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

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM briefed on Euroelections procedure
  • [02] Papandreou addresses conference on Europe
  • [03] Deputy FinMin attends Black Sea 2007-2013 conference
  • [04] Comments on parliament vote on Pavlidis case
  • [05] Croatian, Albanian envoys host reception on occasion of countries' NATO accession
  • [06] Sioufas receives Czech chamber of deputies' speaker
  • [07] Upswing in tourist arrivals on Rhodes
  • [08] House rejects Pavlidis' indictment
  • [09] Papoulias in Helsinki
  • [10] Negative growth in 2009
  • [11] ╩╩┼ candidates for MEP
  • [12] ASE : Big rise
  • [13] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] PM briefed on Euroelections procedure

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Tuesday with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, following the publication in the Government Gazette on Monday of the Presidential Decree designating June 7 as the date for the European Parliament elections in Greece, thus formally opening the campaign period.

    Pavlopoulos told reporters afterwards that he also briefed the prime minister on statistics regarding the electoral body and on the procedures for the Euroelections.

    The target, he added, was to have a campaign period and elections that befitted Greece's political culture.

    Pavlopoulos further said that the present Euroelections were crucial for Europe, in the midst of the global financial crisis, noting that his ministry had initiated the relevant procedures early so that the process would be conducted in the proper manner.

    [02] Papandreou addresses conference on Europe

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed a conference organised by the Strategic and Development Studies Institute (ISTAME) on the theme " The Europe that we desire" on Monday night, stressing that the Euroelections in June "will be the beginning of a new course for Europe".

    "Europe that we have today is not Europe that we desire," he said and attributed its "bad course" to the "domination" of conservative governments in European countries.

    Papandreou further said that the "inequality of wealth and political strength lie at the nucleus of the present crisis, which is profoundly political and has considerable repercussions for the economy."

    He spoke of "greed, profiteering, accumulation of great wealth and creation of great inequalities, as well as of the capturing of democratic institutions, corruption and untransparency that are being observed over the past years of the conservatives' domination."

    The PASOK leader also referred to "the ideology of the free market" which, as he said, "has been rejected since the theoreticians of neo-liberalism themselves have recognised the need of a strong state." He focused in particular on a phrase by Milton Friedman, who is being considered the father of neo-liberalism, who, according to Papandreou, said that a law-abiding state is more essential than privatisation.

    The PASOK leader also noted that "we want a market that will serve general welfare, the citizen and his needs and a supervising state that will safeguard the rights of the citizen, and which will control and regulate the market."

    Papandreou added that "what we need today is a radical democratic model, both on a national and global scale, as well as the humanisation of globalisation."

    A global governance system, as he said, must move along three axes: Firstly, on the democratic reshaping of old institutions, secondly, the creation of new supervising institutions for markets and, thirdly, a change in global representation.

    Papandreou stressed that the Euroelections in June must signal Europe's progressive direction, terming the election struggle "a struggle which is exclusively political and ideological," adding that "the real wager today is socialism and democracy or barbarism."

    Referring, lastly, to the European Union's role, he said that it must be a regulating one on the international chessboard and must be based on a common foreign policy and "a genuine defence and security policy".

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou address the conference " The Europe that we desire" on Monday 4 May 2009.ANA-MPA/ALEXANDROS BELTES

    [03] Deputy FinMin attends Black Sea 2007-2013 conference

    Deputy National Economy and Finance Minister Athanasios Bouras represented Greece in the opening session of the "Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme 2007-2013" Conference and project preparation workshop in Bucharest on Tuesday, where he underlined the region's important role in the global geo-strategic planning.

    Addressing the conference, he stressed that "Greece has strongly and actively supported all European Commission programmes in the region seeking a closer cooperation with the Black Sea countries."

    The close ties linking Greece with the region are being highlighted through its participation in networks and organizations promoting regional development, he pointed out.

    [04] Comments on parliament vote on Pavlidis case

    "The Hellenic Parliament has voted. The MPs did their duty in voting by conscience, in accordance with the Constitution and the Rules of Parliament," government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said, shortly after the 300-member House voted against the indictment of former minister and current ruling New Democracy MP Aristotelis Pavlidis in the early hours of Tuesday morning, on bribery charges stemming from allegations by a ferryboat line operator.

