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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-10-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Ombudsman on public administration
  • [02] Wine testing event

  • [01] Ombudsman on public administration

    ANA-MPA/Public administration in Greece was "castrated, intimidated and afraid of responsibility" but needed to be given a chance to prove that it can solve problems, Greek Ombudsman George Kaminis claimed on Wednesday while addressing the newly sworn-in cabinet.

    Speaking at the invitation of Greece's new prime minister, George Papandreou, Kaminis also noted that the Ombudsman's office had been pointing out the problems for years but its recommendations were rarely followed.

    The ombudsman criticised what he called a tendency by ministers to surround themselves with their own, temporary aides instead of trusting in the abilities of civil servants, so that every change of government amounted to a small "revolution" in public administration.

    He also called for the adoption of targets, both in the short, medium and long term, that would be pursued regardless of changes in government. Kaminis said this model had been adopted by the European Union several years ago and had also been nominally adopted by a Greek law passed in February 2004 but the progress made in this direction since had been extremely slow.

    On the radical reforms to public administration announced by Papandreou, Kaminis said that this would bring about substantial savings and streamline public administration, while urging the conversion of Citizens Service Centres into "one-stop shops" and warning that information technology was not a "panacea" and had to be backed up by political decisions to solve problems.

    The ombudsman also referred to the problem of illegal migration, saying that this was likely to continue for many years and required immediate action and decisions. He urged the creation of an "intermediate stage" and tighter definition of political asylum but stressed that Greece could not send out a message that anyone arriving in the country would eventually be made legal.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Ombudsman George Kaminis.

    [02] Wine testing event

    A wine-tasting event will take place in Thessaloniki's main Aristotelous Square on Saturday, hosted by the Wine Producers Association of the Northern Greece Vineyard (EBOABE).

    The need for a long-term strategic plan to boost Greek wine exports and help overcome the sector's long-standing problems was underlined in a press conference by EBOABE representatives on Wednesday.

    The Greek Vineyard is approximately 70,000 hectares, while annual wine production reaches four million hectoliters. The annual per capita consumption is estimated at 27-30 liters. Roughly 35 million liters of Greek wines are exported annually to 47 countries.

    Greeks prefer the locally produced wines while the most attractive foreign markets for the Greek wines are the United States, Canada, Germany and Russia.


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