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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Govt cuts GDP estimate for '08-10
  • [02] Justice min. on cohabitation
  • [03] UGS on pollutant emissions

  • [01] Govt cuts GDP estimate for '08-10

    The Greek economy has a strong dynamism but was affected by international economic conditions and its prospects, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday.

    The Greek minister, speaking to reporters, said the government was revising it forecasts for Greek economic growth, following a pattern of other European countries, due to international economic developments, although he stressed that budget targets remained unchanged.

    Specifically, Alogoskoufis said international uncertainties grew since last autumn, oil prices went further up and foreign exchange markets remained in turmoil over this period, leading national governments to revise their economic forecasts for the period 2008-2010. There will be revisions of all stability and growth programs in the EU but the current climate did not support discussion over extending targets to presenting balanced budgets by 2010.

    Alogoskoufis said Eurozone GDP would be cut to 1.8 pct this year, from a 2.2 pct growth forecast made in September 2007, while Eurozone's inflation rate would rise to 2.6 pct from 2.1 pct.

    World economic growth would be cut to 3.8 pct this year, from a 4.8 pct forecast made in autumn 2007, while estimates over international oil prices were raised to 90-100 US dollars per barrel, up from a forecast of 78.8 dollars made last autumn. Alogoskoufis also noted that international commodities prices grew by 12.7 pct, up from an earlier forecast for a growth rate of 4.3 pct and underlined that the Economic ministry would proceed with a revision of its economic growth forecasts.

    However, he reassured that any impact on the Greek budget would be insignificant since spending will not be raised as a percentage of GDP, while revenues will not fall.

    Greek economic growth for the period 2008-2009 is revised to 3.6 pct, rising to 3.8 pct in 2010, while the inflation rate in the country was expected to rise to 3.5 pct this year, up from an earlier estimate of 2.9 pct, reflecting higher imported inflation pressures. Alogoskoufis said real average wages would be raised more than 4.0pct in the country.

    Presenting the government's incomes policy for 2008, Alogoskoufis said public sector workers will receive a 4.5 pct pay increase, while pensioners a 5.0 pct pension increase this year. Payment will be made in two tranches, starting from Jan. 1, 2008 with the second tranche in October 2008.

    The Greek minister said he expected the unemployment rate to fall to 7.5 pct of the workforce this year, although at a slower pace because of higher labour costs.

    Commenting on developments with listed Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), Alogoskoufis said the government was nearing an agreement to create a balanced management scheme, ensuring the future of the telecoms and telephony utility.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis.

    [02] Justice min. on cohabitation

    Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis has sent an informative note to deputies and Eurodeputies of all parties, analysing the main terms contained in the cohabitation pact and its philosophy "to prevent any misinterpretation and distortion," according to an announcement by the justice ministry on Thursday.

    The announcement said that the bill will be forwarded to the Central Law Processing Committee in the next few days for necessary preparation and then it will be tabled in Parliament for discussion and ratification immediately afterwards.

    The bill will also include new arrangements regarding the modernisation of family law and of society, that will concern the speedying up of divorce procedures, adoption and parental care and new beneficial policies for drug users, falling under the jurisdiction of the justice ministry.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis

    [03] UGS on pollutant emissions

    Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) discussed the participation of merchant shipping in the international effort to curb pollutant emissions, during its presidium's visit to the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.

    The presidium met with Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, Health Commissioner Androula Vassiliou, European Economic and Social Committee President Dimitris Dimitriadis and with EU officials.

    Speaking during a press conference, UGS President Nikos Efthymiou said that there was a favourable attitude on the part of the European Commission and a positive handling of issues of interest to European commercial shipping, the most timely being the curbing of atmospheric pollutants by ships.

    Efthymiou stressed that whatever measures are taken in this sector must be international and not only European-wide, otherwise there would be negative consequences on European merchant shipping, putting it at a disadvantage vis-a-vis its competitors in the Far East.

    The UGS president noted that although merchant shipping is exempt from the Kyoto and Bali requirements on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, nevertheless a decision would be issued by the end of the year by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on reduction of atmospheric pollutant emissions by merchant ships.

    According to data provided by UGS, over 90 percent of international trade depends on merchant shipping. The number of merchant ships in the world does not exceed 44,000.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo

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