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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-12-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM at OSCE summit in Astana
  • [02] Economy to return to growth in 2012
  • [03] ND, PASOK offices targeted by arsonists
  • [04] PM addresses AHCC congress
  • [05] Medvedev visit in 2011
  • [06] Seamen suspend strike
  • [07] Greece, Ireland are 'solvent'
  • [08] ASE opening: Rise

  • [01] PM at OSCE summit in Astana

    Astana-Kazakhstan (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis) -- A Summit meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) opened at the Palace of Independence in the Kazakh capital Astana on Wednesday morning, with Greece represented by prime minister George Papandreou and foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas.

    Papandreou on Wednesday held a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the 2-day OSCE summit, the first to take place in 11 years, while the opening session was addressed by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president Petros Efthymiou of Greece.

    The Summit was opened by host country Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who called the gathering a "triumph of common sense" and urged the heads of state and government of the participating 56 OSCE member states to "advance together towards a secure future for our peoples".

    OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakh secretary of state and foreign minister Kanat Saudabayev, urged the member states to "show the wisdom and courage of true leaders and reach consensus on the important issue of strengthening security and cooperation", while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended the high level of cooperation in the OSCE area and the "new era of action and engagement", adding: "Not so long ago, few would have imagined the peoples of this vast area would be bound so closely together. In the process, the challenges have become more apparent. But so, too, have the impressive common achievements and enormous new horizons of change and opportunity."

    "The entire planet, and not only the OSCE, is at a crossroads," OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president Petros Efthymiou stressed at the opening session of the Summit.

    He referred to the identity crisis in the OSCE, which he attributed to a failure of the political dialogue among the member countries to lead the organisation in a common direction, and to a lack of mutual trust which, he warned, undermines the OSCE's ability to tackle a series of problems.

    The Parliamentary Assembly chief said that change in the OSCE needs to begin with "real political initiatives" that will lead to building of confidence among the members and create a "community of security in the entire Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region". Such a change must also, from here on, focus on results, he added, noting that "targeted action is not among our strong points".

    Efthymiou stressed that a strong and effective Parliamentary Assembly is crucial for the organisation, given that the political dialogue promotes confidence, and underlined the need for better use of the Parliamentary Assembly by the OSCE structures.

    Changes are also necessary in the decision-taking process in the OSCE, he added.

    Efthymiou further underlined the need for the OSCE's existence, stressing that "if the OSCE did not exist, we would have had to invent it", adding that the process of revitalising the organisation has only started, "and the challenge at hand is analogous to the birth of our organisation" some 35 years ago.

    "There is no doubt how much lies at stake here in Astana, and we don't have the luxury of letting if fail," he added.

    PM's sideline meetings

    Greek prime minister George Papandreou had a series of sideline meetings in Astana on Wednesday morning, beginning with British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, with whom he discussed European issues, economic issues and bilateral relations, followed by Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev, with whom he discussed bilateral relations, furthering cooperation between the two countries, energy issues and investments and tourism.

    Papandreou also met with Austrian president Heinz Fischer for a discussion encompassing the situation in and reactions of the markets, and prospects and developments in the FYROM name issue and the Cyprus issue.

    The Greek premier further had meetings with European Council president Herman van Rompuy, Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd, and US secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who told Papandreou that she was closely following the course of the Greek economy, adding that "you are doing very well".

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [02] Economy to return to growth in 2012

    Brussels (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni) -- The Greek economy will return to growth in 2012, the European Commission predicted in an announcement issued on Monday.

    In its autumn forecasts for the European economy in the period 2010-2012, published in Brussels, the EU‚s executive said the Greek economy will shrink by 4.2 pct this year, slowing to a still -3.0 pct in 2011 only to return to positive growth rates (1.1 pct) in 2012.

    The Commission said it expected the country‚s fiscal deficit to drop to 9.6 pct of GDP this year; falling 7.4 pct in 2011, but rising again to 7.6 pct in 2012. As far as the unemployment figure, it is projected to rise to 12.5 pct in 2010, jumping to 15 pct in 2011 and rising slightly to 15.2 pct in 2012.

    The Commission also forecasts that Greek inflation will rise to 4.6 pct this year; falling to 2.2 pct in 2011 and to 0.5 pct in 2012. Greece‚s public debt will total 140.2 pct of GDP this year, rising to 150.2 pct in 2011 and to 156 pct of GDP in 2012. All the above estimates are based on the assumption that there will be no change in the country‚s economic policy.

