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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-22

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Gov't to offer support to SMEs
  • [02] Papandreou visits "Doctors of the World"
  • [03] Papandreou visits "Doctors of The World"
  • [04] Ships remain in ports due to rough seas
  • [05] Athens Stock Exchange: Decline
  • [06] SYRIZA presents its main goals

  • [01] PM: Gov't to offer support to SMEs

    The Greek government is determined to offer financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises amid an international financial crisis, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters, during a visit to the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greek Premier stressed that the whole of the European Union has fallen into recession and noted that the crisis is hitting consumption, production and commerce, while unemployment was on the rise.

    The Greek economy was still resisting pressures from an international crisis but 2009 would be a difficult year for all, Karamanlis said, adding that the government's aim was to limit the impact and to safeguarding benefits gained in the previous years.

    The Greek PM said it was a top policy priority to offer support to sectors of the economy suffering from an international crisis, such as supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises. He said that the biggest part of a government-sponsored plan to boost liquidity in the economy would be chanelled to funding SMEs, while the government would also offer financial support to enterprises hit by vandalisms during recent street protests.

    Karamanlis said the government was transfering funds from a Fourth Community Support Framework to SMEs, while it was introducing new measures to boost enterpreunship among young people and women. The government will take every measure needed - which is feasible- to deal with the crisis.

    It is in the midst of this environment that we all have to make decisive choices for the future of this country, the PM said, adding that the government was choosing the uphill road of responsibility, "Our only choice," he stressed.

    On Sunday evening, Karamanlis launched a sharp counter-attack against the opposition in Parliament, especially against the main opposition leader, as the premier and ruling New Democracy party leader spearheaded the charge for the government's tabled 2009 draft budget amid a threatening global economic crisis and recent street violence in the country.

    Less than an hour after Karamanlis left the podium, a roll call vote produced 151 votes in favour, 146 against and one MP -- recently removed from ruling ND's parliamentary group -- declaring "present". Out of the 300 Parliament deputies, 298 participated in the roll call vote just after midnight in a nationally televised session.

    "In this very difficult juncture, certain individuals, and primarily the main opposition, merely ignore the real challenges faced by the country, sacrificing the collective national good in self-serving games ... Employing a wooden and condemnatory language, enormous inaccuracies, lies and empty promises they do not solve problems. The only thing they do is demonstrate their massive and dangerous irresponsibility," the prime minister charged from Parliament's podium.

    In referring to PASOK president George Papandreou by name, Karamanlis said the main opposition leader and former foreign minister maligned the country's image abroad with his published comments in international media last week, at the height of street violence following the shooting of teen in central Athens by a police officer.

    Moreover, he didn't mince his words in condemning "extremist groups who attack the economy, social peace and democracy."

    Karamanlis said these small and extreme groups, "‚¶taking advantage of the sorrow felt for the tragic loss of a child unleash violent and catastrophic attacks ‚¶ We will continue to speak with clear statements, not minced words. They are attacking society and democracy itself. They are indifferent to the toil of their fellow citizens, to the costs that burden taxpayers, to the desperation of wage-earners in affected businesses, to the damage done to the tourism sector. In violating every concept of university asylum, they have transformed our higher education institutes into firebombers' bases."

    Conversely, the premier said the struggles of working people and peaceful demonstrations had nothing to do with the firebombings and the "catastrophic mania of the extremists".

    In again turning his criticism to PASOK's Papandreou, the PM charged that "no one should act the part of a spreader of doom-saying slogans, not even the PASOK leader. Yet, he nevertheless reached the point, in an interview with an Italian magazine, of spreading the notion that the slogan in Athens is 'millions of dollars to the bankers and bullets for the pupils'."

    As per press speculation regarding "coalition government", which Papandreou also referred to, Karamanlis said these are the products of "scenario writers sitting next to you, right and left. We are strong and are doing our job."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of prime minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] Papandreou visits "Doctors of the World"

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou visited Medecins du Monde-Greece's (MDM-Doctors of the World, a non-governmental humanitarian aid organization), open polyclinic and hostel, where he spoke with the doctors, the staff and with migrants.

    "We Greeks are a nation that knows what migration means, the pain of leaving one's homland and immigration. For this reason I want to congratulate the Doctors of the World who are making a tremendous effort to provide shelter and medical care and to manifest humanity to those people seeking a different future and have came to Greece looking for a new homeland. We must take measures to integrate them, to assist them and support them. We must unite our forces," stated Papandreou after the visit.

    "In a period of international crisis, which makes the conditions for migrants and refugees even harder, Greece must be a land that will set the example; and this is our goal," said the PASOK leader.

    Speaking in Parliament on Sunday evening, Papandreou stressed that the economic crisis will deepen for as long as New Democracy party remains in power, charging that five years were enough to prove the major differences existing between ND and PASOK.

