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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Christofias meets Papoulias
  • [02] FinMin at Ecofin meeting
  • [03] ASE, ADEX closed on Wednesday

  • [01] Christofias meets Papoulias

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, who arrived in Athens late Tuesday afternoon, will hold on Wednesday talks with President Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Greece's political leaders.

    Addressing visiting new Cyprus President Demetris Christofias during an official reception on Tuesday evening, Greek President Karolos Papoulias called for an end to the Turkish occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as for a viable and functional solution to the political problem on the island.

    "You assume the highest office of the Republic of Cyprus in times which continue to be difficult. We believe, however, that it is time to put an end to the inadmissible situation whereby a European Union member-state is occupied by Turkey, and to demolish the last wall still dividing a European capital," Papoulias said.

    "The July 8, 2006 agreement constitutes an important step towards this direction and must be implemented as soon as possible. We look forward to a solution to the Cyprus problem without rigid timeframes, a viable and functional solution that will guarantee the withdrawal of the occupation force and settlers, full sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Cyprus Republic within the framework of a bizonal, bi-communal federation; a solution based on United Nations resolutions; (a solution) which will abide by European principles and values, one that will fully safeguard human rights and within its (solution) framework the operation of the State of Cyprus will be affair of the Cypriots themselves, without foreign interventions and arbitration," the Greek president underlined.

    "Cyprus has endured many difficulties. The will of the people of Cyprus for the island's reunification and a prosperous Cyprus, an EU member-state, has not and will not weaken. Especially today when Cyprus has succeeded in becoming a member of the European family and in participating in its inviolable principles and values," Papoulias said, expressing the Greek state and political leadership's support for Cyprus. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The July 2006 agreement was clinched between former Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, during a meeting in Nicosia in the presence of then UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari. It provides for a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Caption: Greek President Karolos Papoulias(R) receives Cyprus President Demetris Christofias(L)on Tuesday 4 March 2008 at the presidential mansion.ANA-MPA/ALEXANDROS BELTES

    [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 in Brussels. Speaking to reporters, after a meeting of EU Economy and Finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, 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.

    [03] ASE, ADEX closed on Wednesday

    The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) and Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) will remain closed to trading on Wednesday until further notice from the Bank of Greece (BoG),the country's central bank, announced the Athens Stock Market (ASE) president Spyros Kapralos.

    The BoG's central target system remains out of operation and the clearing of the transactions is impossible due to a strike by BoG's employees.

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