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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-08-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK criticises gov't over wildfires
  • [02] 200,000 jobs threatened in 2009
  • [03] ASE opening: Rise

  • [01] PASOK criticises gov't over wildfires

    A main opposition PASOK party spokesman reacted angrily on Wednesday afternoon to an earlier statement by the government spokesman regarding the wildfires and PASOK's scathing criticism, namely, over the comment that "populism is in PASOK's DNA."

    PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that "within the DNA of the (ruling) New Democracy party lie incompetence, corruption and insensitivity," adding that "they did not even apologise; no one had the decency to assume the responsibilities, and they have the audacity to attack PASOK."

    He further said that "what we are hearing from the government spokesman is unacceptable and insults the intelligence and the sensitivity of the Greek people."

    Asked to comment on the measures taken by the government in the wake of the wildfires, Papaconstantinou said "some are self-evident, but the problem is the credibility that the government lost in 2007, seeing what happened in the affected regions. We have no confidence at all in the government that it is performing the task of reforestation, protection of the environment and the controlling of trespassing."

    Queried over critical press reports concerning policies of past PASOK governments on the issue of forestland and environment protection of such areas, he said "the protection of the environment and applied rules is a complicated issue. The governments of PASOK took a series of measures to protect from trespassing. We are not claiming that we did everything correctly. Surely, the current situation is entirely different ... a new policy is now required for this and the policy whose focal element is 'green development' is part of this."

    Asked if a PASOK government will "demolish unauthorised (illegally built) buildings in forests," he said "we are in favour of the strict observance of the law that concerns unauthorised buildings, therefore, yes."

    Earlier, PASOK sector head and MP Haris Kastanidis charged that in "two years we have experienced an unbelievable ecological disaster with huge consequences" and accused the government of having "the absolute responsibility for these two huge ecological crimes, that of 2007 and of 2009."

    He stressed that despite the fact that already since December 2006, the Ombudsman had sent a document to the then Development minister, according to which a precondition for the effective protection of forests is the preparation and issuing of forest maps, adding that "there was nothing that made us wiser."


    In an unrelated issue and regarding the ongoing Siemens affair and a written reply sent on Tuesday to PASOK by the German attorney for one-time Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos, Papaconstantinou said "first of all it was a reply in a very regular tone. The reply confirms the correctness of our move and makes it clear that Mr. Christoforakos or his lawyer cannot produce evidence (of illegal contributions to political parties)."

    Papaconstantinou stressed that PASOK feels vindicated and asked why "ND did not take the same challenge."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK headquarters in Athens

    [02] 200,000 jobs threatened in 2009

    Around 200,000 jobs have been lost or are threatened in the country since the beginning of the year, a survey by the small enterprises' institute of the General Confederation of Small Manufacturers and Traders of Greece (GSEVEE) stated on Wednesday.

    The survey, conducted by the MARC polling company, focused problems facing small enterprises because of the financial crisis and showed that job losses in the last six months totaled 85,250 in the country, while it predicted that another 90-100,000 job positions could be threatened by the end of the year.

    GSEVEE also said that based on figures provided by the country's regional chambers, a difference between business closures and opening was narrowing mainly because business closures have risen lately. The survey also showed that 72 pct of enterprises reported a significant decline in demand despite the fact that 90 pct of them kept or lowered their prices and services this year, compared with 2008.

    GSEVEE recommended changes in the operations of OAED, the Manpower Employment Organisation, and expressed its opposition to a government decision to hire private companies for tax inspections. A prolonged pre-election period, combined with uncertainty over the timing of the next general elections in the country, was also cited as another negative factor for business in the sector.

    [03] ASE opening: Rise

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Thursday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 0.81 percent, standing at 2,566.23 points at 10:45 a.m., and turnover at 30.1 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly upward, with the biggest gains in Oil and Gas, up 2.17 percent; Chemicals, up 1.64 percent; Financial Services, up 1.53 percent and Banks, up 1.13 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Construction, down 0.60 percent; and Media, down 0.47 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 0.98 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 0.64 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.07 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 66 were up, 31 were down, and 27were unchanged.

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