    Papandreou stressed that those seeking an extension of the present crisis will find no helping hand from PASOK, while to those promoting scenarios of joint rule to "protect their privileges and their parasitical jobs, PASOK tells them outright to look elsewhere. Not to PASOK."

    In a categorical way, the PASOK leader ruled out any prospect of a governing coalition with ND and called for the immediate holding of early elections, saying the "the ruling party is part of the crisis and not of the solution to the problems."

    He further pointed out that "we are not interested in solutions that save ND in order to get some ministerial seats. We are interested in the future of Greece."

    Papandreou went on to say that "if everything is going so well, why is the changing of the finance minister at the epicentre of the reshuffle. I don't know if you will find anyone to become a laughing stock to serve your economic policy. The result will be the same: You will not deceive anyone."

    The PASOK leader also focused on the mobilisations of young people, saying that their voice "is in danger of being buried behind the clashes between the riot police and the hooded assailants."

    He promised to call on the leaderships of the remaining opposition parties "to do all that we can to guarantee the rostrum for young people, without any intention of manipulation or party exploitation."

    Lastly, Papandreou said "there is a mood for society to take its fate in its hands in the face of phenomena of violence. PASOK is here to define a new course. We shall shape new consensuses and with a treaty of confidence for the Greek man and the Greek woman we shall turn authoritarianism into dialogue."

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

    [03] Papandreou visits "Doctors of The World"

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou visited Medecins du Monde-Greece's (MDM-Doctors of the World, a non-governmental humanitarian aid organization), open polyclinic and hostel, where he spoke with the doctors, the staff and with migrants.

    "We Greeks are a nation that knows what migration means, the pain of leaving one's homeland and immigration. For this reason I want to congratulate the Doctors of the World who are making a tremendous effort to provide shelter and medical care and to manifest humanity to those people seeking a different future and have came to Greece looking for a new homeland. We must take measures to integrate them, to assist them and support them. We must unite our forces," stated Papandreou after the visit.

    "In a period of international crisis, which makes the conditions for migrants and refugees even harder, Greece must be a land that will set the example; and this is our goal," said the PASOK leader.

    [04] Ships remain in ports due to rough seas

    All passenger ferryboats were not allowed to leave the ports of Piraeus, Lavrio and Rafina on Monday due to the 9-10 Beaufort-strong northeasterly winds blowing at sea, while a Coast Guard-issued advisory warns ships to set anchor in the nearest port. Meanwhile, the Panamanian-flag cargo ship "Tina F" with a 12-member crew on board has gone adrift off the northern coasts of the Aegean island of Sifnos while en route to Sicily carrying cement. A tugboat from Piraeus is on its way to the area.

    [05] Athens Stock Exchange: Decline

    Equity prices were declining on Monday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 0.21 percent, standing at 1,728.06 points at 14:15 p.m., and turnover at 41.5 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the biggest gains in Media, up 3.90 percent; Technology, up 2.90 percent; Construction, up 2.43 percent; and Raw Materials, up 2.22 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Insurance, down 3.40 percent; Oil and Gas, down 3.49 percent; and Telecoms, down 2.48 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 0.04 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.54 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 0.37 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 87 were up, 101 were down, and 44 were unchanged.

    [06] SYRIZA presents its main goals

    The Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Secretariat headed by Alekos Alavanos presented the party's main goals in response to the economic, social and political crisis experienced by the country. In a press conference on Monday, Alavanos stressed that the "two-party model of governance has run its course" in Greece, while adding that the ruling New Democracy (ND) party was going through a major crisis. He went on to say that an effort was being made to "help the system survive through calls for a grand coalition and appointment of government ministers enjoying wide acceptance". Alavanos also referred to the major movement in search of new prospects which found support among the youth as indicated by the latest developments following the police killing of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos in Exarchia, Athens earlier in December. The first draft plan of SYRIZA's immediate goals will be presented in early 2009 while a more detailed debate will be held in the party convention scheduled to take place in March. As regards the allegations that SYRIZA is behind the hooded rioters, Alavanos stated that soon the accusers will have to change their stance. On the State budget rejected by SYRIZA in parliament in Sunday's vote, he said that "the allocation of funds presented constituted an insult to the workers and the young". Alavanos also stated that it will be unthinkable for Greece to be brought before the International Monetary Fund because such a move would constitute the end of the Euro-zone. On the likelihood of cooperation with other parties, he responded that SYRIZA's proposals are being directed to all political forces active in environmental politics. Among the immediate goals of SYRIZA are the country's withdrawal from NATO and the shutting down of the bases in Suda and Aktio, the immediate withdrawal of Greece's signature from the Treaty of Lisbon, the abolition of the Stability Pact and the nationalization of all privatized companies. Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos
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