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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-08-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: The revolution of the self-evident
  • [02] Gov't statement on truck owners' decision to end mobilisations
  • [03] Truck owners vote to end strike
  • [04] Samaras visits Rethymno
  • [05] Crisis dampens August exodus
  • [06] Fires in the Peloponnese
  • [07] Athens Newspaper headlines

  • [01] PM: The revolution of the self-evident

    Prime Minister George Papandreou called on Greek expatriates to "send the message that Greece can", while opening a three-day conference organised by the World Council of Cretans and Lassithi prefecture that is taking place in Agios Nikolaos, Lassithi on the island of Crete, on Friday night.

    "We are called today to do the revolution of the self-evident," the prime minister said and referred to the efforts being made to take the country out of the crisis, the measures being taken in all levels and the efforts for transparency in all sectors.

    Papandreou said that a "collective effort is need in order to take the country out of the crisis" and praised the work done by Cretan expatriates in supporting Greece.

    "Your presence here is very important because it is a vote of confidence to our country," the premier added.

    Referring to the "need for changes in all sectors," Papandreou spoke of the fight against corruption in all sectors and the fight against tax evasion, the effort for creating a better public health system, better education and a modern social security scheme.

    Regarding the island of Crete, the prime minister accused the previous New Democracy government of "abandoning Crete at its fate", and underlined the need for the shaping of a new model for growth of the island.

    Speaking on energy policy issues, Papandreou said the strategic policy of his government was the renewable energy sources and announced that the government was examining the issue of establishing an "energy link" between Crete and continental Greece.

    "The big wager is to make Crete an energy hub," he said.

    He also called on expatriate Greeks to invest in Greece and "participate in the cosmogony of changes taking place".

    The conference was also adressed by Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos.

    [02] Gov't statement on truck owners' decision to end mobilisations

    ANA-MPA/The government commenting late Sunday afternoon on the decision by the truck owners earlier in the day to end their strike said it would withdraw an order for civil mobilisation when market is normalised.

    "It is clear that, on condition that transporters return to their duties and the market's functioning is absolutely normalised, civil mobilisation has no sense," a statement by the government said.

    "As everybody assertains, the market is becoming normal, yesterday (Saturday) and today (Sunday). The transports market will open. This reform is necessary for the economy and the citizens and for this reason the draft bill will go ahead," the statement added.

    [03] Truck owners vote to end strike

    Greek truck owners on Sunday voted to end a strike that had starved the country of fuel and dealt a severe blow to tourist enterprises hoping to make up revenue losses from a lacklustre tourist season during the July-August peak.

    The vote was carried by a narrow majority during the truckers' general meeting and not before serious problems had been caused to the supply of goods to markets throughout Greece. Truck owners are now waiting for the government to end the civil mobilisation and warned that they will resume strike action if the government failed to honour its side of the bargain. If all goes well, they go back to work on Monday.

    The meeting had been preceded by a flurry of consultations the day before that also involved other professional groups, which mediated between truckers and the government with proposals that truck owners suspend their open-ended strike if the government stopped a civil mobilisation to force truck owners back to work and requisition their vehicles.

    The proposal was adopted by both striking truckers and Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas, provided that the truckers pledged not to begin any new strike action while dialogue on a draft bill to open up the road freight sector was underway. The draft bill is due to be voted on at the end of September.

    The minister said that the dialogue will deal with proposals linked to tax and insurance issues relating to truck owners and ways to make them eligible for assistance under the development law. At the same time, he ruled out any discussion on extending the three-year transition period from the current licensing regime to the new system.

    According to the truckers' union president Georgios Tzortzatos, all truck owners will return to their work on Monday morning under the condition that the government will annul the civil mobilisation order and a new round of dialogue will start with the government.

    "We reached the decision with a sense of responsibility and taking in account all the problems that have been caused by the truckers' action," Tzortzatos said.

    According to the latest reports, meanwhile, private, armed forces and requisitioned fuel tanker trucks were making good progress restocking the market with fuel, with a large number of petrol stations in Attica and Thessaloniki now having adequate supplies.

    Truck owners began last Monday after the government unveiled a draft bill that opens up the road freight market that is currently only open to government-licensed "public use" vehicles. The last truck licences in the country were issued by the government in the 1970s and there has since developed an informal market in truck licences. Greek truck owners on Sunday voted to end a strike that had starved the country of fuel and dealt a severe blow to tourist enterprises hoping to make up revenue losses from a lacklustre tourist season during the July-August peak.

