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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-08-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM holds talks with Belgian FM
  • [02] ND sharply criticises PM over reshuffle issue
  • [03] 'Small revolution needed in Greece'
  • [04] University entry exams

  • [01] PM holds talks with Belgian FM

    Belgian government vice president and Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere sent a message of strong solidarity from the Belgian government to Greece for the economic crisis that it is facing, as well as a message that the consequences of the economic crisis can only be solved within the European framework.

    The Belgian minister said "strength lies in unity. The more united we are, the sooner we shall see results," speaking in joint statements he made with Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas after their meeting at the foreign ministry on Wednesday.

    Earlier in the afternoon, he held talks with Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    Focusing on the economic field, the head of Belgian diplomacy said that he and Droutsas also discussed the promotion of Belgian investments in Greece.

    Also discussed were developments in Turkey and the issue of Cyprus, while the Belgian official revealed that he will be going to Cyprus after visiting Athens.

    Shortly before receiving the Belgian official in the afternoon, Papandreou received in his office the head of the American Jewish Committee David Harris.

    [02] ND sharply criticises PM over reshuffle issue

    ANA-MPA/A main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman on Wednesday sharply criticised Prime Minister George Papandreou over the issue of a possible government reshuffle.

    "Over the past few days we have witnessed a peculiar regime of a rudder-less governance," spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos said, adding that it was an international first for a premier to announce a reshuffle without actually proceeding to implement it.

    [03] 'Small revolution needed in Greece'

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis) - Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas emphasised here in a press interview published on Wednesday that "a small revolution must take place in Greece".

    Droutsas' interview appeared in the Wednesday's edition of the Austrian daily "Die Presse", where he also emphasised that "Greek citizens are already taking the first steps in this direction."

    The minister referred at length to a series of issues, such as the economic crisis and its handling, the government's efforts and its successes in regaining the country's reliability and prestige, the scheduling of major structural changes at home, as well as relations with Turkey and the rapprochement with Israel.

    Droutsas stressed that there are already first positive results in the handling the crisis which -- as all agree in the European Union -- also threatens the euro -- and for this reason it created the support mechanism itself that Greece is using.

    He then pointed out -- in an indirect reference to Slovakia's refusal to correspondingly fund the support mechanism for Greece -- that solidarity is one of the EU's most precious principles and that Greece takes it into consideration very seriously. Droutsas said Greece has displayed such solidarity repeatedly since its accession to the EU towards every member and supported all the candidate countries for accession, including Slovakia, something that it must not forget so soon.

    [04] University entry exams

    Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and Deputy Education Minister Yiannis Panaretos, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, spoke of structural interventions in the existing University entry system.

    The interventions will refer to the reduction of those involved in the examinations process and their duration, given that at present more than 30,000 people are involved in various examinations committees, while for two months the education ministry's services are provided for the holding of examinations.

    Panaretos said the abolition of the minimum score for college entry (10 out of a perfect 20, or 50 percent) still left 4,000 empty positions in tertiary educational facilities this year, while last year they were 20,630.

    As regards the massive drop in scores, which resulted in candidates being admitted to various provincial technological and vocational colleges (TEI) with extremely low grades, Panaretos merely noted that 90 percent of the pupils will be able to pursuit higher level studies.

    Diamantopoulou said conditions of free access to certain departments are being shaped while requesting that critics avoid a "hypocritical" view of the situation.

    The total number of candidates was 106,189 this year, while last year it was 92,426 and a total of 84,368 were admitted, while in 2009 68,794 candidates had been admitted.

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