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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-19

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Karamanlis confers with FM Bakoyannis
  • [02] PRESS RELEASE - ANA-MPA - PARTICIPATION BY ANA-MPA IN THE PROGRAMME e-MPOWER
  • [03] Gov't on economy, farm issues, natgas crisis
  • [04] Athens mayor receives Palestinian envoy
  • [05] European Commission report: Marginal growth, rise in fiscal deficit in 2009 for Greece (RECASTS)
  • [06] Gov't on expats' voting rights

  • [01] Karamanlis confers with FM Bakoyannis

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Monday with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, with the focus on developments in the Middle East and the Greece's OSCE chairmanship, officially launched last Thursday. As regards developments in Gaza, Bakoyannis spoke of an "extremely fragile ceasefire", pointing out that it allows the opening of humanitarian aid corridors. She also stated that she will be on hand, later in the day, at the port of Piraeus for the departure of a vessel carrying humanitarian aid for the region. Bakoyannis stated that coordinated moves will be made with all interested agencies in order to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza, while an EU discussion is being launched on its participation in the effort to reach a lasting solution to the long-standing problem with the establishment of a Palestinian state, one that will exist in peace side-by-side with Israel. On the OSCE Greek chairmanship, Bakoyannis referred to initiatives undertaken to allow the organization's representatives to remain in Georgia and the South Ossetia enclave, pointing out that the issue will be discussed with the Russian foreign minister on Wednesday. Responding to a question on the economy, Bakoyannis stated that the issue concerns the entire Europe which is experiencing a major crisis and is faced with a recession after a very long time. The government's goal, Bakoyannis said, is to get the Greek people out of the crisis, meeting the objectives of growth, productivity and social justice. Responding to a question on the new US President and if there will be a change in the Greek-Turkish relations, Bakoyannis pointed out that the new American president starts his term in office with very high expectations by the international community. "We are looking forward to good cooperation between the EU and the US," she said, expressing a hope that meetings with the new US leadership will be held soon for initial talks and consultations.

    [02] PRESS RELEASE - ANA-MPA - PARTICIPATION BY ANA-MPA IN THE PROGRAMME e-MPOWER

    Press Release

    Athens News Agency is participating in the new European co-funded programme eMPOWER. Please find below the relevant press release.

    The project eMPOWER: "Empowering citizens to influence the decision making and policy formulation on environmental issues", is an eParticipation project co-funded by the European Commission under the eParticipation 2008/1 Preparatory Action, programme.

    The project eMPOWER aims to motivate and strengthen the involvement of NGOs and citizens in the decision-making process on environmental issues at a National and European level by providing methods and tools for supporting citizens' participation to promote relevant public initiatives and demands of civil society.

    The project brings together three environmental organizations (MedSOS, Circolo Festambiente, Liga para a Proteccao da Natureza) and three News Agencies {Athens News Agency (ANA), Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) & Agencia de Noticias de Portugal (LUSA)} from Greece, Italy, and Portugal, respectively, as well as the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and POLITECH Institute of Belgium.

    The project is coordinated by Athens Technology Center S.A (http:www.atc.gr), an IT company based in Athens, Greece. The project began on Jan. 1, 2009 and will run for 2 years.

    [03] Gov't on economy, farm issues, natgas crisis

    Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou will make a statement as soon as all official figures are made public, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said in response to a press question regarding measures the government intends to take vis-à-vis the latest European Commission forecasts. He stressed that the government has proved during its five years in power that it meets its commitments to the EU with a measure of responsibility, while displaying social sensitivity and seeking the best possible solution to the problems of the financially weak. Antonaros commented that the momentum and breadth of the global financial crisis, the worst experienced in post-war period, is not understood by some, pointing out that it is characterised by constantly varying parameters, thereby preventing accurate forecasts. He also mentioned that based on official figures, Greece will be one of the few EU countries which can expect a small but positive growth rate. In addition, he reminded that the government was handed over a deficit higher than 7 percent but was able to cut it in half while unemployment rate which was higher than 11 percent was reduced close to 7 percent. Referring to farmers' issues, he cited a statement by Rural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and called on main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou to base the "sketchy announcements" he made on Sunday -- as the government spokesman called them -- on specific figures for relief of the farm sector.

    Asked to comment if there will be a re-negotiation with Russia on the natural gas issue, Antonaros said important negotiations are being held at European level to deal with the problems that have arisen.

    [04] Athens mayor receives Palestinian envoy

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Monday voiced his condemnation of the bloodshed in Gaza during a meeting with the head of the Palestinian authority's diplomatic mission in Athens, Amb. Samir Abu Ghazaleh.

    The meeting at city hall took place at the initiative of the Athens mayor, who assured Ghazaleh that the municipality supports the Palestinian people's longstanding demand for an independent Palestinian state, where democracy and peace exist.