    [04] Samaras visits Rethymno

    ANA-MPA/Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras was briefed on the problems faced by Rethymno prefecture on Crete during a visit there on Saturday evening.

    Samaras attended a meeting at the Rethymno Chamber of Industry and Commerce, also attended by ND MP Olga Kefalogiannis and other Cretan officials. ND's leader afterward described the meeting as constructive and promised to carefully examine a memorandum he was given analysing the area's problems and needs.

    According to local officials, income from tourism in Rethymno is reduced 10 percent relative to the previous year and many tourist enterprises were now in trouble. Locals also complained about insufficient transport links to their part of Crete.

    [05] Crisis dampens August exodus

    The first wave of city-dwellers leaving urban centres for their holidays peaked this weekend but was significantly smaller than the previous year, according to traffic police estimates.

    Partly on account of the economic crisis and the much higher price of petrol but also because of the truck owners' strike and the uncertainty about whether holiday-makers would be able to find fuel at their destination far fewer private cars were on the road.

    Seats on inter-city buses or trains were fully booked, however, as were those on all domestic flights.

    Those opting to travel to the Aegean islands and Crete by boat were fewer than last year, with both the number of routes and the number of passengers reduced by 8-9 percent relative to last year.

    Specifically, the shipping ministry reported that 30 ships carrying a total of 35,814 passengers and 6,684 vehicles left Piraeus on Saturday while on the equivalent Saturday the previous year there had been 33 ships carrying 38,564 passengers and 6,675 vehicles.

    A further 31 ships are scheduled to leave Piraeus on Sunday, and another 19 from Rafina.

    [06] Fires in the Peloponnese

    ANA-MPa/Two wildfires broke out on Sunday in the region of Kastritsi and Platani in the Achaia prefecture, northern Peloponnese. Eight fire engines with a 20 member crew assisted by a foot division were battling the blaze which continues to burn brushland and farm expanses.

    The blaze at Kastritsi has been partly contained.

    Another blaze that broke out at the area of Lithopetra, is partly under control.

    [07] Athens Newspaper headlines

    Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    The new economic measures demanded by European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF inspectors and the government's handling of the truck owners' strike dominated the front-page items in Athens' dailies on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Government like a....runaway truck! The first nightmarish 96 hours that dried out Greece and the next that will undo it...".

    APOGEVMATINI: "New levy for civil servants. They'll have to dig deeper into their pockets from 2011 in order to pay obligations for retirement lump sums!".

    ARTHRO: "New Memorandum at the gates. The government close to signing new document with the 'troika' (European Commission-ECB-IMF)"

    AVGHI: "Wintertime in August..." (article criticising "government coups" to completely subjugate labour reactions, along the lines of the truck owners' strike).

    AVRIANI: "After the truck owners it will be the turn of the public utilities".

    CHORA: "The many forms of political violence and the government's 'papal infallibility'. The imposition of decisions on all classes is done without...an anaesthetic".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Fuel fiasco lights a fire under the government"

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Pensions: who gets away before 65. Two circulars clarify the scene created by the new pension law".

    EPOHI: "The army was passing all night...but truckers did not start their engines".

    ETHNOS: "One billion-worth in tax evasion through leisure craft discovered by SDOE (financial crimes squad). 'Big catches' at marinas after finance ministry inspections".

    KATHIMERINI: "Open wounds and closed professions. First tough clash between the government and truck owners, more expected".

    LOGOS: "Growth plan an immediate necessity for the prime minister! Griping over [Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas]-[Finance Minister George Papanconstantinou] within PASOK".

    NIKI: "10+1 useful tips before you retire. 'Don't rush into it', warns the legal advisor of ADEDY M. Tsipra".

    PARON: "Politician's abduction among the plans of the 'Sect of Revolutionaries'".

    PROTO THEMA: "Mega yacht fraud by seven 'Croesuses'. They are renting their luxury craft to themselves"

    REAL NEWS: "Poisonous suspicion. They are seeking the author of the proclamation among the MEDIA".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "New counter-insurance measures with an unending attack on workers".

    VETO: "Petsalnikos...the Great! New grievous provocation for the sorely-tested (by the unbearable IMF measures) Greek people". [Accuses Parliament president of "two-speed" implementation of the cuts and austerity measures decided by the government]

    TO VIMA: "Hard rock. Long-drawn-out conflict between George [PM George Papandreou] and trade groups. IMF demanding lay-offs at public utilities/state enterprises".

    VRADYNI: "Mammoth plan to combat unemployment. The 150,000 new jobs through OAED (Manpower Employment Organisation). Labour ministry actions to start in September".


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