    The Commission forecasts that the Eurozone economy will grow by 1.7 pct this year, slowing to 1.5 pct in 2011 and rising again to 1.8 pct in 2012. The fiscal deficit in the Eurozone is projected to totaled 6.3 pct of GDP this year, falling to 4.6 pct in 2011 and to 3.9 pct of GDP in 2012. Unemployment is projected to reach 10.1 pct in the Eurozone this year, falling to 10 pct in 2011 and to 9.6 pct in 2012. The inflation rate is projected to total 1.5 pct in the Eurozone this year, rising to 1.8 pct in 2011 and easing again to 1.7 pct in 2012. The public debt in the Eurozone is projected to reach 84.1 pct of GDP this year, rising to 86.5 pct in 2011 and to 87.7 pct in 2012.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] ND, PASOK offices targeted by arsonists

    Ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND) local organisation offices in Triandria, Thessaloniki, were targeted by arsonists early Tuesday in simultaneous attacks.

    The two home-made incendiary devices, comprising small propane canisters, exploded early Tuesday, and the ensuing fires caused damage to the buildings' windows before being put out by the Fire Brigade.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [04] PM addresses AHCC congress

    The government plans to introduce a wide range of changes to the state in 2011, prime minister George Papandreou told the 21st congress of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (AHCC) on the theme "The Hour of the Greek Economy" held in Athens on Tuesday.

    Papandreou said that fiscal adjustment was made in 2010 through spending cutbacks and VAT revenue increases, noting, however, that those were not structural changes but "extraordinary measures which, with the improvement of the economy, can be made up for in a fair way and with priority on the weaker strata".

    Next year, he continued, will be the year of reform of the institutional framework on competition, aiming at increasing the competitiveness of the economy while at the same time containing prices and protecting the consumer.

    The premier announced that, in the next few weeks, the government will unveil its National Strategic Plan for Promoting Extroversion, with the aim of creating new financing tools for the internationalisation of Greek enterprises.

    He also said that the new investments law will change the rules of the game and how decisions are taken on what kind of investments need to be made in Greece. Further, the government will proceed with deregulation of the energy market and with a series of interventions on green development in the coming year.

    Warning that it will not be easy to advance many of those changes due to established and guild-like interests that have kept the country stationary for many years, ensuring privileges for themselves at the expense of the social whole, the premier assured that his government will exhaust all margins for deliberation, "but the changes the country needs in order to breath will be made".

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [05] Medvedev visit in 2011

    Prime minister George Papandreou met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday on the sidelines of an OSCE summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

    The two leaders discussed the Greek economy, with Medvedev praising the progress that has been made.

    The two sides also stressed their desire for enhancing cooperation in the fields of the economy, energy and defense issues and in bilateral relations.

    The talks also encompassed NATO-Russia relations, with both sides calling the outcome of the recent NATO summit in Lisbon as "positive".

    It was further announced that Medvedev will pay a state visit to Greece in 2011.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [06] Seamen suspend strike

    Vessel traffic in the port of Piraeus and all ports throughout Greece were returning to normal on Wednesday after the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) at dawn Tuesday suspended 8-day rolling strikes.

    The suspension of the strike followed a maritime affairs ministry announcement on Monday afternoon of a civil mobilisation of merchant seamen serving in the domestic coastal shipping sector, which came on the heels of an earlier PNO decision to call a third consecutive 48-hour strike for Tuesday and Wednesday.

    PNO secretary general Yiannis Halas said the federation, following the third civil mobilisation of seamen in the last 8 years, decided to suspend the strike and reorganise the sector's struggle "and resume when we see fit".

    A PNO press release said that the federation's 8-day strike was conducted "in adverse conditions on the part of the coastal shipping capital and the government, which undermined with every means the just and fundamental rights of the Greek seamen".

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated PAME labor organisation staged a demonstration in the port of Piraeus on Tuesday afternoon in protest of the civil mobilisation of the seamen.

    It added that the PASOK government, for the second time in its history of governance of the country and incapable of finding solutions to the long-standing and self-evident demands of the seamen, resorted to its favored 'recipe' of a deplorable, deeply anti-democratic and anti-labor measure of civil mobilisation.

    The release further said that PNO and the Greek seamen in their entirety condemn the civil mobilisation and state their determination to put up a strong fight against such practices, which have been deplored by the Greek people.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [07] Greece, Ireland are 'solvent'

    Brussels (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis) -- Eurozone members Greece and Ireland "are solvent", European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet affirmed on Tuesday.

    He said that the two countries faced "liquidity problems" but not problems of solvency, speaking in Brussels before the European Parliament's committee on economic and monetary affairs, while he also underlined the efforts being made by both countries to tackle the crisis.

    Trichet assured that the euro area countries benefitting from international rescue packages are "in a condition of solvency".

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [08] ASE opening: Rise

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Wednesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 0.66 percent, standing at 1,429.01 points at 11:15 am, and turnover at 20.773 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly upward, with the biggest gains in Telecoms, up 4.33 percent and Health, up 2.53 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Mass Media, down 5.79 percent; and Commerce, down 3.76 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 0.84 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 1.64 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 1.82 percent.

    Of the stocks traded, 56 were up, 103 were down, and 53 were unchanged.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form


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