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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-04

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM reiterates support for Serbia's EU course
  • [02] ND on Parliamentary com'ts of inquiry
  • [03] Athens: Stability program in Jan.
  • [04] Greek PMI up in Dec.

  • [01] PM reiterates support for Serbia's EU course

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA) -- Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday reiterated Athens' standing and energetic support for Serbia's EU accession, in a published press interview appearing in the Serbian capital on the occasion of Papandreou's official visit here.

    "Greece fully supports Serbia's EU accession prospects and will stand by the Serbian people in this long and demanding phase," Papandreou was quoted as saying in an interview published in the Monday edition of the Belgrade daily "Vecernje Novosti".

    Regarding the thorny Kosovo issue and whether Greece has been pressured to recognise Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence, Papandreou stated that Athens' position on the issue "is known and will not change."

    "The stability of the greater region and international law remain the cornerstones of our policy and in this spirit we are focusing on efforts that are aimed at the creation of a safe and prosperous environment for all people in Kosovo, the Serb community included," Papandreou stated, adding that "the protection of the cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo is immensely important and our involvement in the region is proof of our dedication to these goals. This means that preserving the Serbian cultural and religious heritage is a top priority for everyone in the EU."

    Asked about the still unresolved fYRoM "name issue", Papandreou reminded that "Greece wishes a definitive settlement of the issue", while noting that the oft-repeated "national red line" is clear.

    "We have made an important step by saying that we will accept a name with a geographic qualifier. We expect from our neighbors to do the same and meet us half way."

    He also underlined that Greece welcomes a recent EU foreign ministers' council decision as regards the implementation of the interim agreement.

    Papandreou stated that the Thessaloniki Agenda, drawn up during the previous Greek EU Presidency, is still the cornerstone for the western Balkans' EU course, adding that the accession pace will depend on the performance of each individual country as regards agreed upon principles and preconditions. Moreover, he also expressed a conviction that Serbia's efforts toward this direction will produce specific results soon.

    Finally, he cited his proposal for a new "road map", one aimed at further facilitating the course toward the European integration in full compliance with existing EU standards and criteria, as he again cited 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, as a symbolic date.

    [02] ND on Parliamentary com'ts of inquiry

    Main opposition New Democracy party (ND) spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos stated on Monday that the party is in favor of all proposed Parliamentary committees of inquiry, while underlining that ND's stance on issues of transparency is firm.

    Panagiotopoulos also pointed out that ND will not allow any such committees to "misguide" the people away from the problems caused by the current government practices.

    Finally, he called on the government to present specific tax proposals and to implement a "concrete plan" and immediate actions that will lead to a recovery of the economy.

    [03] Athens: Stability program in Jan.

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA) -- The Greek government has promised to submit an updated economic stability programme to the European Commission in early January, in order to be assessed by the Commission and approved by an ECOFIN Council, a spokeswoman for Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said here on Monday.

    Spokeswoman Amelia Torres noted that the Commission has not yet received Greeceās stability programme and stressed that technical talks were currently underway between authorities from both sides.

    She added that the Commission was currently preparing its draft recommendation for setting new timetables for a correction of Greeceās fiscal deficit - following an assessment made by an ECOFIN Council on Dec. 3, 2009 - in order to have a new decision by an ECOFIN Council in February.

    The spokeswoman for the EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs commissioner reiterated that according to Community procedures, all member-states are obliged to submit updated stability and convergence programmes by the end of January.

    [04] Greek PMI up in Dec.

    (ANA-MPA) -- Greeceās seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managersā Index (PMI) jumped to a four-month high in December, although it remained below the 50-point threshold.

    The index rose to 48.8 points, reflecting a moderate worsening of the health of Greeceās manufacturing sector. Incoming businesses fell slightly in December, reflecting adverse economic conditions and negative comments over Greeceās economic outlook, which negative affected demand. As a result, Greek manufacturers cut their production at a slower rate in December compared with the previous month.

    Purchasing activity fell, at a slower rate, with enterprises cutting their strategic inventories, for the 10th consecutive month. Greek manufacturers also cut their employment levels in December.

    Markitās Purchasing Managersā Index measures business activity in the manufacturing sector.

    Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while readings below 50 a shrinking sector


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