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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek commercial sectors feels impact from int'l crisis, survey
  • [02] Farmers open border crossing
  • [03] Gov't: Growth will deflect int'l crisis

  • [01] Greek commercial sectors feels impact from int'l crisis, survey

    Greece's commercial sector has already begun feeling the psychological impact from an international financial crisis, according to the annual report on Greek Commerce 2008 published by ICAP and the National Confederation of Greek Commerce on Thursday.

    The survey, based on a sample of 199 societe anonyme companies and 1,020 smaller firms, showed that S.A. and Ltd. companies' turnover grew 11.2 pct in 2007, while gross profit growth was 20.5 pct over the same year. The majority of those companies said they expected sales to remain flat in 2008 and results to worsen in 2009. Companies in the commerce sector also see flat employment rates, with the number of enterprises eyeing job cuts surpassing those seeking to hire.

    The survey showed that the commerce sector accounted for 18.2 pct of employment in the Greek economy, with 28.3 pct of new jobs created in the last 15 years resulting from the development of commerce.

    [02] Farmers open border crossing

    Tractors blocking access to the border crossing of Promahonas, in Serres prefecture of northeastern Greece, were removed on Thursday afternoon by farmers, thus allowing passage to trucks and private cars into and from Bulgaria. Most of the demonstrators had left the blockade earlier, stating that this particular form of mobilisation is over. A farmers' delegation from Promahonas is scheduled to meet on Friday with Rural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and an Agricultural Insurance Organization, ELGA, officials.

    [03] Gov't: Growth will deflect int'l crisis

    Supporting growth and employment, reducing state overspending and supporting lower-income groups are the main principles of an updated Stability and Growth Programme for 2008-2011, presented by the economy and finance ministry on Thursday.

    Presenting the programme, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said the government's priorities are a gradual reduction of public debt and the fiscal deficit, adding that the Stability and Growth Programme was the government's plan to deal with the consequences of an international economic crisis.

    "Our strongest weapon against the crisis is the dynamic growth of the Greek economy. There will be a positive growth rate, despite adverse international financial conditions, because of increased investments, the implementation of the 4th Community Support Framework package and joint venture projects between public and private sector," Papathanassiou said.

    The Greek minister made particular mention for the need to reduce public spending and said the program was not one of austerity or of "social handouts", but it was drafted to ensure growth and support the weaker classes.

    Spending will be drastically reduced in the public and wider public sector, while revenues will grow. The government will also specify measures aimed at improving business environment in the country.

    Papathanassiou said new hirings in the public sector will be less than the number of retirements or attrition and noted that the incomes policy would cover inflation.

    "Our message is that cutbacks must begin from the state. We cannot ask citizens to cut their incomes, if the state did not respond first to reducing spending. The programme's provisions for the period 2008-2011 are realistic and feasible," he said.

    Finally, the minister said the government will raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products.


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