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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-06-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] ND on economy
  • [02] FinMin: Default rumors 'absurd'

  • [01] ND on economy

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos stated Wednesday that the party's stance was vindicated by the statistical agency figures on the course of the GDP combined with other facts as well and urged the government to adopt measures aimed at boosting economic activity.

    He announced that ND leader Antonis Samaras has launched a series of contacts with production sector representatives, adding that soon he will present a new package of updated development measures that can be implemented immediately without ushering in additional fiscal burden.

    Panagiotopoulos said that in the meeting Samaras had with the Hellenic Bank Association he called on the banks to stand by the Greek people and help the small and medium size businesses.

    As regards the rumors on Greece's exodus from the Eurozone, he said that they come from certain circles that have invested in this prospect, stressing that an end should be put to such scenarios.

    He said that the country can overcome the crisis, stressing that Greece can be on the way to development only if appropriate measures are implemented.

    "We call on the government to make the necessary steps in order to change the country's image abroad," Panagiotopoulos said, adding that in next week's European People's Party (EPP) summit the ND leader will have bilateral contacts toward this direction.

    The ND spokesman welcomed the initiative undertaken by French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel to address a letter to European Commission President Barroso requesting stricter market monitoring and calling on him to suggest relevant measures by July.

    On the Vatopedi state-Church land swap affair, Panagiotopoulos said that ND has made it clear that it will not interfere with the work of the parliamentary investigation committee.

    As regards the Siemens bribery scandal and whether former PM Constantine Mitsotakis should be called to testify before the responsible parliamentary committee, he said that the decision belongs to the committee and not to the political parties.

    [02] FinMin: Default rumors 'absurd'

    Finance minister George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday expressed "reserved optimism" that the Greek economy is totally in line with the targets that have been set out, noting that the second tranche of the EU-IMF support mechanism loan to Greece due in September "has been ensured", and also called recent speculation of an impending default by Greece as "absurd".

    Speaking to reporters, Papaconstantinou said the bankruptcy rumors are an "absurd story", adding that the rumors and "terror-mongering" have two dimensions, the speculation dimension and the dimension of "how we function as a society", and appealed once again to the citizens to "not bite the bait in a groundless hysteria".

    On progress in the execution of the budget, the minister said that the decline in the fiscal deficit in the first five months of the year was nearly 40 percent, given that revenues increased by more than 8 percent and expenditures were reduced by more than 10 percent, and noted that those figures have not yet included the reductions in public sector salaries and pensions, the new VAT increased and other revenue sources.

    Replying to questions, Papaconstantinou said that 2010 will not be calculated in the upward revision of Greece's GDP (which will contain the deficit and debt as percentages), which has already commenced, adding that the government persists on its forecast of a 4 percent reduction in GDP this year.

    In the coming weeks, he continued, the ministry's ad hoc Denationalisations Secretariat will present an action plan on the agenda approved by the informal council of ministers meeting. He said that concession was being mulled of the management of the Athens and Thessaloniki Water Boards (EYDAP and EYDATH), adding that he has not proposed that the Public Real Estate Organisation (KED) proceed with denationalisations, but only the merger of companies managing state property.

    On the rise in inflation, he said there are profiteering and market control issues. "Obviously inflation worries us," he said, adding that there is a long-standing structural problem that needs to be solved with the opening of the markets.

    He further said that a road show may be held in London in September for a presentation of the Greek economy.

    Papaconstantinou said that a team of the European Commission, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) 'troika' is due in Athens on Monday, for a week-long visit, for a preliminary report (on execution of the budget, etc.), while the regular report is scheduled for end-July.

    Also, the draft law on state expenditures (new system of budget drafting, automatic balancing of revenues and expenditures) will be tabled in parliament by the end of July, while the bill creating the Fiscal Stability Fund, which has currently been submitted to the ECB for observations, will be tabled by the end of June.

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