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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-04

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM meets with education minister
  • [02] FinMin at Ecofin meeting

  • [01] PM meets with education minister

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Tuesday with Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis.

    After the meeting, Stylianidis said that he briefed the prime minister on the outcome of the recent meeting of university rectors and Technological Educational Institutes (TEI) presidents.

    He stressed that the first round of institutional reform has been completed, and each party involved should assume their share of responsibility in implementing the law.

    Stylianidis stated that the tertiary education institutions that implement the regulations approved will have a priority in the funding of post-graduate studies, adding that Greece comparatively allocates more money to higher education, 1.8 percent of the GDP.

    He also noted that the 2.2-billion-euro education ministry operational programme has been approved and will be funded by the 4th CSF.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis ÔŪ Tuesday met with former New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert at his Maximos Mansion office in Athens. No comments were made afterwards.

    Karamanlis also met on Tuesday with former New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert. No comments were made afterwards.

    [02] FinMin at Ecofin meeting

    The Greek government agreed with the conclusions adopted by ECOFIN over the country‚s Stability and Growth Program, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday in Brussels. Speaking to reporters, after a meeting of EU Economy and Finance ministers in Brussels, the Greek minister stressed that the Greek economy has shown a significant fiscal adjustment over the last four years, with its fiscal deficit dropping to below 3.0 pct of GDP last year from 7.3 pct in 2004.

    Alogoskoufis noted that the country‚s updated Stability Program also completed a second phase of a fiscal consolidation program, envisaging an 1.2 pct of GDP cut of the country‚s fiscal deficit this year and reductions of 0.8 pct and 0.7 pct over the next two years, respectively, more than a 0.5 pct annual cut envisaged in a revised Stability and Growth Pact. The Greek minister said that the Council‚s conclusions also acknowledged a very big effort made by Greece, not only in improving revenues to promoting a more effective control of public spending. Alogoskoufis said a combination of fiscal consolidation with high growth rates will continue over the coming years.

    Commenting on the Lisbon Strategy, Alogoskoufis said a new three-year round was beginning and that structural reforms were preconditions for boosting the European economy‚s growth and competitiveness and raising employment levels.

    The Greek minister said a text on a voluntary code recommended on foreign state investment funds -to be discussed in a EU summit this month- was very close to the Greek government‚s views and was aiming to ensure the attractiveness of European economy as an investment destination. Our aims is not to create a fortress Europe, nor to limit the inflow of capital into the region, but to introduce certain rules ensuring the public interest and national security interests from the attitudes of either state investment funds or other forms of capital.

    Commenting on the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation issue, Alogoskoufis said there was not answer from community services. Greece has introduced a 20 percent equity limit for foreign shareholders in the Organisation.

    Alogoskoufis expressed the hope that the Bank of Greece would ensure smooth operations of payment systems in the country, after a central bank‚s workers' strike kept the country‚s payment system closed for the second consecutive day.

    The Greek minister said discussions over finding the next head for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has not yet concluded, but he noted that the German candidate was the frontrunner for the job. He said that the Greek candidate, former Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, was very familiar with the Council.


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