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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Govt: economic problems not just in Greece
  • [02] Papoulias continues Finland visit

  • [01] Govt: economic problems not just in Greece

    Economic forecasts were becoming increasingly gloomy for all European Union countries and not just for Greece, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stressed in statements to reporters on Wednesday.

    "The prospects are unfavourable. The situation is not good and predictions for an increase in deficits apply to all countries," he said, reporting on Wednesday's inner cabinet meeting that focused on the economy. He warned that no predictions could be made with confidence, since the crisis was still unfolding.

    The spokesman underlined that several of the figures released by the European Commission for deficit, unemployment and growth in other European countries were worse than those for Greece.

    Antonaros said that the government had chosen the responsible path of telling people the whole truth and taking the measures, improvement and adjustments needed to exit from the crisis as quickly as possible with the fewest possible negative repercussions.

    He went on to dismissed criticism from main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou regarding the government's handling of economic affairs, accusing the main opposition leader of deliberately ignoring what was happening in the international arena and pointing out that 13 of the 16 countries in the Eurozone would have deficits higher than 3 percent in 2009 and at least three had deficits higher than that of Greece.

    "Mr. Papandreou does not realise, or does not want to realise, that if there had not been changes, reforms and structural adjustments in the last five years then the country would be in a much worse position," he added.

    [02] Papoulias continues Finland visit

    HELSINKI (ANA-MPA / N. Megadoukas) -- Greek President Karolos Papoulias' four-day official visit to Finland continued on Wednesday with separate meetings with Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and Parliament Speaker Sauli Niinistö.

    In a brief address before the Finnish Parliament, Papoulias pointed out the need to "expand democracy to the social and economic sector," and to "minimise the democracy deficit in the EU."

    He also called for "better understanding within the EU to avoid disappointing our peoples," stressing that "speaking about Greece, there is indeed a sense of disappointment stemming from the EU ... This is due to the EU red tape and to certain big countries that want to play a leading role in the EU rejecting the democratic equality of all its members," he clarified.

    Papoulias underlined the momentum characterising bilateral relations and referred to Greece's OSCE chairmanship for 2009, saying that "we are following Finland's steps and I hope that we will be equally successful, despite the fact that now we are faced with more problems."

    The Finnish parliament speaker issued an invitation to Greek Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas to visit Finland.

    Later, Papoulias attended 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. In the evening, he is scheduled to address a seminar organised by the Finnish Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles at the Helsinki University.

    Earlier on Wednesday morning Papoulias attended an event by the Greece-Finland Business Forum that was addressed by Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis, who underlined Athens' political will to promote bilateral economic and commercial cooperation with Helsinki.

    Varvitsiotis pointed out that "opportunities are always present despite the ongoing economic crisis," stressing that "the two countries can further strengthen their cooperation." He underlined Greece's central role in the economic progress of SE Europe, adding that it can facilitate the Finnish businesses that wish to become active in the region's rapidly developing market. He stressed that "the same can be done in the case of the Black Sea countries with which Greece has forged strong economic relations," pointing out "the rising geo-strategic importance of the specific region for obvious reasons."

    Varvitsiotis referred to the economic crisis, underlining that Greece, as a member of the Euro-zone, enjoys political and economic stability and has the largest per capita income in the region.

    The deputy FM also underlined that last year Greece had a satisfactory rate of exports, reminded that it has the third largest commercial fleet in the world and referred extensively to the government measures adopted to protect the Greek economy from the global economic crisis.

    On the sector of renewable energy sources, he stressed that the ideal climate conditions in Greece allow for new investments in clean energy.

    Caption: Orthodox Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland Leo (R) receives Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, in Helsinki's 19th century Uspenski Cathedral. ANA-MPA / V. VARDOULAKIS

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