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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-05-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: 'It is Greece's responsibility to solve its crisis'
  • [02] Unprecedented social media-fueled rally
  • [03] Rehn: Extension may be option 

  • [01] PM: 'It is Greece's responsibility to solve its crisis'

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed in Paris on Wednesday that "it is Greece's responsibility to solve its crisis", adding that "Greece is not a poor country" and "it has great possibilities, but it was mismanaged."

    Addressing a roundtable at the Public Commemoration of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) 50th anniversary, Papandreou underlined that despite press reports, Greece had "impressive results in a year: it decreased the deficit by 5 percent and the primary deficit by 7.2 percent, while there are forecasts for a primary surplus in 2012, thanks to the drastic measures."

    He also noted that in the first quarter of 2011 growth rates became positive, while over the past 5-6 months exports increased on a monthly basis and on an average of 35 percent.

    The Greek prime minister went on to say that his government is continuing reforms for greater transparency, the pensioning issue, for a fairer tax system based on the so-called "Scandinavian" model. As regards the tax issue in particular, he said that "because it was unfair it created the culture of tax evasion in Greece."

    The prime minister also referred to the report by the Brooklyn Institute that parallelises Greece with Chile. Papandreou said that the difference between the two countries is that Chile, after the dictatorship, acquired healthy infrastructures for the regulation and growth of its economy and created transparency.

    "We did not do the same in Greece," he noted, pointing to to the Institute's assessments that through structural changes Greece could also save 4-8 percent of its GDP on an annual basis.

    "The first thing we should also have done were the structural changes because in this way we would have solved the crisis and the problem of our debt," Papandreou added.

    He underlined the speed with which monetary markets react in contrast to political decisions that are slow. The markets' speed is not necessarily bad, he said, "but when they overshadow the political system, there is a problem of democracy because it deeply undermines the feeling of trust of our citizens."

    Lastly, he referred to inequalities inside countries as well as between countries, to the "tax paradises" and the "citizens' happiness rate" that must be taken into consideration by leaders.

    Concluding his speech and referring to the press, economic analysts and all those that spread rumours, the Greek premier said:"Leave us alone, we know that we have problems, leave us alone to work."

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


    [02] Unprecedented social media-fueled rally

    (ANA-MPA) -- Nearly 30,000 protesters gathered in central Athens across from Parliament on Wednesday afternoon for a "sit down" rally mostly organised via social networking sites and patterned along the now famous 'Los Indignados' initiative in Spain.

    The rally was organised without the involvement of trade unions, political parties and other organisations, rather it relied heavily on ordinary citizens, or "netizens", who learned about it from social media such as Facebook, Twitter and others.

    A Facebook site set up by 'Aganaktismenoi sto Syntagma' ("Indignant at Syntagma"), a reference to the eponymous square in front of the Greek Parliament, had garnered more than 33,000 'likes' by the time the demonstration started at 6 p.m. (16.00 GMT).

    Thousands, mostly young people flooded the city's main square, peacefully demonstrating their indignation at the austerity measures announced by the government, and, in general, over the ongoing economic and fiscal crisis in the country.

    A similar initiative took place in other cities across Greece, with mostly young people in the northern city of Thessaloniki holding a peaceful rally in front of the White Tower on the city's seafront.

    Organisers warned that the mobilisation would be peaceful and without banners or placards indicating whatever organised collective identity. They also warned that they will not accept "party participations and interventions."

    Thousands of demonstrators also occupied the seafront boulevard in the early evening, holding a sit-down protest. (ANA-MPA)

    Caption: ANA-MPA photo / O. PANAGIOTOU

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


    [03] Rehn: Extension may be option

    (ANA-MPA) -- EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Wednesday said maturities on Greek debt could be extended on a voluntary basis, on the condition that it this would not create a "credit event".

    Speaking during a news conference in Vienna, the EU Commissioner said that "while debt restructuring is not on the table, a Vienna-type initiative that aims at retaining the exposure of private investors, banks and other financial institutions to Greece could also be pursued.

    "In this context of the Vienna-type initiative we have said that a voluntary extension of loan maturities, so-called reprofiling or rescheduling on a voluntary basis, could also be examined on the condition that it would not create a credit event," Rehn said.

    He noted however, it was still important for Greece to step up fiscal consolidation and implement its privatization programme. (ANA-MPA)

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

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