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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Deputy FM Kouvelis on Greek-Russian bilateral cooperation
  • [02] Gov't: Business debts draft law on Thurs
  • [03] Parliament debate on social security
  • [04] DM Venizelos winds up Cyprus visit
  • [05] KKE on labour
  • [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Deputy FM Kouvelis on Greek-Russian bilateral cooperation

    Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis, speaking at the end of the Joint Greek-Russian Interministerial Committee session on Wednesday, stressed the determination of Greece and Russia to strengthen bilateral cooperation in many sectors, from which many Greek businesses will benefit in a period of economic crisis.

    The discussion started with energy cooperation and special emphasis was placed on the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline.

    The Greek side once again confirmed its interest in the speedy and effective implementation of the project, that is also of great interest for the country's energy planning, as Kouvelis said after the discussion.

    Also discussed was cooperation for the development of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, the renewal of the cooperation agreement on the supply of natural gas after the end of 2010 for 2016, as well as cooperation between Greece and Russia on green technology issues and the saving of energy.

    [02] Gov't: Business debts draft law on Thurs

    Economy, Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Louka Katseli, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, said a draft bill dealing with over-indebtedness of businesses and professionals towards banks will be submitted to Parliament by Thursday evening.

    Katseli further said the draft law concerning the settlement of debts owed by over-indebted individuals will also be forwarded in Parliament by next week at the latest.

    [03] Parliament debate on social security

    Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos set the year 2015 as "the year of the aggravation of the social insurance problem and of disaster", when the post-junta generation will be pensioned off, unless a solution is found now.

    Briefing the relevant Parliamentary Committee on the social insurance problem and the course of dialogue, Loverdos clarified the government's will to achieve the necessary agreements as soon as possible so that the "countdown" on solving the problem will begin in 2010.

    "The dimensions of the social insurance bomb will concern 2010, heightening in 2015, a year in which we question the possibility of the state to provide pensions, unless something is done today," the minister said.

    "We don't have time," he added, calling on all (political parties, social agencies, scientific world) to act jointly with proposals in the dialogue and sounded the alarm, referring to the EU's assessment according to which Greece pays 11.5 percent of GDP for pensions every year and in 2040 it will be paying 24.1 percent.

    On behalf of the main opposition New Democracy party, former deputy ministers Gerassimos Yiakoumatos and George Kontoyiannis said they will provide their consent for whatever positive measure is taken by the government, "the consent that the ND government also wished to have when it opened the social insurance issue."

    Yiakoumatos said that ND will be submitting its proposals officially shortly and added that "we shall stand by, without populism, everything positive and we shall support the government."

    [04] DM Venizelos winds up Cyprus visit

    Nicosia (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos) -- A solution of the Cyprus issue and development of Greek-Turkish relations are catalytic factors for Turkey's course to the EU, Greek defence minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Wednesday in Nicosia, during a meeting with the Cypriot House of Representatives' defence and foreign affairs committees.

    Venizelos, who arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday for a two-day official visit, stressed the need for a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus issue founded on the relevant UN Resolutions and in the framework of the EU principles.

    Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, the defence minister stressed that the Turkish threats in the Aegean and provocations must be terminated, and noted that even during his own flight to Cyprus on Tuesday, infringements of the air traffic regulations and violations of Greek airspace by Turkish fighter planes had taken place. He added that armed Turkish warplanes had made overflights over the Greek island of Agathonissi, and the intervention of the two military Staffs had been necessary to avert an accident, given that a military maneuver had been in progress at the time in a previously designated area.

    Venizelos assured the two committees of the continuation of the defence cooperation between Greece and Cyprus, which he noted is also foreseen among EU member states and in the Lisbon Treaty.

    "We are ascertaining how important Cyprus' accession to the European Union and the eurozone was," the minister added.

    Defence committee chairman Yannakis Omirou thanked Greece for its long-standing support to Cyprus, and expressed gratitude to the Greek officers and soldiers who have served, or are currently serving in Cyprus, while foreign affairs committee chairman Averof Neophytou said that Greece was and remains Cyprus' only selfless support, adding that Cyprus owes its EU accession and the upgrading of its defence capability to Greece.

    Venizelos later visited the camp of the Greek Forces in Cyprus (ELDYK) in Malounta, before leaving for Athens in the afternoon.

    [05] KKE on labour

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga unveiled on Wednesday bills drafted by her party on "reforms in labour relations in the public and private sector on the basis of the principle of full-time and steady work for all, with rights" and on "safeguarding the social security funds' reserves and broadening the workers' insurance and pension rights".

    Papariga accused Labour Minister Andreas Loverdos and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou of attempting to reverse the existing labour regime and social security system with "barbarous changes", adding that the working people must "declare war" on them.

    She said that the new PASOK government is "neither better nor worse" than the preceding New Democracy government, adding that the people should not feel "bound" by their vote but instead show their strength as an emerging popular majority.

    Papariga further said that her party has not been invited to the dialogue in the framework of the Council of Political Leaders, adding, however, that "whether we go or not, nothing changes, the government operates like an open book".

    [06] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Prime Minister George Papandreou's remarks on the state of the economy on Wednesday at an Inner Cabinet meeting and the pressure from abroad, the first draft laws to be tabled in parliament and the over-indebted households, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Regulations for over-indebted households".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras lambasts Papandreou".

    AVGHI: "Prime Minister 'discovers' that the fiscal impasse puts the national sovereignty at risk and calls for consensus".

    AVRIANI: "The fairy tale is over - Take severe measures immediately to avoid bankruptcy".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Shame! They are releasing the drug dealers from jail".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Unsuccessful politicians appointed to manage billions of euros, as general secretaries of the Peripheries".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "12 breathers for over-indebted households".

    ESTIA: "The state is strangling the economy".

    ETHNOS: "George (Papandreou): The impasse in the economy threatens the national sovereignty".

    IMERISSIA: "Additional measures on the horizon".

    KATHIMERINI: "Hard words - Measures on the way".

    LOGOS: "Country in intensive care .....Papandreou: 'The deficit threatens the national sovereignty'."

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Fitch Ratings downgrading of Greece's credit rating stirs up the government's waters".

    NIKI: "George: Battle for the economy and the national sovereignty".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist party of Greece leader Aleka Papariga's interview: The people must stand firm against the anti-labour changes".

    TA NEA: "George's dramatic statements at the Inner Cabinet meeting".

    TO VIMA: "Christmas bonus at risk".

    VRADYNI: "Search for consensus on harsh measures - Collapse in stockmarket continues".

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