    Parliament, in a secret ballot, failed to muster an absolute majority of 151 votes required by the Constitution to pass the indictment, as 144 MPs voted in favor of Pavlidis' indictment and referral to a special court on the accountability of ministers while 146 voted against, with 5 blank ballots cast and 3 abstentions (in which the MPs merely stated their presence) among the 298 MPs taking part in the proceedings. One MP was absent from the session, and Pavlidis was not eligible to cast a vote as the proceedings concerned him.

    "We naturally respect the vote of the Greek deputies, as we always respect the institutional operation of parliament," Antonaros added.

    Main opposition PASOK press officer George Papaconstantinou said that the outcome of the vote in parliament was a defeat for prime minister Costas Karamanlis and his government, and gave rise to a major political issue.

    He added that the majority of the MPs had voted in favor of Pavlidis' indictment, which constituted a vote of responsibility and dignity on the part of the political system, whereas ND opted for write-off and cover-up.

    [05] Croatian, Albanian envoys host reception on occasion of countries' NATO accession

    The Croatian and Albanian ambassadors to Greece on Monday evening hosted a joint reception at a well-known downtown Athens hotel on the occasion of the two countries' recent accession to NATO.

    The speaker of the Parliament of Croatia, Luka Bebi─, was also in attendance, as he arrived in the Greek capital to attend a meeting of Parliament heads of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (AII) member-states.

    Additionally, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis attended the event and congratulated the two ambassadors, Albania's Vili Minarolli and Croatia's Vesna Cvjetkovi─ Kurelec, on their accession to the Alliance.

    [06] Sioufas receives Czech chamber of deputies' speaker

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas met on Monday with the visiting Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, Miloslav Vl─ek, on the sidelines of the VII meeting of parliaments heads of Adriatic & Ionian Initiative member-states, which is taking place in Athens within the framework of the Greek chairmanship.

    Vl─ek referred to the pending ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the Czech Senate, where he expressed optimism that the process will be completed.

    He thanked Sioufas for the participation of a Greek MP in an upcoming peace mission to Gaza as part of an initiative by the EU Czech Presidency.

    On his part, Sioufas underlined that the Treaty of Lisbon is an opportunity that will have to be utilised in the best possible way by the parliaments of the 27 EU member states, as taking advantage of the clauses aimed at upgrading the role of the national parliaments and their authority on the issues of subsidiarity and proportionality will make citizens more involved in shaping the European reality.

    [07] Upswing in tourist arrivals on Rhodes

    Tourist arrivals on the southeastern Aegean island of Rhodes increased 30 pct in April compared to the same month in 2008, according to figures announced by Rhodes' "Diagoras" International Airport.

    Roughly 42,295 tourists arrived on the island on board chartered flights, with the number of French tourists recording a notable increase (6,467 arrivals). The number of tourists from Germany, Britain, Sweden, Finland and Israel was also considerable, contradicting ominous forecasts based on the global economic crisis.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of a view of the port of Rhodes.

    [08] House rejects Pavlidis' indictment

    Parliament in the early hours Tuesday morning voted not to indict former minister and current ruling New Democracy deputy Aristotelis Pavlidis on bribery charges stemming from allegations by a ferryboat line operator, with 144 deputies voting against an indictment and 146 voting in favour, with the proposal for indictment, which was tabled by main opposition PASOK party, thus failing to gather the aboslute 151 majority of the House.

    The vote in the 300-MP legislature, excluding Pavlidis, was conducted by secret ballot, as 5 blank votes were cast and 3 deputies voted 'present' out of 298 deputies participating in it.

    The case emerged after Pavlidis and coastal shipper Fotis Manoussis traded accusations and counter-accusations over lucrative state-subsidised ferry boat links in the Aegean while the former was merchant marine minister before September 2007.

    [09] Papoulias in Helsinki

    HELSINKI (ANA-MPA - N. Megadoukas) President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday began a four-day official visit to Finland, as the guest of Finnish President Tarja Halonen.

    Papoulias arrived in Helsinki on Monday afternoon, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, and is due to have private talks with Halonen on Tuesday morning. The two presidents will then participate in a meeting between the official delegations of their two countries, expected to cover a broad range of bilateral and international issues.

