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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-12

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK congress begins Thursday
  • [02] New 'Invest in Greece Agency'
  • [03] Strikes on Thursday

  • [01] PASOK congress begins Thursday

    The main opposition PASOK's 4-day 8th congress willl begin at the indoor Tae Kwon Do Stadium on Thursday with the participation of about 7,100 delegates. Thursday's sessions will be dominated by party leader George Papandreou's main address and greetings from Greek and foreign political party delegations at the congress.

    Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, PASOK's National Council Secretary Nikos Athanasakis said that the congress will be a decisive moment for both the party and the country.

    Athanasakis said that the discussions at the congress "will of course concern PASOK, but mainly the country, society and the citizens since the country, through the responsibility of the New Democracy (ND) party government, is in a deadlock."

    He further said that the congress will be "a milestone in the party's course to enable a new unity and a new policy and social majority to be created so that the country can be led on a new course."

    Central Congress Organising Committee chief Christos Polyzogopoulos said that an "arduous and difficult effort is being completed," while also referring to the many difficulties that had to be faced in the course towards the congress, also due to intraparty frictions that had preceded and noted that PASOK "will have overcome these difficulties right after the congress and will shape a new momentum."

    Polyzogopoulos stressed that the "conditions have been created which will enable the party to be shaped from the grassroots to the top with a strong main fabric."

    The congress will begin in the afternoon with a brief introduction by Athanasakis, that will be followed by the election of a directorate and an address by party leader George Papandreou.

    Next on the list of speakers will be Polyzogopoulos and then Socialist International Secretary General Luis Ayala.

    Addresses by party representatives will follow. Ruling ND Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, Political Bureau member Costas Paraskevas from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras will be attending.

    Out of the about 7,100 delegates attending, 2,270 will be participating as institutional representatives and 4,806 as elected delegates, as is anticipated by the charter, according to which two elected delegates correspond to every one institutional representative.

    [02] New 'Invest in Greece Agency'

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday expressed optimism that Greece's economy will overcome any turbulence from turmoil in the global economy.

    Addressing an event to present a new corporate identity and new business strategy of the Hellenic Investment Centre, Alogoskoufis said the centre would be renamed into the "Invest in Greece Agency", and would be radically restructured with the aim being to attract more foreign investments in the country.

    The Greek minister underlined the achievements posted by the economy in recent years, such as investments totalling 8.5 billion euros, along with infrastructure projects worth 4.0 billion euros, part of a public/private sector partnerships programme.

    Alogoskoufis said southeastern Europe would be the ?economic miracle? of the next 15 years because of high economic growth rates and investment opportunities. He also emphasized high growth rates, totalling 4.0 pct on average in recent years in the country and a sharp reduction of fiscal deficits.

    Alogoskoufis said the east Mediterranean country offered major opportunities for foreign investments, with a significant comparative advantage of being the only country in the region to be a member of the Eurozone.

    Addressing the event, Dimitris Pazaitis, the new agency‚s chief executive, said the organization aimed to become the best partner for those wishing to invest in the country.

    [03] Strikes on Thursday

    Strikes mainly in transports and banks will be staged on Thursday in an attempt to avert a government-proposed social security system reform bill.

    Employees of the Electric Railway Service (HSAP) and the Athens Metro have called a 24-hour strike on Thursday, March 13, demanding the withdrawal of the social security bill and demanding their inclusion in heavy-duty and unhygienic work benefits, while denouncing the abolition of staff regulations at HSAP and the social security clauses of the relevant social security funds.

    The federations of employees of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), the Post Office Service (ELTA) and the Greek Railways Organisation (OSE), which will also be on strike Thursday, stressed that the bill "reverses the social security achievements of years, decreases pensions, increases pensioning ages, worsens motherhood protecton taxes and exhausts young working people."

    Moreover, the Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) has also called a 48-hour strike on Thursday and Friday over the social security issue and, consequently, in the framework of this strike, the strike at the Bank of Greece will continue.

    Lastly, lawyers and engineers employed in the public sector will be continuing their 48-hour strike action on Thursday, which they began on Wednesday.


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