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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM to seek meetings with party leaders on crisis
  • [02] Employment minister: New bill on Labor Inspectors Corps to be tabled in next few days
  • [03] TIR strike continues

  • [01] PM to seek meetings with party leaders on crisis

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced on Friday that he will seek separate meetings with political party leaders to discuss ways of tackling the impact of the global economic crisis, speaking in Parliament during the "Hour of the Prime Minister" address.

    "I consider it necessary to agree, at least on issues of national significance, such as the confrontation of the repercussions of the international crisis," Karamanlis said, adding, "for this purpose, immediately after the extraordinary EU summit, I will seek meetings with all political leaders".

    "I will seek such discussions of substance on all the major issues of this critical period," Karamanlis added.

    The statement was made during debate revolving around a tabled question by Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis.

    Karatzaferis suggested an all-party government be set up, headed by European Central Bank (ECB) vice-president and former Bank of Greece (BoG) governor Loukas Papademos -- pointing to a brief government by Xenophon Zolotas in 1989-90 -- and comprising ministers from all the parliamentary parties, "so that we will all, together, support an effort to exit the crisis".

    In such an event, "we should agree that this (all-party government) will have an expiration date ... in a year we will elect a President of the Republic, and next year when, hopefully, we will exit the crisis, we can proceed to general elections 'from a zero basis'," Karatzaferis proposed.

    Responding, Karamanlis noted that "the country has an elected government" and that various proposals being voiced recently "do not comprise responsible approaches to facing the repercussions of the global crisis" but, rather, "are launched to create impressions".

    "This is the truth. And they prove political opportunism," Karamanlis said, adding that "countries facing much more serious repercussions are not seeking such methods, and this is so because they have responsible political forces that truly care about confronting the crisis and not forces that think they have found the opportunity to assume, or share, power".

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

    [02] Employment minister: New bill on Labor Inspectors Corps to be tabled in next few days

    Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia announced in parliament on Friday that her ministry would table in the next few days a bill on the Labor Inspectors Corps (SEPE), replying to a question tabled by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos on the impact of the global financial crisis on the working people.

    The new bill on the SEPE is ready and will be tabled in parliament in the coming days, Petralia said.

    Referring to her meeting two days earlier in Athens with the SEPE directors from all over Greece, Patralia said that "we set out two distinct directions: intensification of inspections and adherence to the labor legislation, under which the government would be strict with those acting in an anti-social manner or transgressing the rules, but would stand at the side of those enterprises abiding by the law and safeguarding jobs.

    [03] TIR strike continues

    The transport and communications ministry reacted strongly to a strike declared by a section of the members of the Federation of International Transports (TIR) Truck Drivers (OFAE) and their blockade of customs posts and border crossings in nothern Greece, which entered its second day on Friday, accusing the strikers of obstructing international transports and thus rendering Greece accountable to the international community and its EU partners.

    The customs posts at Evzoni, Doirani and Niki, in northern Greece, as well as the border crossings of Promahonas and Exohi, were blocked by lorries and other large vehicles on Thursday due to the mobilisations by truckers who remained in place on Friday, while similar blockades spread were set up later Thursday at the ports of Patras and Igoumenitsa.

    The protesting truckers blocked access to other vehicles transporting goods allowing, however, passage to private cars and tourist coaches.

    Their demands include implementation of 24-hour checks on trucks with foreign license plates to tackle the problem of "pirating", i.e. foreign truckers illegally working in Greece. They also called for measures aimed at dealing with the problem of illegal migrants in seaports attempting to stow away on Italy-bound trucks.

    In an announcement on Friday, the ministry reacted to the mobilizations, which it said rendered Greece accountable to the international community and particularly its European partners.

    It said that the ministry has made ensurance of the Greek transporters' transport activities a top priority, adding that minister Evripidis Stylianidis has already undertaken a commitment for the immediate advancement of a legislative regulation providing for the establishment of a Pan-Hellenic Monitoring Body, for a stricter and more efficient monitoring and checking of international cargos, especially for non-EU transports within Greek territory.

    The minister has also asked all Prefectures in the country to tighten the checks by the mixed prefectural monitoring units, and indeed in the presence of road transporters' representatives to be designated by their union organizations, while he has further asked the ministers of the interior and justice to seek methods of tackling the phenomenon of illegal immigrants boarding and hiding in trucks, the announcement explained.

    Given the above, and also the fact that all 15 demands of the branch were currently being advanced, the Ministry said it failed to understand the reasons why a section of the OFAE members decided the strike. Caption: ANA-MPA file photo

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