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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] Papandreou, Alavanos discuss youth issues
  • [02] Updated stability plan for 08-11
  • [03] Greek stocks end 2.78% higher
  • [04] Farmers end mobilisations

  • [01] Papandreou, Alavanos discuss youth issues

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos met at Papandreou's offices in Parliament on Friday, where they discussed issues affecting young people and the prospects of cooperation between their respective parties.

    After the meeting, Papandreou said that PASOK will support SYRIZA's proposal for a cross-party committee dealing with police issues.

    Alavanos, on his own part, stressed that "our policy differences on important issues do not allow a broader cooperation."

    Papandreou said their discussion had been "honest" and that, in addition to the main agenda focusing on young people and education, it had also covered issues like the current financial crisis experienced by Greece, or the "coming crisis into which the country is entering without defences, due to New Democracy's policies".

    On police-related issues, Papandreou underlined his objections to the arrest and charging of young people taking part in demonstrations using anti-terrorism legislation.

    Alavanos noted that on all issues where there was a common approach, "we are ready for joint activities with PASOK and other forces of the democratic opposition".

    Friday's meeting was the third between Alavanos and Papandreou since 2005, after those held to discuss Olympic Airways and one in June 2006 to discuss foreign policy.

    [02] Updated stability plan for 08-11

    Greece is one of the five Eurozone member-states to achieve a positive economic growth rate in 2009, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou emphasised on Friday.

    Presenting the country's updated Stability and Growth programme for the period 2008-2011, the Greek minister said it was the government's plan to deal with a global crisis and exiting stronger than before. The main axes of the plan are supporting growth and employment, reducing deficits and supporting lower incomes.

    "The crisis has led to higher deficits, while there is also the problem with a high public debt that burdens the country," said, adding that the government was seeking to reduce the deficit, the debt and to curtail overspending in the wider public sector. "We will support vulnerable groups of the population and we will accelerate structural changes, promoting market deregulation and attracting investments," he told reporters.

    The Stability and Growth program envisages that the fiscal deficit would be 3.7 pct in 2008 and 2009, falling to 3.2 pct in 2010 and 2.6 pct in 2011. The economy is expected to grow by 1.1 pct this year, while employment is projected to grow by 0.2 pct this year and by 0.6 pct and 0.7 pct in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Unemployment is expected to grow from 7.5 pct in 2008 to 8.0 pct this year and to remain at this level by 2011, before starting to fall.

    The program also envisages lower budget revenues (by 2.5 billion euros compared with 2009 budget provisions) reflecting reduced proceeds from direct taxation (600 mln euros), lower revenues from indirect taxation (1.6 billion euros), reduced revenues from rescheduling of outstanding tax debt (220 mln) and higher tax returns (400 mln euros).

    The Greek economy is projected to grow by 1.1 pct this year, 1.6 pct in 2010 and 2.3 pct in 2011, according to the program which was submitted to the European Union.

    The program also envisages privatization revenues totaling at least 1.0 billion euros and that hirings in the public sector would be drastically limited.

    "We are witnessing an unprecedented international crisis. The government has the plan to deal with the crisis, to strengthen production and labour forces along with the competitiveness of Greek products and services. Greece can deal with the crisis and exit from it in a better and stronger position," Papathanassiou said

    [03] Greek stocks end 2.78% higher

    Greek stocks jumped 2.78 pct in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, pushing the composite index of the market to 1,779.47 points. Turnover was a thin 123.5 million euros, of which 2.5 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the exception of the Food/Beverage sector which ended 2.83 pct lower. Financial Services (5.10 pct), Constructions (4.50 pct), Banks (3.95 pct) and Telecommunications (3.48 pct).

    The FTSE 20 index rose 3.23 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 3.19 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.41 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 131 to 57 with another 60 issues unchanged.

    [04] Farmers end mobilisations

    Farmers' protests around the country had apparently reached their final day on Friday, with tractors being withdrawn from a series of roadblocks on major highways and northern Greece border crossings -- mobilisations aimed at paralysing transports. Tractors blocking traffic at three key intersections on the main north-south road axis, the Athens-Thessaloniki highway were effectively lifted as of Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, farmers in the northern provinces of Macedonia and Thrace also suspended blockades. Local farmers withdrew tractors from the Egnatia motorway near the border crossing of Kipi in the northeastern prefecture of Evros and border crossings with Bulgaria and Turkey opened as well. Late on Thursday, protesting farmers in Servia, Kozani Prefecture, left the Kozani-Larissa national motorway, while protests ended in Imathia prefecture of northern Greece.
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