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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-03-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou: Gov't has no plan
  • [02] Gov't, sector officials cite different views on '09 tourism trends
  • [03] Karatzaferis briefed by PM
  • [04] Gov't details PM's econ axes

  • [01] Papandreou: Gov't has no plan

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday received main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou for talks on the prospects of consensus among the country's political forces amid the ongoing international economic crisis.

    Karamanlis initiated the meeting, with Papandreou followed by other Parliament-represented political leaders.

    After the meeting, Papandreou told reporters that he outlined to the prime minister his concerns over what he called citizens' sense of insecurity, which he said was further exacerbated by rising unemployment, the "crisis in the markets" and a decline in households' income. The former foreign minister also referred to a "collapse" of the health and education sectors.

    "We need a new plan, a new course that will guarantee immediate measures against the economic crisis, for the markets, for Greek families; a new development model that we must all together focus on," he said, adding that PASOK commits itself to "green growth" and a "strong negotiation" with a plan in the EU.

    "Unfortunately, what I understood is that the government does not have a plan. I'm afraid that this government has only one plan: general elections," Papandreou charged.

    "Over the last five years the government has rejected our proposals and what I realised from the meeting with the Prime Minister is that he wants us to give him a blank cheque," Papandreou concluded.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK party president George Papandreou.

    [02] Gov't, sector officials cite different views on '09 tourism trends

    Government and tourism sector officials on Thursday expressed sharply divergent views over tourism trends in the country for the coming season.

    Addressing a seminar organised by the Economic and Social Commission (OKE) on the consequences of the international economic crisis on Greek tourism, Tourism Development Minister Costas Markopoulos expressed optimism over trends in 2009 and emphasised that the ministry would do everything in its power to maintain jobs in the industry.

    On other hand, OKE head Christos Polyzogopoulos and the head of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Nikos Aggelopoulos, focused on the repercussions on employees as a result of the economic crisis.

    Polyzogopoulos said there was a risk of losing 90,000 jobs in the tourism sector, while Aggelopoulos said "we haven't seen anything yet, things will become much worse", while he announced job cuts as the industry was trying to cut costs.

    The minister said Greece would maintain last year's ad logo and announced that this year's ad campaign would total 75 million euros.

    SETE's head criticised the government for failing to launch its tourism campaign and said that according to TUI's early data, travel reservations from the UK were down 25 pct; from Germany down 22 pct; from France 19 pct, and from Scandinavian countries 30 pct.

    [03] Karatzaferis briefed by PM

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held a 40-minute-long meeting with Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) founder and president George Karatzaferis on Thursday, within the framework of separate meetings he had with all other top political leaders the same day to focus on the ongoing international economic crisis. Speaking to reporters, Karatzaferis stressed that "reason dictates to seek common ground in order to exit the crisis", adding that he submitted a memorandum to the Greek premier containing several of his thoughts, ideas and proposals, which will be made public soon. He also stated that the prime minister requested consensus on a specific framework of positions by political parties. Responding to the ubiquitous press question regarding early elections, Karatzaferis stressed that it is not advisable to create a political issue amidst the economic crisis.

    [04] Gov't details PM's econ axes

    The government on Thursday<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> outlined <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">in detail the <font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek">six key principles and facts presented by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">during his separate <font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek">meetings <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">earlier in the day with the country's top opposition<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> political party leaders.

    Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros<font size="3" face="Times New Roman"> first <font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek">underlined that Greece<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">, as <font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek">an EU and Euro-zone member<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">, <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">is focusing on economic stability and crisis management in compliance with EU rules<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">, as proven in the extraordinary EU Summit meeting<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">. He said the <font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek">second point <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">is the<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> high public debt<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">, a long-standing<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> problem that will have to be tackled with coordinated actions in order to <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">post<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> results. The third issue underlined was that the gradual deficit reduction <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">is a priority<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">, with reduction not achieved through<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> the imposition of new taxes but through effective public spending cuts <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">and <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">eliminating<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> wasteful spending. The fourth issue <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">cited by the spokesman<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> was that public debt and <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">budget <font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek">deficit reduction define the resilience of Greek society in relation to development<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">al and social policy and if are not kept under control the situation could become uncontrollable and possibly dangerous. The fifth point was the urgent need for special <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">initiatives<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> in crucial sectors<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">, such as tourism, always in compliance with EU rules, and finally, it was underlined that <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">"<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek">extravagant demands<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">"<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> should not be encouraged as the current<font size="3" face="Times New Roman"> global economic<font size="3" face="Times New Roman Greek"> situation does not allow for benefit<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">s-based policies. Antonaros stated that the prime minister invited opposition parties to a fruitful dialogue to jointly decide what can be done to deal with the consequences of the global economic crisis<font size="3" face="Times New Roman">, clarifying that the government has a realistic, complete and substantive plan. He also stressed that the country's credit ability is not being questioned.


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