    The Greek president is next due to visit the Helsinki Town Hall, where there will be a lunch and he will be awarded the city's medal of honour, while on Tuesday evening he will attend an official dinner given in his honour by Finland's president.

    On Wednesday, Papoulias will attend a conference for Greek and Finnish business people that will be addressed by Varvitsiotis and then visit Finland's Parliament and meet Finnish Parliament Speaker Sauli Niinist├Â, followed by a meeting with Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

    During his visit, the Greek president is also due to attend a mass at Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki, led by the head of the Finnish Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Karelia and all Finland Leo and the head of its most populous Helsinki diocese, Metropolitan Ambrosius.

    Early on Wednesday afternoon, Papoulias is due at Helsinki University to address a seminar organised by the Finnish Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. Other speakers at the event will include archaeology professors Dimitris Pandermalis, current head of the organisation for the construction of the new Acropolis museum, and Anthony Snodgrass, chair of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. Papoulias is then scheduled to return to the Helsinki Town Hall for the opening of a photography exhibition on the restoration of the Athens Acropolis and the construction of the new Acropolis Museum.

    He returns to Athens early on Thursday afternoon.

    [10] Negative growth in 2009

    Greek economy will shrink by 0.9 pct this year recovering to a 0.1 pct growth in 2010, the European Commission said on Monday.

    In its spring forecasts for the European economy, the EU's executive said the Eurozone economy will shrink 4.0 pct this year and by 0.1 pct in 2010, while it made similar negative forecasts for the EU-27 economy as well.

    In its January estimates, the Commission forecast a 0.2 pct economic growth rate for Greece in 2009 (-1.9 pct in the Eurozone and -1.8 pct in the EU-27), and a 0.7 pct growth rate for 2010 (0.4 pct in the Eurozone and 0.5 pct in the EU-27).

    The Greek fiscal deficit its projected to jump to 5.1 pct in 2009 and to 5.7 pct in 2010, sharply up from its previous estimates (3.7 pct and 4.2 pct, respectively). Thirteeen out of Eurozone's 16 member-states are expected to report fiscal deficits above the 3.0 pct of GDP limit. In the Eurozone, Ireland's fiscal deficit is projected at 12 pct in 2009 and 15.6 pct in 2010, in France the deficit will rise to 3.4 pct this year and 6.6 pct in 2010, in Italy (4.5 pct and 4.8 pct), in Austrial (4.2 pct and 5.3 pct), Portugal (6.5 pct and 6.7 pct), Slovenia (5.5 pct and 6.5 pct), Denmark (3.9 pct and 5.9 pct), Malta (3.6 pct and 3.2 pct), Holland (3.4 pct and 6.1 pct) and Slovakia (4.7 pct and 5.4 pct).

    The Greek public debt is projected to rise to 103.4 pct of GDP this year, from 97.6 pct in 2008 and to 108.0 pct in 2010. The Commission had projected that the public debt would rise to 96.2 pct this year and to 98.4 pct of GDP in 2010. In the Eurozone, the public debt is projected to total 77.7 pct of GDP this year, rising to 83.8 pct in 2010, from 69.3 pct in 2008.

    Greek unemployment is expected to rise to to 9.1 pct of the workforce this year and to 9.7 pct in 2010, from 7.7 pct in 2008, while in the Eurozone, the unemployment rate is projected at 9.9 pct in 2009 and 11.5 pct in 2010. In January, the Commission had forecast that Greek unemployment would rise to 9.0 pct this year and 9.4 pct in 2010.

    Greek inflation is projected to fall to 1.8 pct this year, rising to 2.3 pct in 2010, from 4.2 pct in 2008. In the Eurozone, the inflation rate is projected at 0.4 pct in 2009 and 1.2 pct in 2010.

    [11] ╩╩┼ candidates for MEP

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Monday announced the party's ballot of 22 candidates for next month's European Parliament elections.

    The ballot is headed by current MEP Thanassis Pafilis, with MEP George Toussas in the second spot, followed by Babis Aggourakis in the third spot.

    Papariga said that the composition of the KKE's Europarliament ticket corresponded to the party's policy positions for the "battle of the Euro-elections", as well as to the party's social, age and political cooperation and alliance.

