|Saturday, 24 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-03-29
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Conference on Balkan cooperation in agricultural sectorThe need for creating a regional Balkan force in the agricultural sector, with the participation of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, was stressed by ruling New Democracy (ND) Europarliamentarian Yiannis Glavakis at a conference on the challenges and prospects of the agricultural sector in the Balkans, held a a central Thessaloniki hotel on Sunday.
Glavakis noted that those three EU member countries have common interests in the agricultural sector and could advance those interests via cross-border cooperation.
"We must render Southeast Europe an area of prosperity of the citizen, where we will live side-by-side happily and in harmony, leaving behind the Balkan past with its enmities, disagreements and wars. If we can turn this sorrow into cooperation, then we will have many benefits," he said.
Addressing the event, development minister Costis Hatzidakis said that the good cooperation among Greece, Bulgaria and Romania would prove beneficial for all three countries.
Up until a few years ago, the Balkans were a region of tension and conflicts, he noted, adding that the EU was opening up a new era in that region. while the accession of Bulgaria and Romania had already started to function in a clear-cut stabilizing manner that gave developmental opportunities for all, the minister stressed.
Bulgarian MEP Petya Stavreva expressed appreciation for Greece's precious assistance to the two new members of the European family (Bulgaria and Romania) particularly regarding the matter of absorption of EU funds.
 KKE unveils Euroelections platformThe Communist Party of Greece formally opened its campaign for the June 7 European Parliament elections in Greece, with the unveiling of its elections Declaration on Sunday.
The party's platform on the Euroelections will be presented during a press conference on Monday by KKE leader Aleka Papariga, while the party's top officials and Papariga will begin tours and addresses throughout the country.
The KKE's Declaration of positions on the Euroelections said that the people, with their vote, must "punish all the parties of the EU-one-way path" which were attempting to push the burden of the global financial crisis on the shoulders of the people.
It opined that the "argument" between the two mainstream parties -- ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK -- ahead of the Euroelections aimed mainly at "entrapping the people's exasperation, embellishing the EU, and ensuring their alternation in the upcoming national elections".
The KKE called on voters to give two big 'yesses' and two big 'nos' in the Euroelections: "We say no to the EU of the monopolies, the crisis, the capitalistic expolitation, the militarism, the interventions. We say no to the parties of the EU-one-way path and the Euro-compromise. We say yes to cooperation among the peoples of Europe, to peace, to rights and freedoms, to socialism. We say yes to the KKE of hope and of struggle against the anti-popular policies, for the popular alliance and power".
In a lengthy refeence to the financial crisis,it accused the two mainstream parties of jointly voting in and implementing the EU policies, and therefore it called on the voters to stay away from ND and PASOK.
The KKE said that ND could and should suffer a strong blow, because in its five years of governance it had presented a tought, anti-popular face in its policy, as the representative of the interests of capital, whereas PASOK neither wanted to, nor could, provide a true alternative solution, as it had the same strategy as ND and the same policy on EU issues and on domestic policy matters. It said that PASOK had been repeatedly put to the test, both as government and as main opposition, and has "neither changed, nor will change".
It also strongly criticized the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance), stressing that it should be voted against in the Euroelections for its opportunism and two-faced character, as it wholeheartedly supports the EU on the one hand and on the other it protests over the consequences of the implementation of its strategy, bashing only the Greek 'handlings' and the 'practices' of materialization of those policies.
Finally, the KKE criticized the "nationalism and populist demagogy" of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, which it said aimed at concealing its support for the policy that favors the big capital and of hiding from the Greek people its reactionary, backward positions, racism and nationalism.
 Conference on global crisisDevelopment minister Costis Hatzidakis expressed certainty that the government's measures for facing the impact of the global financial crisis would prove effective, and opined that its steps aimed a restoration of the country's fiscal balance would have a political cost which, however, would be temporary.
Addressing an event on the crisis, held at a central Thessaloniki hotel on Saturday evening, Hatzidakis urged the people not to listen to the populists: "We've heard enough from them and we've paid enough because of them", charging that, with a populist policy, the first victims of the crisis would be the poorer strata, and not the more well-off who will survive".
Speaking with lights switched off to the bare minimum, given the decision of the event's organizers and the development ministry to take part in the global Earth Hour, Hatzidakis assured that the solidarity among the EU member states was a given fact, given that "there is no possibility that the economy of one country should catch a cold and the economies of the rest of the countries will not also fall ill".
However, he clarified, what was sought from all the EU governments, whether centre-right or centre-left, was that they manifest seriousness and responsibility, as well as devotion to the common fundamental directions because "if one country is indifferent on the crisis, the others are at risk of being impacted".
In the framework of the government's measures to boost the real economy, the minister said that a program for fortifying entrepreneurship in the manufacturing sector would be announced in a few days.
He stressed the need for reinforcing the sector of research, so as to increase the added value and competitiveness of the products produced in Greece. Regarding the taret of linking research with production, he announced that discussions were taking place for the creation of a small mixed committee comprising representatives of the country's research centers and the business community.
Hatzidakis said it was important that the country's research centers should work well and that the funds should be chanelled based on the work produced.
Addressing the event, World Bank director for Southeast Europe and Central Asia, Orsalia Kalantzopoulou, predicted that the global financial crisis would intensify in the coming period, especially in the poorer counries of Europe and Central Asia.
She said that the poorer countries would face a greater cost from the crisis, compared with the Us, Britain and Germany, because "their economies were weak when the crisis arrived".
As for Greece, she said that the expenditure efficiency index was very low, and therefor reforms were required so that "more will be done with much less".
National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) president Dimitris Armenakis said that "in Greece things aren'g as bad as in other countries, provided that we do not allow them to get worse".
He said the good psychology on the market was a weapon for weathering the crisis, and the climate of general consensus was a condition for "getting back on our feet", while he also called for measures to boost employment and liquidity in the real economy.
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