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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-08

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Czech ambassador outlines Prague's EU priorities
  • [02] Handover ceremonies held at several ministries
  • [03] OTE general assembly meeting postponed
  • [04] NBG to discuss share capital increase plan on Jan. 22
  • [05] NBG eyes share cap increase

  • [01] Czech ambassador outlines Prague's EU priorities

    The Czech Republic's European Union presidency will be organising a cultural event in Athens on Jan. 13, on the occasion of the central European country's assumption of the Union's rotating presidency in the first half of the year.

    The announcement was made in Athens by the Czech ambassador to Greece, Hana Mottlova, who outlined the priorities of the Czech Presidency during an event Thursday at the European Parliament's representation in Athens.

    Replying to a press question on the issue of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by her country, she said the issue has been discussed on the part of the Czech Republic and that the process is continuing.

    Amb. Mottlova also referred to the issue of energy security, saying this is a priority for the Czech presidency, stressing that Prague's goal is to develop conventional relations with third countries and regions with the aim of diversifying sources and transit corridors for energy, adding that communication with Russia is also necessary, since it is the EU's top energy supplier.

    [02] Handover ceremonies held at several ministries

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis welcomed new deputy minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis to the ministry on Thursday, as the latter replaced Petros Doukas. Bakoyannis underlined that 2009 will be a year of challenges and that the foreign ministry must rise to the occasion. Bakoyannis pointed out that the foreign policy followed Athens Greece is consistent, based on principles and focused on the protection of national interests, underlining that "our country is recognised by all as a reliable power of stability and development for the entire region." Taking over the leadership of education ministry, former tourism minister Aris Spiliotopoulos stressing that lost expectations have created an atmosphere of tension. He underlined that he is aware of the difficulties involved with the portfolio, pointing out that he believes in dialogue. Outgoing minister Evripides Stylianidis stated that he served during a productive period, adding that reforms in the sector were embraced by the majority and will continue. The improvement of the citizens' daily life through the imposition of strict controls on cartels, measures in support of small and medium-sized enterprises, and initiatives in the energy and R&D sectors are the priorities cited by new Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, who transferred from the transport and communications ministry. Speaking at the handover ceremony in the presence of outgoing minister Christos Folias, he also referred to the difficult circumstances revolving around the global financial crisis and the unstable energy landscape of late in Europe. "Tourism is the oxygen of the Greek economy, the strong antidote to this unfavorable economic situation," outgoing minister Spiliotopoulos told his successor Constantinos Markopoulos, who in turn reiterated the PM's statement for virtuous, bold and effective management of citizens' high expectations. New Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis, who left the justice portfolio to replace Alexandros Kontos, along new Deputy Minister Michalis Papadopoulos, pledged to continue the efforts aimed at protecting farmers' income, while supporting the viable development of agriculture through an emphasis on better quality, young farmers and the environment. Employment Minister Fani Pali-Petralia, in welcoming new Deputy Minister George Kontoyiannis, stated that 2009 is a crucial year, pointing out that the sectors of construction and tourism are the most vulnerable to the crisis. Meanwhile, new Deputy Health Minister Marios Salmas, who took over the portfolio from George Constantopoulos, stated that he will continue the work done by his predecessor. New Alternate Minister for Public Order Christos Markoyiannakis underlined the three key-points on which his term at the interior ministry will be based, speaking at a handover ceremony earlier on Thursday. He referred to "zero tolerance" vis-à-vis crime, respect for civil rights by law enforcement and support for work-related rights and benefits for police and other security personnel. Markoyiannakis thanked his predecessor, retired admiral Panagiotis Hinofotis, for his contribution and the efforts made to defend the rights of the Greek citizens. On his part, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed that the creation of an alternate minister for the public order portfolio highlights the significance attributed to such issues. New Culture Minister Antonis Samaras on Thursday assumed the ministry from his predecessor Michalis Liapis, after a swearing in of the new Cabinet and the first meeting of the new government combination, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Samaras was received by ministry's officials and employees during the hand over ceremony held at the amphitheatre of the culture ministry. Liapis referred to his work the last 16 months while at the helm of the ministry, stressing that Culture Ministry was at the centre of the "storm" when the "Zachopoulos affair" occurred. "We had to cope with difficult issues in a perilous period. I think that we have succeeded to restore the ministry's lost honor".

    [03] OTE general assembly meeting postponed

    Thursday's extraordinary Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) general assembly, scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon, was postponed after shareholders were unable to enter OTE's headquarters in the northern Athens district of Maroussi, trade unionists had blocked entrances to the building.

    Union activists had gathered outside the building earlier in the day to protest the Greek telecoms utility's management transfer to Deutsche Telecom.

    OTE's administration is expected to announce on Friday a new date for the general assembly to take place.

    [04] NBG to discuss share capital increase plan on Jan. 22

    National Bank will hold an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting on Thursday to discuss a board plan for a share capital increase worth 350 million euros, through the issuance of preferred stock without voting rights, as part of a government-sponsored programme to boost liquidity in the economy and to deal with the impact of an international financial crisis.

    The majority of large Greek banks will participate in the 28-billion-euro government plan.

    [05] NBG eyes share cap increase

    National Bank will hold an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting on Thursday to discuss a board plan for a share capital increase worth 350 million euros, through the issuance of preferred stock without voting rights, as part of a government-sponsored programme to boost liquidity in the economy and to deal with the impact of an international financial crisis.

    The majority of large Greek banks will participate in the 28-billion-euro government plan.


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