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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis confers with ND party secretary
  • [02] Government spokesman on economy
  • [03] Giulekas sworn in as Deputy Interior Minister for mass media issues
  • [04] Farmers decide on mobilizations

  • [01] Karamanlis confers with ND party secretary

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Thursday with his ruling New Democracy (ND) party's central committee secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, with talks focusing on the party's preparation for the June 7 European Parliament elections. Zagoritis responded in the negative to a question on the likelihood of early national elections, warning that election talk is harmful to the country and distracts the people's attention from the real problems that require solutions. Referring to the farmers' mobilizations, Zagoritis stated that they appear to be easing off, adding that the majority of the farmers are displaying a responsible stance in removing roadblocks. "We believe that dialogue is the best tool in solving problems and does not create inconveniences to the other social groups. The specialization of the measures (adopted) is satisfactory," he added.

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

    [02] Government spokesman on economy

    The recently-formed economic policy committee, which is chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis, will convene on Friday morning to discuss the country's three-year stability and growth program, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros announced on Thursday during a regular press briefing.

    To a question on whether the government intended to make a turnabout in economic policy, the spokesman declined comment, urging reporters to "just wait and see".

    The government, he added, was rising up to the developments in the global financial situation which "no one can forecast in its entire magnitude, dimensions and how long it will last".

    What was important was that all the necessary adjustments were made in both Greece and all the European countries so that the repercussions of the global financial crisis will be as few as possible for those who have the greater need, Antonaros said.

    To another question, the spokesman replied that the government was fulfilling its commitments that are compatible with its partnership obligations, adding that the results were well-known.

    As an example, he said that the government had assumed a deficit of over 7 percentage points when it took over the government and has slashed it to some 3 percentage points. "This shows that the effort for fiscal streamlining has produced solid results," Antonaros said.

    [03] Giulekas sworn in as Deputy Interior Minister for mass media issues

    Costas Giulekas was sworn-in on Thursday as Deputy Interior Minister for mass media issues, during a ceremony held at the Presidential Mansion in the presence of President of Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Giulekas takes over one of the four new deputy minister posts created during a sweeping government reshuffle announced by prime minister Costas Karamanlis on January 7.

    [04] Farmers decide on mobilizations

    The farmers' local coordinating committees were meeting on Thursday to decide on their stance in the regions where mobilizations are continuing, as in many cases tractors have been withdrawn from the roadblocks. Farmers withdrew the last remaining 215 tractors from the key road blockade at Tempi, in Thessaly central Greece, and Mikrothives. However, the farmers who chose to continue the mobilizations joined protesters in Nikaia. The Egnatia Odos national motorway and the Thessaloniki-Xanthi old national motorway at Chrysoupolis also opened to motorists following the decision by the farmers in Kavala, in the northeast, to withdraw their tractors. Tractors remain at Malgara toll road, near Thessaloniki, and in Chalkidona, without blocking traffic. According to the farmers in Macedonia, northern Greece, the meeting of Rural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and the president of ELGA (Greek Faremers' Insurance Organization) with farmer representatives will be decisive for the mobilizations. Meanwhile, farmers on the southern Aegean island of Crete withdrew their tractors from the Chania-Heraklion national motorway for two hours in the morning and are expected to reach a decision on their stance later in the afternoon. The border crossings at Exohi, Kipi, Evzoni and Doirani are being opened periodically. The border crossing at Promahonas opened on Wednesday night allowing passage to 80 trucks that remained stuck on both sides of the borders with the Bulgarian authorities expressing satisfaction for the periodical lifting of the blockade. A total of 200 trucks are on the Bulgarian side of the border waiting to be allowed to enter Greece.

    Caption: Tractors parked on the Athens -Thessaloniki national highway on Thursday 29 January 2009. ANA-MPA/VASSILIKI PASCHALI

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