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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-05-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FinMin: Gov't chose to save country
  • [02] EU-IMF team: "Very strong, very credible, well-supported package"
  • [03] Parliament to abolish MPs' bonuses, reduce benefits
  • [04] The national park of Samaria Gorge opens for summer

  • [01] FinMin: Gov't chose to save country

    (ANA-MPA) -- Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Sunday announced a 36.4-billion-euro three-year fiscal adjustment programme aimed to allow the country to borrow unhindered and to receive financial support from its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (ANA-MPA)

    Speaking after an emergency Inner Cabinet meeting on Sunday morning and just before his departure for Brussels, where eurozone finance ministers were to hold an extraordinary meeting to finalise the EU support package for the Greek economy, Papaconstantinou plainly cited the dilemma faced by Greece: collapse or bankruptcy. He emphasised that the government chose to save the country. (ANA-MPA)

    [02] EU-IMF team: "Very strong, very credible, well-supported package"

    -p/Greece's program for fiscal and economic recovery is a "very strong, very credible and well-supported package", European Commission and International Monetary Fund (IMF) senior officials told a press briefing in Athens on Sunday, stressing that rescheduling of Greece's debt has never been, nor will be, on the table.

    European Commission Deputy Director General for economic and financial affairs Servaas Deroose and IMF European Department deputy director Poul Thomsen, told reporters that the ambitious program aims to bring the Greek deficit to "well below" 3 percent of GDP from the current 13.6 percent, but cautioned that fiscal adjustment will take a toll, while structural reforms take time to kick in.

    Time must be allowed for the program to start yielding, and for markets to regain confidence, they said.

    Thomsen said that the Greek government started out very ambitiously with strong measures, from the beginning of the year and "before the IMF came here".

    [03] Parliament to abolish MPs' bonuses, reduce benefits

    ANA-MPa/Greece's parliament on Sunday announced its intention to abolish holiday and leave bonuses for MPs and cutbacks in their office and travel allowances, just hours after the government unveiled a new package of austerity measures to curtail the country's fiscal deficit and debts.

    During a morning meeting of the Inner Cabinet, prime minister George Papandreou had asked of the parliament president to take initiatives putting the country's 300-member House at the front line of the effort for fiscal streamlining, with the MPs taking part in the national effort by foregoing their holiday bonuses.

    [04] The national park of Samaria Gorge opens for summer

    The world-famous Samaria Gorge on the southern Aegean island of Crete, one of the longest gorges in Europe, opens to visitors for the 2010 season on Saturday.

    As of Saturday, entry will be permitted throughout the entire length of the main footpath, from Xyloskalo to Aghia Roumeli.

    The Samaria Gorge, a national park in Chania prefecture in southwest Crete and a major tourist attraction of the island, was created by a small river running between the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) and Mt. Volakias.

    The 16 kilometer-long gorge starts at an altitude of 1,250 meters at the northern entrance in the settlement of Omalos (Xyloskalo) and ending at the shores of the Libyan Sea in Aghia Roumeli.

    The actual walk through the Samaria National Park is 13 kilometers long, but the trekker has to walk another three kilometers to Aghia Roumeli from the park exit, making the hike 16 kilometers.

    The most famous part of the gorge is the "Iron Gates" stretch, where the sides of the gorge close in to a width of only four meters and soar to a height of 500 meters.

    The gorge became a national park in 1962, chiefly as a refuge for the rare "kri-kri" Cretan goat, which is largely restricted to the park and an islet just off the shore of Aghia Marina.

    There are several other endemic species in the gorge and surrounding area, as well as many other species of flowers and birds.

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