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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-03-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Strong EU decisions on economy, N. Africa
  • [02] Exit from crisis through growth
  • [03] Immediate end to violence in Libya
  • [04] Greek rescuers on stand-by 

  • [01] Strong EU decisions on economy, N. Africa

    Brussels (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris) -- Greece is at the center of the decisions that will be taken later in the day on the economic crisis in the eurozone and the situation in Northern Africa, Greek prime minister George Papandreou said on Friday in Brussels before going into an emergency EU summit on the situation in Libya.

    He added that Greece is doing everything possible on both fronts.

    "Regarding the economic crisis, Greece is on the right track with its programs, having taken painful measures, so as to render the economy viable," Papandreou said, stressing that "we now need strong European decisions to calm the markets".

    On the situation in Northern Africa, Papandreou said that Greece has been active in the humanitarian efforts for the evacuation of thousands of people from Libya, noting that "even today (Friday) we had a successful collaboration with The Netherlands for the evacuation of three Dutch citizens", referring to three Dutch marines who were released by the Libyan regime after nearly two weeks of captivity following the landing of a helicopter near Sirte without Libyan authorisation to evacuate Dutch citizens.

    The premier said that Greece will continue its efforts, but stressed that it is very important that the EU takes strong, historic, decisions both on the front of the economy and on the Northern Africa front, particularly regarding Libya.

    Caption: Greek prime minister George Papandreou (L) with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy (R). (ANA-MPA/STR)

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [02] Exit from crisis through growth

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras outlined his party's proposals for exiting the crisis and severely criticised the PASOK government of 'sinking the country into a vicious circle of recession' without a way out, and for opting for the Memorandum, during an address to the Society of Senior Business Executives on Thursday evening.

    Outlining ND's plan for "exiting the crisis through recovery and growth", Samaras said that first of all recession needs to be tackled with measures of zero or minimal fiscal cost.

    Second, measures are needed to ensure liquidity, with the priority on the state's payment of the money it owes to enterprises.

    Third, Samaras continued, a major tax reform is necessary, while the fourth step needed is gradual reduction of social security contributions, given that the non-salary employment cost in Greece is the main obstacle to competitiveness.

    The fifth step is to dare to go ahead with all the real structural changes that will disencumber the Greek economy and eliminate bureaucracy, while the sixth step is to boost entrepreneurship instead of punishing it.

    The seventh and final step is to introduce branch developmental programs, Samaras added.

    The ND leader said the above steps were indicative and outlined a three-tier strategy comprising a simultaneous tackling of the deficit and recession in order to truly and speedily reduce the deficit itself and to halt the devastating impetus of the deficits-debt that is out of control today.

    He said ND was not calling for a halt to the battle to contain the deficit, but that this should be attempted in a 'targeted' manner, not through "vertical" cutbacks and "horizontal" tax raids.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [03] Immediate end to violence in Libya

    Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas said that Athens had given a "clear" message to Libyan emissary Mohamed Tahir Siala on Thursday in Athens that the violence in Libya must cease immediately, while he also stressed the need for the EU and the international community to take measures against the Gaddafi regime, during a BBC radio interview on Friday.

    Droutsas further called for dialogue with the rebel forces in Libya, but warned that recognition was "premature" at this stage.

    On Sialas' visit to Athens, Droutsas said it took place after agreement with EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy Baroness Catherine Ashton for the purpose of finding out the Gaddafi regime's intentions and to send a very clear message that the violence must cease immediately and that Libya must comply with the recent UN Security Council resolution.

    Droutsas said that Sialas reiterated Gaddafi's formal statements, noting that the emissary visited other countries in the Mediterranean as well for similar talks.

    He noted that there are indications that the Libyan regime has shown "a willingness" to talk with the rebels, "but we, as the EU and the international community, must take all the necessary measures so that everyone will understand, and the Gaddafi regime will realise, that the violence must stop immediately".

    "We have to be realists," he said, adding that at this time specific measures are necessary so that Gaddafi and his regime will realise that they must step down from authority.

    Droutsas expressed reservations, however, on recognition of the rebel forces holding Benghazi, warning that it was a bit early for such a step and elaborating that "we must first see who they are".

    "We should have contact with them, directly as the EU, and hold a dialogue with them, we need to get to know them better and then take the necessary steps," the Greek foreign minister said.

    He added that one of the issues that will be discussed at an emergency EU summit in Brussels is that of direct talks with the rebels in order to see precisely how the situation stands.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [04] Greek rescuers on stand-by

    The Hellenic Rescue Team is poised to send a team to Japan or any other country hit by the tsunami that ensued after a powerful undersea earthquake that hit the region early Friday, HRT members told ANA-MPA.

    The HRT, via the UN's international network of rescue teams, of which it is a member, is being kept up to date on the situation through the official international communication channels and has mobilised its rescue and medical units, which are on stand-by to leave immediately if assistance is requested.

    HRT member Alexandros Liamos said that team members and equipment are fully prepared, adding that the HRT was at this time collecting information and on stand-by because there was no clear picture yet of the precise conditions prevailing and the areas affected.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

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