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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Inner cabinet discusses illegal migration
  • [02] Athens hotels' occupancy rates down 15.2% in April
  • [03] Building activity down 14.9% in Jan-Mar
  • [04] Éndustrials' profits slide in '08
  • [05] 'Name issue' talks to resume

  • [01] Inner cabinet discusses illegal migration

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday chaired an inner cabinet meeting devoted to illegal immigration and the positions that Greece will adopt at the upcoming European Union summit. Reporting on the results of the meeting, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that illegal migration was the issue expected to dominate the next meeting of the European Council.

    According to Pavlopoulos, the main focus at the moment was to convert the EU's FRONTEX organisation into a European coast guard and to promote re-entry agreements. He underlined that each country separately would be unable to deal with the problem and that this required a common EU effort and policy.

    The minister pointed out that the issue of migration had also been discussed by EU interior ministers on the Thursday before the elections, adding that Greece, along with other countries, had since 2005 been at the forefront of efforts for a common European policy on migration, efforts that had led to the European pact for immigration and asylum.

    He again called on the EU to exert pressure on third countries to sign re-entry agreements for illegal migrants, stressing that Turkey must finally observe Community rules.

    Referring to the problems caused by immigrants but also drug addicts in the centre of Athens, Pavlopoulos said the transfer of the headquarters of the drug rehabilitation agency OKANA to a new location decided by the health ministry would be speeded up, and announced plans to build a mosque in the city and a Moslem cemetery at Schisto. A coordinating committee will be set up in order to ensure the immediate implementation of the measures, he added.

    Deputy interior minister for public order issues, Christos Markoyiannakis, said the government intended to introduce harsher penalties for immigrant smugglers, who would henceforth be charged with criminal offences rather than misdemeanours. In addition, the government intends to build organised centres where any illegal immigrants that are apprehended will be able to stay for up to 12 months.

    Caption: Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos (Left) and Deputy Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis (right) descend the steps outside the prime minister's offices in Maximos Mansion on Thursday, after a meeting of the inner cabinet on illegal immigration chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. ANA-MPA - Alexandros Beltes.

    [02] Athens hotels' occupancy rates down 15.2% in April

    Athens hotels' room occupancy rates fell by 15.2 pct in April, while revenues dropped by 22.6 pct in the same month, the Association of Athens-Attica Hoteliers announced on Thursday.

    The Association, in a statement, warned that a surge in petty crime against tourists and hotel employees in central Athens along with limited opening hours of major archaeological sites as well as the lack of proper street cleaning by several local municipalities were damaging the Greek capital's overall image as a favourable travel destination and urged for measures to improve conditions for citizens, employees and tourists.

    [03] Building activity down 14.9% in Jan-Mar

    Building activity fell by 8.1 pct in terms of new permits and by 14.9 pct in terms of volume in the January-March period of 2009, compared with the corresponding period in 2008, the National Statistical Service announced on Thursday.

    [04] Éndustrials' profits slide in '08

    Greek industrial companies' net profits fell by 1.4 billion euros in 2008, compared with the previous year, a survey by the ANA-MPA showed on Thursday.

    The survey, conducted on more than 2,000 enterprises with annual sales of more than 3.0 million euros and total sales of 64 billion euros, showed that net profits totaled 675 million euros in 2008, from 2.11 billion euros in 2007, for a decline of 68 pct ?the largest percentage decline recorded in the last 25 years. The figures cover corporate and not consolidated results of 2,084 Greek industries and reflected the impact of a global financial crisis. The survey also showed that more than six in 10 industrial enterprises recorded lower profits.

    Despite the crisis, however, 71.6 pct of companies remained profitable (1,499), while half of loss-making enterprises in 2008 were profitable in 2007.

    The survey showed that 1,499 companies recorded net profits totaling 2.1 billion euros, of which 1,336 recorded an 11 pct decline in net profits, while the remaining 163 had recorded losses in 2007

    Energy companies had a significant effect on total results. Excluding lignite mining and the electricity production sectors, net profits fell by 56 pct to 1.11 billion euros in 2008, while excluding oil refinery, net profits fell by 41 pct to 665 million euros.

    Pre-tax profits totaled 1.89 billion euros in 2008, while pre-tax, interest, depreciation and amortization earnings (EBITDA) fell 24 pct to 1.5 billion euros, while pre-tax and interest earnings fell 39 pct over the same period.

    The 100 industrial enterprises with the biggest corporate ?not consolidated- net earnings, recorded net profits of 1.5 billion euros, down 0.2 pct from 2007, with non-listed companies performing better.

    [05] 'Name issue' talks to resume

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA / N. Frangopoulos) -- The United Nations' special mediator for the outstanding "name issue" between Greece and its northern neighbour, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), will meet with envoys of the two countries on June 22 in Geneva, according to a UN announcement on Thursday that comes amid increased recent press speculation regarding a breakthrough in the 18-year-old row.

    UN mediator Matthew Nimetz will meet with Greek envoy Amb. Adamantios Vassilakis and the representative of fYRoM, Amb. Zoran Jolevski.

    Subsequent meetings are scheduled for July 6 and 7 in Skopje, to be followed in Athens on July 7 and 9, as Nimetz is expected to meet with each country's top diplomatic officials.

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