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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs Inner Cabinet meeting
  • [02] Real estate market slowed in 2008
  • [03] Foreign national arrested for the killing of an off-duty deputy police sergeant
  • [04] LAOS euroelections ticket
  • [05] Deputy FM on Turkey

  • [01] PM chairs Inner Cabinet meeting

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Inner Cabinet to discuss digital convergence.

    Economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou briefed the Inner Cabinet on what he called the immense progress made in that area, stressing that Greece, from the last country in Europe with respect to digital convergence, has now reached the EU average in very many aspects.

    Papathanassiou was due to make detailed announcements later at the ministry.

    [02] Real estate market slowed in 2008

    Greece's real estate development market's growth rate have slowed as signs of saturation in the market combined with the slower growth rate of mortgage lending and a negative climate prevailing because of a general economic uncertainty have led to around 200,000 unsold houses, while house prices have fallen by 10-12 pct in the period 2007/08, with larger flats hit mostly, a survey by Hellastat said on Tuesday.

    The survey said a trend towards used houses and renegotiation of contract terms in commercial real estate properties were currently prevailing in the Greek market, while the country house market is also feeling pressures, with demand and prices falling as much as 30 pct in the second half of 2008.

    Shopping centers have grown significantly in the last few years, with returns moving around 6-6.5 pct in 2008. However, retail shop leasing prices have fallen by 10 pct on average in the second half of 2008, with the exception of high-street shops. The rate of available shops in Athens is constantly rising. The office market is characterised by high ownership rates, with available office spaces in Athens ranging at 6.0 milloin sq.m., with rental prices are down 7-9 pct.

    The return of industrial and logistics space ranged around 7.5.-8.0 pct, with the market sufferig from lack of high quality spaces.

    [03] Foreign national arrested for the killing of an off-duty deputy police sergeant

    A 26-year-old Albanian national, who came illegally to Greece early this year, was arrested for the shooting death of a 36-year-old deputy police sergeant on March 5 in the process of an armed robbery in the Bank of Cyprus in the district of Nikea, Athens.

    The off-duty police officer, who happened to be in the vicinity, was killed when he chased after the robber who passed running in front of him. The robber shot him four times.

    The suspect was arrested in downtown Athens following a police investigation. During questioning he admitted that he had joined a criminal gang of Albanian nationals and since January 8 they had committed a total of 12 armed robberies in banks in Athens and Piraeus. On the day he was chased by the victim he had acted alone.

    [04] LAOS euroelections ticket

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on Tuesday unveiled his party's list of candidates for the June 7 European Parliament elections, which is headed by economist Niki Tzavela, followed by lawyer Athanassios Plevris in the second spot and lawyer Nikos Salavrakos in the third spot, while the final spot on the 22-candidate ticket, which is an honorary spot, was taken by the party's outgoing Europarliamentarian Ambassador George Georgiou.

    Addressing a press conference in Athens during which he released LAOS' Europarliament ticket, Karatzaferis said that the party's target for the Euroelections was 4.2 percent, the percentage that LAOS had amassed in the preceding European Parliament elections.

    Karatzaferis said that the recent adjournment of parliament ahead of the Euroelections was not in deviation of the Constitution.

    He put some of the responsibility for the House's closure, however, on main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, who he charged had converted parliament into a court interrogation room.

    Karatzaferis also referred to his own proposal, which was not passed, that the present parliament plenary remain in session until June 8, the day after the Euro-elections, after which the politicians would decide what they would do with the scandal cases before the House, adding that the closure of parliament served not only the ruling New Democracy (ND) party but other parties as well.

    He also said that the closure of the Siemens slush funds case by parliament also served PASOK, not because there was a risk of referral (to a special court on the accountability of ministers) of some of its own officials, but for reasons of morale, as the noise that would have arisen would have been harmful to the main opposition party.

    Karatzaferis further charged that "we will never learn the truth" about the Vatopedi Monastery-State land transactions affair, the Pavlidis case and other cases, and "we will never find out which ministers (past and present) took bribes".

    The LAOS leader also criticised prime minister Costas Karamanlis and Papandreou of not speaking a word about the "burning European issues", adding that he would seek a debate next week with the other political party leaders so that the people may be informed of their positions on all those issues.

    Finally, Karatzaferis charged that there were certain Greek Eurodeputies who, over the past five years, had voted in favor of maintenance of the Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus and of the casus belli.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Popular Orthodox Rally leader George Karatzaferis

    [05] Deputy FM on Turkey

    Madrid (ANA-MPA/Ch. Poulidou) -- "Greece is absolutely clear. It supports Turkey's accession to the EU as a full member, provided it first fully abides by its commitments," Greek deputy foreign minister Yiannis Valynakis said on Tuesday, replying to press questions in Madrid on recent statements by German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicola Sarkozy that Turkey should head towards a "special status" rather than an accession prospect.

    Greece's position was also the position of the EU, although the German and French leaders appeared to have a different view, Valyanis said, adding that Greece continues to believe that the ball was in Turkey's court and Ankara's degree of meeting the obligations it has undertaken.

    On the Ministerial' special session marking the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe, Valynakis spoke of "a great day in the history of Europe", noting that Greece had been one of the founding members of the Council and stressing that "on our days, the family of democratic countries has grown, and the application of human rights has broadened".

    He said that the Council of Europe foreign ministers had discussed, during the special session, ways of making protection of human rights more efficient, speeding up the dispensation of justice by the European Court of Human Rights, and ways for a more productive collaberation among the Council of Europe, the EU and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the area of human rights and also, more generally, the consolidation of peace, stability and security.

    Valynakis recalled that Greece, as chairman of the OSCE, had made a specific contribution to the building of the European institutional architecture and can also contribute constructively to rendering the activities of the three above organisations supplementary to each other.

    The Greek official further referred to his meeting with his Moldovan counterpart, noting that the tension in the relations between Moldova and Romania was an issue that Greece was concerned about, given that Moldova is an OSCE member and also because Greece supports the European orientation of the region.

    However, Valynakis stressed, Greece insists that all the required criteria are respected.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Deputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valynakis

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