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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs Interministerial committee meeting
  • [02] Dep. F addresses SEECP informal meeting in Moldova
  • [03] Road accident statistics
  • [04] Greek retail turnover index down 1.1 pct in November
  • [05] Athens Stock Exchange : Decline
  • [06] Farmers suspend mobilisations
  • [07] DM: No additional expenditures

  • [01] PM chairs Interministerial committee meeting

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis chaired a meeting on Friday of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Economy, which discussed the updated three-year stability program to be submitted later in the day by Greece to the EU.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, national economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said that the program had three basic targets. First of all, boosting growth and increasing employment, second, the gradual reduction of the country's deficits through reduction of expenditures, and third, strengthening of the vulnerable social groups.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Maximos mansion (government's headquarters)

    [02] Dep. F addresses SEECP informal meeting in Moldova

    CHISINAU (ANA-MPA / C. Poulidou) -- Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis underlined that prospects for European enlargement amid the ongoing global economic crisis are being examined carefully by the Union, speaking during an addresss at an informal gathering of South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) foreign ministers here. Referring to EU enlargement, Valinakis said adherence of all interested countries to a number of prerequisites, topped by the principle of good-neighborly relations, is a fundamental precondition. SEECP foreign ministers, attending a two-day meeting, focused on regional cooperation in SE Europe, inter-Balkan cooperation and the course of the region's countries towards Euro-Atlantic institutions. A Sarajevo-based regional council secretariat was also established and participating ministers discussed cooperation in the sectors of energy and transports. Finally, a 300,000-euro check for the purchase of equipment for the Children's Hospital in Chisinau was delivered to the Moldovan health minister on behalf of Greece, during Valinakis' meeting with Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Andrei Stratan.

    [03] Road accident statistics

    The number of road accidents throughout Greece rose by 8.7 percent in November 2008, compared with the corresponding month in 2007, according to figures released on Friday by the National Statistics Service (ESYE). According to the statistics, 109 people lost their lives, 154 suffered serious injury and another 1,431 were lightly injured in a total of 1,269 road accidents throughout the country in November 2008. In comparison with the corresponding figures for November 2007, the number of road accident-related deaths dropped 11.4 percent, while there was an 18.5 percent rise in serious injuries and a 9.7 percent rise in light injuries.

    [04] Greek retail turnover index down 1.1 pct in November

    Greece's retail turnover index (in current prices) fell by 1.1 pct in November 2008, compared with the same month in 2007, after an increase of 5.2 pct in the 2007-2006 period, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service attributed the 1.1 pct decline in the turnover index to a combination of a 5.6 pct increase in food stores and a 6.4 pct decline in the other store index.

    Retail sales volume index (turnover in fixed prices) fell 4.8 pct in November 2008, after an increase of 1.9 pct in November 2007.

    [05] Athens Stock Exchange : Decline

    Equity prices were declining on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 0.42 percent, standing at 1,723.92 points at 14:15 p.m., and turnover at 48.2 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the biggest gains in Commerce, up 1.59 percent; Constructions, up 0.76 percent; Mass Media, up 0.72 percent; and Technology up, 0.44 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Food and Beverages, down 1.46 percent; Oil and Gas down, 1.05 percent; and Health, down 0.98 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 0.44 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.33 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.03 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 73 were up, 76 were down, and 65 were unchanged.

    [06] Farmers suspend mobilisations

    Protesting farmers are in the process of withdrawing from their road blockades in Macedonia and Thrace, in the north and northeast, suspending mobilizations following relative decisions reached by their coordinating bodies. Local farmers withdrew their tractors from the "Egnatia Odos" national motorway near the border crossing of Kipi in the northeastern prefecture of Evros. Blockades were also lifted in the crossings of Exohi and Evzoni, while farmers have left the Malgara toll road, near Thessaloniki. Protests have also ended in Halkidona, Thessaloniki. Farmers in the northwestern Grevena Prefecture have decided to lift their blockades and traffic moves without problems. Late on Thursday, protesting farmers in Servia, Kozani Prefecture left the Kozani-Larissa national motorway while protests have also ended at Koulouras junction, in Imathia Prefecture northern Greece. Farmers in Doirani are expected to reach a decision on their moves later in the afternoon. The roadblocks at the crossing of Promahonas were lifted briefly on Friday morning allowing trucks with perishable goods to cross the borders with Bulgaria with protesting farmers stating that their mobilizations will continue. The Thessaloniki-Athens national motorway remains closed at the junction of Nikaia.

    Caption: Tractors blocking Promachonas border crossing on Thursday 29 January 2009. ANA-MPA/NIKOS ARVANITIDIS

    [07] DM: No additional expenditures

    Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis assured on Friday that there would be no new expenditure for armaments in 2009 beyond those contained in the budget.

    Replying in parliament to a question tabled by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos addressed to the prime minister on "the new orders of materiele for Greece", Meimarakis said that no new (further) procurement has been decided by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA), clarifying that "what was decided was the formal commencement of the procedures, deliberations and negotiations for future procurements".

    Referring to relevant statements by the prime minister two months earlier, Meimarakis explained that "we were talking about the 2009 budget, not the 2010 or 2015 budget"/

    "There will be no additional budget expenditure for acquisition of armaments, not a single euro," the defence minister stressed.

    SYRIZA MP Theodoros Dritsas, standing in for Alavanos, said that social cohesion was the greates defence against any threat, without which no peoples, society or country can oppose the super-armaments that "are chiefly distributed through the diplomacy of armaments, in other words our relations with Mr. Sarkozy (French president), Mr. Obama (US president), Germany, Sweden or other European countries".

    Meimarakis countered that populism was the easy route, and questioned whether it was possible for a country to be left defenceless when it was facing such intense and serious provocations.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis

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