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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs Inner Cabinet meeting
  • [02] Education minister holds talks with second generation immigrants organisations
  • [03] FinMin optimistic on economy
  • [04] Exports 17.9% down
  • [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] PM chairs Inner Cabinet meeting

    The Inner Cabinet, chaired by prime minister George Papandreou on Thursday discussed two bills on Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and on uploading all administrative acts and decisions on the Internet.

    Papandreou, in statements to the Inner Cabinet that were broadcast on state television, dedicated Thursday's session to the persons with a disability "who are waging a battle for a dignified life", stressing that "our policy is to eliminate all the obstacles that do not allow the equal participation of the citizens".

    The premier also referred to the killing of 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos (by a police officer in incidents in the Exarchia district on December 6, 2008), sending a message to the Greek youth that "we understand their problems, and also the reasons that make some of them feel they are in the margins, but we are here to give a message of hope to these children".

    "We are opposed to violence, both state and individual violence," Papandreou said, and called for the safeguarding of Athens and the institutions of democracy, while adding that a dialogue will take place to put forward the prospects of the young generation.

    On the first bill to be tabled by the government in parliament, Papandreou said that "society's cohesion cannot be achieved without transparency", adding that "the credibility of the institutions depends on the credibility of those who serve them".

    Papandreou said that the government will make significant changes in the manner of legislating, while regarding the uploading of administrative acts on the internet he stressed that "we want the citizens to known who decides what, and what the cost of every decision will be", adding that "the problem of corruption will not be solved overnight, but we are striking a heavy blow to the problem".

    Outlining the bill, interior, decentralisation and e-governance minister Yannis Ragoussis noted that the decisions of all ministers, general secretaries and special secretaries, first and second level local government agencies, public law entity administrators and agencies of the wider public sector will be uploaded, while a transparency service will also be set up in every ministry. He called on the political parties to shoulder their responsibilities "because public authority must be exercised in the light".

    He also explained that the uploading of the acts on the internet will not replace their publication in the Government Gazette or wherever else required by law, but supplement it, while decisions that are not required to be published in the Government Gazette will not be able to enter into force if they are not uploaded.

    Turning to other issues, Papandreou stressed that the country's exodus from the crisis will be accomplished through green development, and the second bill, that on the RES, provides for the production of new wealth, which will be shared out fairly.

    He said the RES are a top priority investment means, stressing that dependence on oil obstructs the autonomy of a country at the level of political decisions as well.

    Environment, energy and climate change minister Tina Birbili, outlining the RES bill, said the main goal was a drastic reduction of the time required for licensing RES, in conjunction with attainment of the national goal of meeting 20 percent of the country's energy needs by RES by 2020, with 40 percent of those covering electricity

    [02] Education minister holds talks with second generation immigrants organisations

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou met on Thursday afternoon with representatives of second generation immigrants in Greece.

    Speaking after the meeting, the minister said "today there are 200,000 children in our country that, although having their origin in other countries, were born and grew up in Greece and speak the Greek language. These are the children for whom our country is also their country."

    Diamantopoulou further said that "with their representatives, who are from the junior high school, the senior high school, university schools and youth groups we discussed important issues concerning the educational system. The changes in education now concern the generation of immigrants as well and start from the kindergarten, support classes and accession classes, the handling of the issue of the mother language and reach support for the parents who must have the possibility of communicating with teachers and with the community in the Greek language."

    [03] FinMin optimistic on economy

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, addressing Thursday the conference of the Greek Business Administration Company (EEDE) on the theme "Leadership in a new world", conveyed a message of optimism over the course of the Greek economy emanating from the country's "rare productive potential".

    The minister stressed that Greece "has very big economic difficulties, huge deficits and debts which, if we do not tame, will tame us and has a production image that has exhausted its limits."

    "The country has a series of things, which make me optimistic," he said, adding that "a really rare productive potential. And we see it everywhere. We also see it with Greek businesses, that are doing an excellent job, they are exporting successfully all over the world, but also with the Greeks who are working in Greece and abroad."

    Papaconstantinou pointed out that Greece "currently has a political leadership with an absolute understanding of problems, awareness of the crucialness of the situation and the political will to make these big reforms and changes."

    The minister further said that it is ready to make a fairer tax system, "in which a very large part will not tax evade. To take decisions that will guarantee the viability of our pensioning system. To make deep reforms in a system of education that as we see has been overtaken by developments."

    "Despite the difficulties, I want to be optimistic. And I want to convey this optimism. We are a government of only 50 days, that began under very difficult conditions and which as I believe is already beginning to show work in a shortl period of time," the minister underlined.

    [04] Exports 17.9% down

    Greek exports fell by nearly 18 percent in the first nine-month period of 2009, according to figures released on Thursday by the national exporters' association.

    Based on statistical service figures, the total value of export deliveries between January and September 2009 reached 10.73 billion euros, down from 13.06 billion euros in the corresponding period of 2008, a decrease of 17.9 percent.

    [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The draft bill on transparency in the public sector and Interior, Decentralisation and e-Governance minister Yannis Ragoussis' proposal on uploading all administrative acts on the internet, the new taxation system and government's measures against tax evasion, the changes in main opposition New Democracy (ND) and authorities' fear of clashes in Athens on the first anniversary of the killing of 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos (on December 6) by a policeman in incidents in the Athens district of Exarchia, dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Friday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Source of Wealth statement for all - First discussions for taxes on fuel oil, cigarettes, alcohol".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou preannounced additional tax measures in 2010".

    AVGHI: "Government attempting to divert attention away from the impasse of its economic policy by hastening the issue of the new electoral law".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Turkey is 'having a field day' (in the Aegean) and we ....are sleeping".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tax declarations will be judged with objective criteria".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Everything in plain view - All decisions will be uploaded on the Internet".

    ESTIA: "Government is slow in progress".

    ETHNOS: "Finance Ministry will offer incentives to citizens to declare their savings"

    IMERISSIA: "Trap for tax evaders".

    KATHIMERINI: "Measures for transparency with the Internet as the tool".

    LOGOS: "Government's decisions (will be posted) on the Internet".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Government's plan for heavy penalties against tax evasion".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Mass counter-attack against the universal attack on the people's rights".

    TA NEA: "No surcharges on credit cards and borrowing".

    TO VIMA: "Plea for a peaceful December".

    VRADYNI: "Greece takes the streets! The wave of discontent over the government's announcements surges".

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