    Turning to domestic political developments, the KKE leader said that the scandals were the "refuge" of ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK, accusing the two mainstream parties of not wanting to say the truth but, rather, to salvage the system, the capitalist market and the strategy of the monopolies.

    She said that the "gossip, sanctification of or mudslinging against individuals in order to keep the system intact" was the "easy solution", as was the practice of the two mainstream parties accusing each other of partisanship, political favors and games of authority.

    Papariga said that a vote for the KKE could today express, in the best way, a broad range of working people, while she also stressed the importance of participation in the Euroelections.

    Conversely, she continued, a vote for ND or PASOK, especially in times of crisis such as the present, meant a 'green light' for new measures, opposition for the sake of which party will be in the government, while a vote for the other, smaller parties was politically a "lost vote" not because of the small size of those parties, but because of their political stance and actions.

    More specifically, she charged that the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party was ready to "place exchanges on the scale", playing the game of extortion on which of the two mainstream parties needed LAOS, and accused that party of being deeply reactionary but with a mild attitude towards ND and PASOK while slandering the other parties, and more particularly the KKE.

    Papariga further accused the Ecologists-Greens of a similar stance, and of assigning green development to the monopolies.

    As for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), she called it an "all slogans party" which "heads to the right" when the movement is on the decline and "adopts Leftist jargon" when the movement is on the rise.

    The KKE currently has three MEPs, all of whom appear on the party ticket for the June 7 Europarliament elections in Greece: Pafilis (first spot), Toussas (second spot), and Constantine Droutsas (22nd spot).

    Caption: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga at the party's headquarters in Perissos, Athens on Monday 4 May 2009. ANA-MPA/ALEXANDROS BELTES

    [12] ASE : Big rise

    Equity prices were rising on Tuesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 3.04 percent, standing at 2,160.06 points at 12:15 p.m., and turnover at 125.8 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly upward, with the biggest gains in Banks, up 7.13 percent; Insurance, up 5.69 percent; Mass Media, up, 4.32 percent; and Industrial Products, up 3.93 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Travel & Recreation, down 0.41 percent and Food and Beverages, down 0.05 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 3.93 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 3.31 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 6.67 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 138 were up, 28 were down, and 19 were unchanged.

    [13] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Parliament plenary vote against indictment of former minister and ruling New Democracy deputy Aristotelis Pavlidis and the European Commission's revised forecasts on the Greek economy dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "And now Siemens! After the end of the political 'show' on whether to indict Pavlidis or not".

    APOGEVMATINI: "1:00 a.m.: After a 7-hour session, parliament decided not to indict Pavlidis".

    AVGHI: "Scandalous government - ND's deputies acquitted Pavlidis and sent a cover-up message, insulting the people's intelligence".

    AVRIANI: "PASOK tripped up once again - Two of its deputies voted against Pavlidis' indictment".

    CHORA: "No indictment, with five blank votes - Parliament finished with accusations against Pavlidis".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Ballot outcome gives extension to government's life".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Marginal acquittal for Pavlidis: 146 votes in favor of indictment, 144 against, 5 blank votes and 3 abstentions (in which the MPs merely stated their presence)" among the 298 MPs in the 300-member House that took part in the vote, as MP Papayannakis was absent from the proceedings and Pavlidis did not have the right to vote.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The majority said 'Yes', the result was 'No' - What the parliament plenary decided on the Pavlidis indictment".

    ESTIA: "The 'deserts' of the ballot - Heavy shadow over ND"

    ETHNOS: "Laundry for Pavlidis and government - With 5 blank votes and 3 abstentions, the door was closed on double elections".

    KATHIMERINI: "European Commission's forecast on Greek economy is ominous - Drop in GDP for the EU '27'."

    LOGOS: "Commission forecasts on Greek economy are ominous".

    NIKI: "The economy collapsing - Blow from Commission with strict supervision".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) candidates for the European Parliament elections were announced on Monday".

    TA NEA: "Pavlidis was let off the hook but...".

    TO VIMA: "European Commissioner for economic and financial affairs Joaquin Almunia recommends to Greek government: Reduce salaries in public and private sector".

    VRADYNI: "Pavlidis will not be referred to a Special Court (on the accountability of ministers) - The issue of his resignation remains open".


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