    He also briefed the Palestinian envoy on the humanitarian aid -- chiefly medical and paramedical items -- already sent to the area and asked Ghazaleh to inform him on whatever else may be required. Kaklamanis also announced that the City of Athens will host children from Gaza at the municipality's campsite this summer.

    [05] European Commission report: Marginal growth, rise in fiscal deficit in 2009 for Greece (RECASTS)

    Brussels (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris) -- The European Commission on Monday released its updated forecasts on European economies for up to 2010, anticipating recession in the Union with an increase in deficits, but also a reduction in inflation, while specifically for Greece it projects a marginal growth and gradual recovery as of 2010..

    At the same time, it projects negative growth rates for 11 of the 16 eurozone members and for 18 of the 27 EU member states.

    The Commission predicted a gradual recovery in Greece as of 2010, with a marginally positive growth rate of 0.2 percent in 2009 compared with a -1.9 growth rate average in the eurozone and -1.8 percent growth rate average in the EU '27'. Moreover, it predicts a 0.7-percent growth rate in Greece in 2010 against a 0.4-percent growth rate in the eurozone and 0.5-growth rate in the EU '27'.

    Negative growth rates are forecast in 2009 for 11 of the 16 eurozone member states: Belgium (-1.9 percent), Germany (-2.3 percent), Ireland (-5 percent), Spain (-2 percent), France (-1.8 percent), Italy (-2 percent), Luxembourg (-0.9 percent), the Netherlands (-2 percent), Austria (-1.2 percent), Portugal (-1.6 percent) and Finland (-1.2 percent).

    Also, according to the Commission's forecasts, Greece's fiscal deficit, from 3.4 percentage points of GDP in 2008, will climb to 3.7 percent in 2009 and 4.2 percent in 2010, taking into consideration, however, that the basic guidelines of the draft 2010 state budget have not yet been released.

    The Commission noted that deficits above the 3.0 percentage points of GDP reference rate is anticipated this year in 9 of the 16 eurozone members and 15 of the 27 EU member states. In addition to Greece, fiscal deficits of over 3 percent of GDP among the eurozone members are predicted in Ireland (11 percent in 2009, 13 percent in 2010), France (5.4 percent in 2009, 5 percent in 2010), Belgium (3 percent in 2009, 4.3 percent in 2010), Spain (6.2 percent in 2009, 5.7 percent in 2010), Italy (3.8 percent in 2009, 3.7 percent in 2010), Austria (3 percent in 2009, 3.6 percent in 2010), Portugal (4.6 percent in 2009, 4.4 percent in 2010), and Slovenia (3.2 percent in 2009, 2.8 percent in 2010).

    Furthermore, the Commission forecasts an increase in the Greek state debt from 94 percent in 2008 to 96.2 percent in 2009, and 98.4 percent in 2010.

    Italy records a higher state debt than Greece, with 105.7 percent in 2008, while it is expected to climb to 109.3 percent in 2009 and 110.3 percent in 2010. The average state debt in the eurozone will rise from 68.7 percent in 2008 to 72.7 percent in 2009 and 75.8 percent in 2010, according to the Commission's forecasts.

    Regarding unemployment, the rate stood at 8.3 percent in 2008 (compared with a eurozone average of 7.5 percent and EU average of 7 percent), while it is expected to rise to 9 percent in 2009 (against 9.3 percent in the eurozone and 8.7 percent in the EU) and to 9.4 percent in 2010 (against 10.2 percent in the eurozone and 9.5 percent in the EU).

    Finally, the Commission predicts that the inflation rate in Greece will fall from 4.2 percent in 2008 (compared with 3.3 percent in the eurozone and 3.7 percent in the EU) to 2.5 percent in 2009 (against 1 percent in the eurozone and 1.2 percent in the EU), and rise to 2.7 percent in 2010 (against 1.8 percent in the eurozone and 1.9 percent in the EU).

    According to the Commission, economic activity continued to grow in Greece at nearly 3 percent in 2008, at a rate above the eurozone average, although it did not a slowdown in 2008, particularly in the second half of the year, mainly due to a decline in domestic demand, while export services, and particularly the transports sector, posted a large decline.

    The Commission report said that economic activity was expected to be impacted by the global financial crisis and, despite the positive indicators, economic growth would be slow in 2009 and would rely on domestic demand. In an environment of uncertainty on the international markets, a worsening of the credit conditions was expected to curb private consumption, while investments would be further limited.

    [06] Gov't on expats' voting rights

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday pledged that he will undertake an initiative within the month to set up a special committee to continue debate on the issue of granting expatriate Greeks voting rights in local elections. World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Stefanos Tamvakis held a meeting on the weekend with Pavlopoulos, where he requested the establishment of a special committee comprised of representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs and interior, Parliament's standing committee on Greeks abroad, Parliament-represented parties and SAE to discuss the right of Greeks abroad to vote in national elections from their countries of residence.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo.


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