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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-05-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Initiatives to reduce prices
  • [02] Droutsas: Withdraw troops from Cyprus

  • [01] Initiatives to reduce prices

    Economy, competitiveness and shipping minister Louka Katseli said Sunday that the first bill on simplification of the procedures for setting up a company is due to be passed through parliament on Wednesday, noting also that with the initiatives taken by the ministry she anticipates prices on the market to fall by approximately 20 percent.

    Addressing an event on the theme "Northern Greece at the crossroads of energy networks and viable development" held on the sidelines of the 19th Panhellenic trade fair Thrace 2010, Katseli said that the bill will reduce the time and procedures required for setting up a company from the present 15 steps and 38 days to one step in one day, through the activation of the new General Register of Companies (GEMI), the link-up of one-stop services including the Citizens' Service Centers (KEP), notaries and Chambers with the TAXIS Tax Bureau service and the social security funds, which will also reduced in a 75 percent reduction in the cost of setting up an enterprise.

    The next step in the process will be the simplification of the procedures for licencing and operation of a company, she said, adding that in the next 1-2 months the second bill in the series will be passed through parliament, which concerns large-scale investments. It is a framework for swift licencing of major projects, large-scale investments, she said. The third bill, she continued, which concerns simplification of all the licensing procedures for all kinds of investments, will be tabled afterwards.

    By the end of the year, she stressed, Greece will have a modern regulatory framework that will truly boost healthy entrepreneurship in Greece.

    Giving an account on the results so far of her ministry's bill for providing liquidity to enterprises, she said that since December, when the law regulating the debts of professionals was passed, some 27,000 enterprises have benefited from its arrangements.

    On the Public Investments Program for Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Katseli said that a 700 million euros developmental program was in progress, while overall programs of approximately 2 billion euros were currently in progress, up to June-July, under the National Strategic Reference Program (NSRF). She explained that these were 'targeted programs' for small and medium-size enterprises in processing, commerce and green development, while next month specialise programs will be announced for exporting companies, in a bid to boost extroversion.

    The minister also noted that two new programs under the Guarantee Fund for Small and Micro Businesses (TEMPME) announced just a few days earlier concern export companies, so as to help lending to them while, in tandem, approximately 600 million euros will be channeled to the TEMPME via the European Investment Bank (EIB) for relatively low-interest loans that will boost the market.

    Regarding the operation of market competition, Katseli noted that there were large concentrations and harmonised practices throughout the entire spectrum of the market and, with very specialised targeted interventions, the ministry was facilitating the opening of the markets and professions.

    [02] Droutsas: Withdraw troops from Cyprus

    Nicosia (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos) -- Greece's alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas called on Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to fully withdraw the Turkish occupation troops from Cyprus and to return the occupied sector of Famagusta (Varosha) to its legal inhabitants, the Greek Cypriots, in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of the Cypriot newspaper Fileleftheros ('Liberal').

    Droutsas also urged Ankara to abandon its "double policy" of verbal assurances of volition for a Cyprus solution while at the same time promoting partitionistic policies.

    The alternate foreign minister explained that such moves as troop withdrawal -- "and I do not mean semi-measures but a clear-cut decision for full withdrawal" -- and the return of Famagusta to its rightful inhabitants are "actions that Mr. Erdogan can make, thus proving that he is a leader who is truly changing the face of his country".

    Droutsas further said that Greece's support of Turkey's EU course is neither "random support" nor provides a "blank check".

    He also warned that those who endorse a special partnership with Turkey instead of full EU membership are undermining the reform effort in Turkey, and stressed that if partitionist policies were advanced distancing a Cyprus solution, "there will be no relationship with Turkey to discuss".

    On the calls for an international conference on the Cyprus issue, Droutsas explained the Greek position that such a conference would be meaningful provided the negotiation process has progressed sufficiently, with respect to convergence of views by the two sides, to enable substantive progress in the international aspects of the Cyprus problem.

    Further, an inviolable condition for an international conference is the participation of the Cyprus Republic in such a conference which, Droutsas said, cannot and should not substitute for the necessary "Cyprus solution" coming from Cyprus itself and a "European solution".

    When the conditions are ripe, an international conference on the international aspects of the Cyprus issue would be useful, Droutsas said, adding that Greece was in full agreement and coordination with the Cyprus government on that issue.

    He also stressed that Greece remains at the side of Cyprus and the Cypriot people "with actions, and not only in words", adding that it has proven this from the very first moment.

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