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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] New Cabinet to be sworn on Thurs.
  • [02] FM meets with US envoy to Greece
  • [03] Greek stocks jump 3.14% on Wed.

  • [01] New Cabinet to be sworn on Thurs.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis proceeded with a mostly expected government reshuffle on Wednesday just after noon, with a government spokesman announcing a change in the all-important economy and finance portfolio as well as in the transport ministry and the sensitive education ministry. The new Cabinet will be sworn in at 11 a.m. on Thursday and will hold its first meeting at noon, with the only subject being announcements by the prime minister, after which handover ceremonies will take place in the individual ministries.

    George Alogoskoufis, who remains out of the government, will be replaced as FinMin by up-until-now deputy minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, while current Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis - the architect of current efforts to privatise troubled national carrier Olympic Airways (OA) and reform debt-laden Hellenic Railways (OSE) -- will move to the development ministry, holding the commerce, internal market and significant energy portfolios. Evripides Stylianidis, up to now education minister, takes over from Hatzidakis, whereas Stylianidis' post at the education ministry will be filled by Aris Spiliotopoulos, the up-to-now tourism development minister.

    Dora Bakoyannis remains as the head of the foreign ministry, with Evangelos Meimarakis continuing as the defence minister and Prokopis Pavlopoulos retaining the interior and public administration ministry, which also includes the public sector domain. No change at the environment, town planning and public works ministry, with high-profile government cadre George Souflias remaining, along with all the deputy ministers. Finally, a new alternate interior minister for public order was also announced, former deputy minister Christos Markoyiannakis.

    The reshuffle also resulted in new ministers at the agriculture, justice, culture and Macedonia-Thrace ministries.

    In brief, remaining in their previous posts are ministers of the interior, Prokopis Pavlopoulos; foreign affairs Dora Bakoyannis; defence, Evangelos Meimarakis; health, Dimitris Avramopoulos; merchant marine, Anastassis Papaligouras, and employment, Fani Palli-Petralia.

    The outgoing Cabinet members are George Alogoskoufis (economy and finance minister), Christos Folias (development minister), Michalis Liapis (culture minister), Margaritis Tzimas (Macedonia-Thrace minister), Alexandros Kontos (agricultural development minister) and Petros Doukas (deputy foreign minister).

    Two deputy ministers were promoted to ministers: Stavros Kalafatis (from deputy development minister to Macedonia-Thrace minister) and Yiannis Papathanassiou.

    Also, four new deputy minister posts were created: Constantine Gioulekas assumes the new post of deputy minister for mass media issues at the interior ministry; Michalis Papadopoulos assumes the new deputy minister post at the agricultural development ministry; Michalis Bekiris assumes the new deputy minister post at the transport and communications ministry, and George Kontoyiannis assumes the new deputy minister post at the employment ministry.

    New faces in the government are Antonis Samaras (a finance minister and foreign minister from 1989 to 1992 under the ND government of Constantine Mitsotakis) at the helm of the culture ministry, Nikolaos Dendias at the helm of the justice ministry, Costas Markopoulos heading up the tourism development ministry, and Christos Markoyiannakis as alternate minister for public order at the interior ministry.

    Papathanassiou's post as deputy finance minister was assumed by newcomer Athanassios Bouras, deputy foreign minister Petros Doukas' post was assumed by newcomer Miltiades Varvitsiotis, deputy minister for social solidarity George Constantopoulos' post was assumed by newcomer Marios Salmas, and Kalafatis' post of deputy development minister was assumed by newcomer Ioannis Bougas.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] FM meets with US envoy to Greece

    An array of international, regional and bilateral issues were discussed at a scheduled meeting on Wednesday between Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and US Ambassador to Athens Daniel Speckhard, following the latter's request. The meeting at the Greek foreign ministry was held in the wake of Greece's assumption of the chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and less than two weeks before the new US President is sworn in. Greece and the United States continue to share good, warm and strong relations, the US ambassador said after the hour-long meeting. The US side was briefed by FM Bakoyannis on the European security issues she will be dealing with in 2009, as the OSCE chairwoman-in-Office, while on his part, Amb. Speckhard pledged Washington's support. An extensive discussion was also held on the Middle East issue, specifically the ongoing crisis in Gaza. Bakoyannis underlined that it is imperative to make all necessary moves to reach a ceasefire, highlighting the humanitarian problem in the region, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said. The Greek side also raised the issue of resurgent Turkish provocations in the Aegean, stressing that the Turkish military activity in the region has intensified. In a statement made earlier, FM Bakoyannis had stressed that "The Turkish actions in the Farmakonissi-Agathonissi area are unacceptable. They are in blatant violation of international law and hamper the efforts being made to improve Greek-Turkish relations. I have instructed that the appropriate demarches be made." Among the bilateral issues discussed were Athens' next steps for inclusion in the US Visa Waiver program.

    [03] Greek stocks jump 3.14% on Wed.

    Greek stocks jumped 3.14 pct at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, pushing the composite index of the market above the 1,900 level, to end at 1,920.73 points. Turnover was an improved 189.9 million euros, of which 11.1 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Food/Beverage (9.72 pct), Utilities (5.42 pct), Banks (5.37 pct) and Constructions (4.62 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (3.08 pct) and Raw Materials (0.08 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index jumped 3.23 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 1.80 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.93 pct higher. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 156 to 64 with another 45 issues unchanged.

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