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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-13
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 State of economy symptom of chronic problemsPM: State of economy symptom of chronic problems
Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking after a working luncheon he hosted at the Maximos Mansion for European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Tuesday, said that the present state of the Greek economy "is the symptom of chronic problems and what is most important is the credibility deficit which we guarantee that we shall achieve again both towards the Greek people and our partners in the European Union."
The prime minister stressed that the stability and development programme that the government will submit to the EU Commission will be an act of recovery for the country and will reflect institutional changes as well.
He also referred to the administrative reform plan presented at the Ministerial Council, as well as to the target of decreasing the deficit over a three-year period, a target that will be accompanied by the utilisation of funds for the turn of the country's economy to the competitive model of green development.
"We look forward to close cooperation both with the European Council president and the European Commission," Papandreou also stated.
Focusing on the discussion he had with Rompuy on immigration and asylum issues, the prime minister referred to the agreement between the EU and Turkey on these issues, to Frontex, to the EU's policy towards third countries and to the incorporation of legal immigrants and pointed out that the EU must play a decisive role on these issues.
Papandreou also referred the issue of the "Agenda 2014", meaning the proposal he has submitted for the accession of the Western Balkans to the EU in that year, saying that the cycle that opened 100 years ago with World War I must close with stability and rules of law abiding in the region, while this orientation will contribute both to internal reforms in these countries and to solving bilateral and regional problems.
On his part, the European Council president said that Greece is facing substantive economic, taxation and monetary challenges that are of interest to the Euroezone and stressed that "the Greek government's package of reforms is urgently required for an improvement of the situation."
He also assessed that Greece's draft budget is a considerable step in this direction, adding that in 2010 a monetary consolidation must begin while the commitment on a decrease in the deficit within three years must be backed with specific and reliable measures.
The working luncheon was attended by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas.
The prime minister will be speaking at a press conference at the Zappion Mansion on Wednesday where he would be announcing the main conclusions of governance so far and priorities in the coming period, while calling on ministers to act likewise in the sectors of their responsibility.
CAPTION: Prime Minister George Papandreou (L) welcoming European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) at the Maximos Mansion.
 Nationwide public sector strike on Feb. 10The public sector umbrella trade union ADEDY (Supreme Administrative Council of Civil Servants' Trade Unions) on Tuesday called a 24-hour nationwide strike for Wednesday, Feb. 10.
The strike was called in protest of the government policy in the public sector.
 Terrorist groups assume responsibility for bomb explosion in front of parliamentTwo terrorist groups assumed responsibility for the makeshift explosive device that went off early Saturday evening in front of the Greek Parliament building.
In a publication in the "Athens.indymedia.org" website on Tuesday evening, the terrorist groups "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" and "Terrorists guerrila group" said they were responsible for the explosion that caused only minor material damage.
 Alternate FM in LatviaAlternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas will pay a visit to Riga and Vilnius between January 13-15.
In the Latvian capital, Droutsas will be meeting and attending a working luncheon with the country's Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins. He will also be meeting Latvian Finance Minister Einars Repse and the President of the Latvian Parliament's Standing Foreign Relations Committee Andris Berzins.
In Vilnius, Droutsas will meet Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas and will participate in the meeting between the Greece-Ireland-Lithuania Troika. The Greek Alternate Foreign Minister will also be participating in a working dinner in the framework of the international meeting that will be taking place in Vilnius on January 14-15 on the issue of challenges for global security in 2010.
 DM on its first 100 days in officeNational Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis on Tuesday held a press conference in which they outlined the actions and ongoing initiatives carried out during their first 100 days at the helm of the ministry.
Venizelos announced that the ministry leadership will give new instructions during a meeting of the Defence Council on Wednesday concerning a draft bill on the command structure and promotions within the armed forces, to be tabled in Parliament by June. He said that the aim of this bill will be to discourage early retirement and ensure that armed forces officers remained in the service for longer, while improving performance at each level of training.
Another pending piece of legislation to be tabled before the summer is one incorporating an EU directive into national legislation on arms procurements.
Other changes introduced since the start of the new year are the posting of those due to be enlisted in the armed forces on the Internet, allowing their skills or problems to be entered into the system without the intervention of any third parties when their enlistment is being evaluated.
The ministry leadership, in collaboration with the finance and Citizens' Protection ministries, is also examining the prospect of creating a single fund for armed forces supplementary pensions, instead of the current three, and a similar fund for the police force.
Also due in the next 15 days is the ministry's proposal on how military hospitals can work with the national health system.
Questioned about the impact of the country's poor public finances on arms programmes and payments, Venizelos noted that these might result in some delays in relation to the country's obligations but that Greece was fully complying with its contractual obligations where armament programmes were concerned.
On the other hand, he stressed that the other parties in such contracts must also meet their obligations and when they were in arrears as producers they should not express complaints.
The ministers also indicated that the issue of changing the NATO command structure in relation to the Combined Air Operations Centres in Larissa, central Greece and Eskisehir in Turkey was not considered 'closed' by Greece.
"NATO circles had the impression that in May 2009, Greece had accepted the settlement. This is not the country's position, this is not true. The settlement for the administrative positions must be such that problems are not created in the Aegean," Beglitis said.
 Áthens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
European Commission criticism of Greece for submitting untruthful data, the decline in the investor climate and the cost of public sector borrowing, and PASOK's first 100 days of governance, dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government....has made a royal mess of things - PASOK members admit it".
APOGEVMATINI: "100 days itch and loss".
AVGHI: "Private insurance instead of social security".
AVRIANI: "Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos' outburst: EU exerting suffocating pressure for armaments while at the same time demanding cutbacks in state expenditures".
ELEFTHEROS: "Mammoth-fund in Armed Forces - Army, Navy and Airforce funds to merge".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "PASOK's first 100 days 'bubble' - Retractions, ministers' arguments, delays, weakness, austerity only little work done".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "100 days of pressure - Government's first 100 days in the shadow of the economic crisis".
ESTIA: "Former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' mistake is repeated: Embroilment in senseless deliberations".
ETHNOS: "Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou preannounces changes in taxation".
IMERISSIA: "Pressure escalates - Greek stocks plunge".
KATHIMERINI: "Retractions and irregularities cost - New pressure from EU and markets".
LOGOS: "The new tax-free ceiling to be announced on Wednesday".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Hike in cost of state borrowing".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The new anti-social attack requires action".
TA NEA: "Receipts and VAT for all - Doctors, lawyers and technicians targeted".
TO VIMA: "New pressure on Greek bonds and stocks and recommendations for immediate recourse to harsh measures".
VRADYNI: "100 days of lack of governance - Government sets a new world record".
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