis.

    "To today's challenges we respond with an organised plan. We have, from the first moment, guaranteed all bank deposits; we took measures to protect borrowers; we have forbidden the foreclosures of people's primary residence. Our plan to fortify liquidity in market will send 28 billion euros to real economy; this is the truth."

    Karamanlis criticised what he called the "well-known and permanent deniers of everything, the ones who are attempting to twist the truth ... These people claim that we're handing out money to the bankers. The truth is crystal clear: We are not offering anything to anyone. We will not spend a single cent from the state budget. The citizens will not be burdened, but on the contrary, the citizens will benefit. This plan is for depositors' benefit; it will benefit small and medium sized businesspeople that need money to engage in commerce".

    Referring to the draft state budget, he said: "There are some who want to misinform, to scare-monger and lie. I repeat once more: there will be no extra taxes. Extra revenue for the budget will come from the measures against tax evasion and projected economy growth".

    Karamanlis also referred to farmers and unemployed, stating that the government will support farmers by offering a 150-million-euros loan without interest to farm unions in order funnel cash advances to farm producers.

    Regarding unemployment, the premier underlined that his first priority is the protection of the labour market and boosting employment.

    "We have announced the hiring of 200,000 people in public sector in 2009 and we are speeding up and with even stronger determination reforms and changes, which is the only way leading to the economy's development, to new investments and the creation of new jobs.

    "I am fully aware that households are being pressured, and are going through harder times. We have taken and will take any possible measure in the future. But I must state that I will not put jeopardise the achievements we've made in the past years, ones that have allowed our economy to better resist (the economic downturn) than those of our EU associates".

    Concluding, the prime minister said problems are not solved with hopes and prayers but with serious and responsible policies.

    "From being pleasant for a while I choose to be useful for the country. The challenge for all of us is clear. Each and every one of us must make his choices, choosing between mere impressions and substantive result; between prayers and real solutions; between superficiality and seriousness, in the final analysis, between irresponsibility and responsibility."

    Afterwards, Karamanlis was toured a new tunnel project on the Volos ring road, speaking with construction workers and engineers.

    He concluded his tour of the prefecture by visiting a local dairy cooperative.

    PASOK reax

    In a later reaction, a main opposition PASOK spokesman responded by saying that "Mr. Karamanlis visited Volos today as New Democracy's leader not as the prime minister."

    According to spokesman George Papaconstantinou, prime minister's priority was not to find solutions for people's problems but to support his collapsing image and criticise PASOK," adding that such old-fashioned recipes are not trusted any more.


    On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called on the people to "rise to their stature and stop tolerating the trickery and blackmailing by the government and the Maastricht parties."

    "It is the responsibility of wage-earners, the unemployed, the self-employed and the small-to-medium sized farmers not to be fooled or frightened, and to not pay for the repercussions of the crisis for which they are not responsible," a KKE announcement read.

    Finally, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) said the draft 2009 budget "will lead the economy into recession and a majority of society into more difficult times."

    [02] Papandreou at con'f on combating trafficking

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou on Sunday addressed an international conference in Athens convened on the issue of "combating forced labour and trafficking", hosted by Greece's largest umbrella trade group, GSEE.

    During his address, Papandreou warned that some 20 million people worldwide are being held under conditions of forced labour, of which 5.7 million are children. In touching on international scourge, the PASOK leader also referred to figures showing that roughly 1.8 million children also fall victim to sexual exploitation.

    Regarding trafficking, Papandreou said Greece was not immune, pointing to certain spots in the centre of Athens that are rife with prostitution and drug-dealing.

    Along those lines, the head of the main opposition criticised the Greek government's migration policy for a lack of political volition and of being a mere "observer" vis-à-vis the problem, saying that illegality and lack of transparency facilitate trafficking. He also referred to a lack of an effective legal framework for migration in Greece.

    Papandreou, a former foreign minister in PASOK governments up until March 2004, lamented the fact that Athens has not ratified the 2000 Palermo Protocol and the CoE's treaty (2005) for combating trafficking. He also proposed the holding of the 3rd International Forum for Migration in the western Greek port city of Patras, while reminding that his party has tabled specific proposals for immigrants.

    Turning to the SI's initiatives, Papandreou charged that the ongoing global credit and economic crisis is nothing more than "an example of inequality".

    Finally, he said SI maintains that the flow of capital to so-called "tax shelters" or off-shore destinations must be monitored, along with capital's attempts to slip by countries' labour laws.

    [03] Athens appoints agents in ICJ case

    The Greek foreign ministry on Sunday announced that Athens' appointment for ad hoc judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague -- in the wake of last week's legal challenge by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) against Greece -- is noted Greek jurist and international law professor Emmanuel Roukounas.

    Moreover, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that veteran Amb. Georgios Savvaidis, along with Greece's ambassador in the Netherlands, Amb. Constantinos Rallis, and the ministry's legal adviser, Maria Telalian, have been appointed as the EU member-state's agents in the ICJ legal proceedings.

    Koumoutsakos reiterated that the Greek government has already assembled a team of international and domestic legal experts with extensive ICJ experience to represent the country and mobilised the ministry's legal and archival departments.

    In a related development, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis briefed main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou over the government's decisions vis-à-vis the latest challenge by the Gruevski government in Skopje following the collapse of fYRoM's NATO membership bid last April.

    Other such briefings for political party leaders will follow, Koumoutsakos said.

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