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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-10-21

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] No date yet for ND extraordinary congress
  • [02] Gov't submits new deficit figure

  • [01] No date yet for ND extraordinary congress

    The chairman of main opposition New Democracy's (ND) organising committee for the party's upcoming extraordinary congress, Dimitris Sioufas, on Wednesday stated that no specific date has been set for the election of a new party leadership, adding however, that the process should be completed by Dec. 14.

    The ND congress will be held on Nov. 7.

    Outgoing ND leader Costas Karamanlis has accepted the agreement reached by the four official candidates for the party's leadership, according to which, the new president will be elected by the party members within a month following the Nov. 7 congress, Sioufas stated.

    He also added that he has already clarified that changes are necessary to be made in the party's founding charter following the unanimous agreement of the four candidates. ND's central committee will undertake to introduce suggested amendments at the extraordinary congress for approval, thus clearing the way for the election of a new party leadership.

    [02] Gov't submits new deficit figure

    The Greek government will submit its official figures for the country‚s fiscal deficit in 2008 and a projection for 2009 -- surpassing 7.0 pct and around 12.5 pct, respectively -- to the European Commission on Wednesday, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said the same day.

    Speaking to reporters, Papaconstantinou said he will also send a letter to the EU‚s Executive explaining the actions taken for a reduction of the deficit over the last six months of the year, stressing that the Commission and an ECOFIN meeting would assess the condition of the Greek economy before the government submitted its updated stability and growth plan in January.

    Based on all these criteria, an ECOFIN meeting in February or March will decide on whether to give Greece an adjustment period to cut its deficit. The minister also said he briefed his EU counterparts that the recession in the country was worse than initial estimates, with the country‚s GDP expected to shrink by 1.5 pct this year.

    Papaconstantinou said he briefed EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia over the fact that the previous government was publishing "unrealistic data", as he charged, because of a worsening economy, a collapse of state revenues and excessive public spending. He acknowledged that this practice raised credibility problems and stressed that the new government would proceed with the establishment of an independent statistical service.

    He also pledged that the government would cut the fiscal deficit to a single-digit figure, beginning from 2010, with the aim to bring it below 3.0 pct of GDP after three or four years.

    ‚To achieve this we need bold changes,‚ Papaconstantinou said, adding that the government plans to drastically change the tax system in the first three months of 2010.

    He said the European Commission was "greatly concerned" over figures compiled by Greece, while Almunia underlined the need to combine fiscal consolidation with economic recovery measures. Papaconstantinou said this combination was fully compatible since it was redistributing income and cutting spending along with boosting investments.

    Finally, he underlined that Brussels was focusing more on efforts to cut spending.


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