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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-28

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis visiting Moscow on Tuesday
  • [02] Commission on Greek economy
  • [03] Valinakis at EU Council
  • [04] No to ND-PASOK cooperation
  • [05] Politicians visit troops on Easter

  • [01] PM Karamanlis visiting Moscow on Tuesday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be carrying out a working visit to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with outgoing President Vladimir Putin and his successor Dmitri Medvedev.

    Medvedev will be assuming his duties officially on May 7, while the next day the State Duma (Lower House) will be expected to ratify the presidential proposal and elect Putin prime minister.

    According to the Kremlin's programme, the meeting with Karamanlis, who is expected back in Athens on Wednesday, will be among Putin's last with foreign leaders in his presidential capacity.

    Speaking an an interview with the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency, Karamanlis said that Greece and Russia are promoting the preservation of peace and stability in the Balkans and in the wider region of the southeastern Mediterranean with their steadfast policy.

    "We have mutual interests in the sphere of growth and prosperity and views that are close on many international issues," the prime minister said, expressing satisfaction for visiting Moscow and President Putin for the third time and terming him "a great European leader, as well as a friend of my country."

    Russian media refer to the signing of Russian-Greek energy agreements

    Greece and Russia plan to sign an agreement on the former country's participation in the South Stream natural gas pipeline project, at the end of Tuesday's talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the Russian news agencies ITAR-TASS and RIA-Novosti reported on Monday.

    Both Russian news agencies, citing a presidential representative and Kremlin sources without naming them, said that "the implementation of very important common projects in the energy sector, including the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and the natural gas pipeline South Stream" will be at the focus of the Putin-Karamanlis talks.

    According to the sources cited by the two news agencies, at the conclusion of the Putin-Karamanlis meeting, "the signing of an inter-state cooperation agreement for the construction and exploitation of the Greek section of the (South Stream) pipeline is planned."

    [02] Commission on Greek economy

    The European Commission publicised its regular six-month assessments on Monday on the state and prospects of the European economies until 2009.

    According to data provided by the Commission, economic growth in Greece will be double that of the eurozone average in 2008 (3.4 percent compared to 1.7 percent) and more than double in 2009 (3.3 percent as against 1.5 percent). Greece's growth rate in 2007 was 4 percent.

    As regards Greece's fiscal deficit, the Commission's data showed that it closed at 2.8 percent of GDP in 2007 and will drop to 2 percent in 2008.

    The Commission also predicts 2 percent in 2009 as well, but bearing in mind that the main points in the state budget plan for the next year are not yet known.

    Furthermore, according to the Commission's assessments, the Greek public debt will decrease from 94.5 percent of GDP in 2007 to 92.4 in 2008 and 90.2 in 2009.

    Lastly, it predicts that inflation in Greece will increase from 3 percent in 2007 to 3.7 in 2008 and to 3.6 in 2009, while unemployment will remain unchanged at 8.3 percent in 2008, as it was in 2007, and drop to 8 percent in 2009.

    [03] Valinakis at EU Council

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis will represent Greece at the European Unionās General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

    According to a foreign ministry press release on Monday, the agenda includes EU-Serbia relations, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the developments in the Middle East and the situation in Zimbabwe and Iraq.

    On the sidelines of the Councilās sessions, a meeting will be held between the Troika's foreign ministers and Russia.

    [04] No to ND-PASOK cooperation

    The great majority of Greeks are against the possibility of a coalition government being formed between the New Democracy and PASOK parties, in the event that no party wins an absolute majority in the next elections.

    Most people voting for ND in last year's general elections prefer new elections.

    This was deduced by a nationwide poll carried out by the ALCO company, on behalf of the magazine FANTOMAS, which also shows public distrust of parties and opinions of them that are more negative than positive.

    Only 29.7 percent of respondents liked the idea of cooperation between ND and PASOK, while 45.2 percent favoured possible cooperation between PASOK and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA).

    Lastly, on the question of what must be done if no party wins an absolute majority in the next elections, 55.5 percent favoured the formation of coalition governments.

    [05] Politicians visit troops on Easter

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias spent Easter at the village of Frangades in Ioannina, northwestern Greece. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was also in Ioannina with his family.

    During his visit to the Sagiada guard post on Easter Sunday, President Papoulias expressed his wishes for ?peace in the Balkans.? He stressed that ?the peoples of the region should live peacefully and cooperate and open their future without the intervention from third parties, foreign forces.?

    He later visited the Filiata military camp in Thesprotia.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Easter Sunday visited the Drymada guard post on the Greek-Albanian border and expressed ?the need for the unity and solidarity of the Greeks in a difficult period for the whole world.?

    He added that ?we can give and win the difficult battles and make reality our common visions.?

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou remained at home in the northern Athens suburb of Kastri, following the bicycle accident he had the previous Sunday.

    PASOK Secretary Yiannis Ragoussis in statements said that ?the message of the Resurrection is a message of life, hope and optimism.?

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga celebrated Easter with the troops at the Tanks Training Centre in Avlona, Attica.

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synapismos) leader Alexis Tsipras is spending Easter in Vienna, while the head of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Alekos Alavanos, is on the island of Tinos.

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis attended the Resurrection service at Litohoro, Pieria. At noon on Easter Sunday he visited the XXIV Tanks Brigade.


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