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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 <>


  • [01] PM: Gov't does everything to support tourism
  • [02] FinMin on Ecofin meeting

  • [01] PM: Gov't does everything to support tourism

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing the 17th Regular General Assembly of the Assoaciation of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) on Tuesday night, said that the government, acknowledging the economic and social importance of tourism, "is exhausting every possibility to support it and did more than for any other sector".

    "The curbing of the unfavourable consequences is a top priority for the government," the prime minister said, adding that "the ultimate goal is the preservation and boosting of our tourist product's potential. Let us think and act with the aim of transforming the international crisis into a national opportunity."

    Addressing those involved in tourism, Karamanlis said that at a time of global economic crisis it is in their interest to place even greater emphasis on compressing prices.

    "What is necessary for this aim is the development of the greatest effort possible, combined with the preservation of high-level services." He further said that this effort is to benefit both the tourist industry and society.

    Outlining the government's actions to handle the crisis in the tourist sector, Karamanlis said that it is impossible to give full responses to the needs and the demands that are raised by each axis separately.

    "Policies with a unilateral goal would cause an imbalance and unfavourable side-effects," he noted.

    "Promises to all and for everything, particularly during this difficult conjuncture, would constitute either overt hypocrisy and mockery or ignorance and slipping towards dangerous paths. Policies whose aim is 'to sound pleasant' are unaware of international realities and cannot be useful for the country," the prime minister said.

    "Policies that solve difficult situations with pleasant measures have not been found and cannot be found anywhere in the world," Karamanlis concluded.

    Tourist Development Minister Costas Markopoulos said on his part that in this difficult year, with the global insecurity of citizens due to the international economic crisis, policy plays a serious role in maintaining the competitiveness of Greek tourism.

    "In this difficult year, the government is contributing to a great extent to supporting Greek tourism and is playing a leading role in many issues compared to its competitors," he added.

    The minister also stressed that the situation concerning the course of tourist movement is improving considerably in past weeks, despite the period's bad beginning.

    SETE President Nikos Angelopoulos said that coordination between ministries jointly involved in tourism must be conducted either directly by the prime minister or by a body accountable directly to him, adding that "this continues to be the main demand of tourism's businessmen and professionals."

    [02] FinMin on Ecofin meeting

    The explosion of the unemployment rate in the European Union was the biggest social problem facing EU member-states, Greek Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said on Tuesday, adding that employment in Greece remained in better levels compared with other EU states.

    Speaking to reporters in Brussels, after an Ecofin meeting, the Greek minister said the government was determined to combating unemployment with specific measures, such as programs for the construction sector.

    Commenting on the European Commissionâs unfavourable spring forecasts both for the European and the Greek economy, Papathanasiiou said that, based on new fundamentals, Greece would do the best it can to achieve its fiscal targets for 2009 and 2010.

    He stressed that the Greek government would brief the Council in June over the condition of the Greek economy and over its plans to cut its fiscal deficit at 3.0 pct of GDP by 2010. ?If we need to take additional measures, we will do it,? he said, adding that ?our obligation is to submit a specific plan by October 24. We wonât wait until then if we have to do something more?.

    He underlined, however, that any additional measures would depend on the performance of the Greek economy, while he added that the Commission did not take into account the Greek governmentâs measures to boost economic activity in the country.

    Papathanasiou said the Council meeting also discussed changes in the taxation of tobacco products. ?Our interest is to support Greek production, the Greek tobacco industry and job positions,? he said, adding that the Council leaned towards a compromise proposal in favour of Greek interests, although it failed to reach a decision.

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