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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Inner Cabinet focuses on education sector issues
  • [02] PASOK: Government dangerous for country
  • [03] Econ sentiment slightly up in Jan.
  • [04] Greek stocks end 0.24 pct up

  • [01] Inner Cabinet focuses on education sector issues

    The Inner Cabinet convened on Tuesday, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, to focus on strictly education sector issues. Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos stressed afterwards that the key points aim to upgrade primary and secondary education, to strengthen the role of general education in high school system and adoption of a university admission exam system not directly linked with performance in secondary education. A wide-ranging dialogue on education sector reforms will be open and democratic without preconditions, and having as a goal the creation of an adequately financed, open, public and democratic school, "a school that will help students develop their skills and talents," Spiliotopoulos said. The dialogue launched at primary and secondary education council level under Prof. Georgios Babiniotis, who requested at least six months to coordinate the process and record all viewpoints.

    [02] PASOK: Government dangerous for country

    PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou, referring to party leader George Papandreou's visit to Piraeus on Tuesday morning to "express solidarity for protesting farmers" and to the use of teargas by the police, termed the government "dangerous for the country, the health and security of the citizens and for the economy."

    Papaconstantinou added that Papandreou went to Piraeus to "express his solidarity to the farmers, to give hope to the farming sector and to defuse the situation."

    According to the spokesman, Papandreou "arrived at the roadblock of the police forces before entering the region of the port, where the farmers were assembled. The presence of Papandreou in the area was immediately announced by loudspeakers and immediately afterwards the use of chemicals took place."

    "This is also the reason for which PASOK insists on calling for the resignation of the political and physical leadership of the police, stressing that in any other country if the use of chemicals took place in a place to be visited by a state official, such as the main opposition party leader, politicians responsible would have resigned," the PASOK spokesman added.

    Papaconstantinou also referred to the attack on the police station at Korydallos which, as he said, PASOK "strongly condemns". He added that the attack had a terrorist character, but it is comforting that there were no casualties. He further said that "the citizens are wondering what has happened in the country after 2003 and there is a reappearance of such phenomena."

    Focusing further on the issue of the dialogue on education, the spokesman said that the education minister's reply to a letter by PASOK is unsatisfactory, but pointed out that, despite all this, the main opposition party will remain in the dialogue.

    Commenting, lastly, on the education minister's statement regarding adequate funding for education, Papaconstantinou said that "for five years the government of which the minister is a member is financing education inadequately, with a reduction of funds provided in every budget." He also predicted that if the dialogue which will be taking place has no decision behind it on generous funding for education, it will produce no results.

    [03] Econ sentiment slightly up in Jan.

    Greece's economic sentiment index fell slightly in January, while consumer confidence recovered in the same month, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) announced on Tuesday.

    IOBE, in its monthly report, said the economic sentiment index fell to 55.4 points in January, its lowest level since January 1990, with 16 other EU member-states reporting record low levels.

    IOBE, however, stressed that a slowdown in the decline could signal the completion of its downward trend, while interest was not focusing on the duration of its prolonged period of negative economic sentiment and low businesses' expectations levels.

    In the industrial sector, business expectations remained negative over orders and demand, with inventories remaining strong. In the services sector, expectations fell over the course of works and current demand, while in the retail sector, expectations worsened over the current level of sales. In the construction sector, expectations over works were poor in January, with the outlook for employment in the sector worsening more.

    The consumer confidence index improved by 8 points, returning to levels seen in the summer of 2008. Expectations over employment worsened in January, with three out of 10 Greek enterprises forecasting an increase in unemployment in the short-term. Greek consumers were more optimistic over the financial situation of their households for the next 12 months, recovering for the second consecutive month, while Greek consumers remained the most pessimistic among EU and Eurozone states over economic prospects in their country for the next 12 months.

    Expectations over savings improved slightly in January, while prospects of buying a new car in the next 12 months remained very low.

    [04] Greek stocks end 0.24 pct up

    Greek stocks moved slightly higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The composite index ended 0.24 pct up at 1,730.95 points, with low turnover of 79.2 million euros of which 1.8 million were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher with the Commerce (2.26 pct), Industrial products (1.61 pct), Utilities (1.49 pct) and Banks (1.25 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (2.61 pct), Insurance (1.68 pct) and Media (1.22 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index ended 0.37 pct up, the FTSE 40 index eased 0.29 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.43 pct higher. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 110 to 77.

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