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Athens News Agency: News in English, 12-02-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM holds series of meetings in Belgrade
  • [02] EL.STAT case file to be forwarded to Parliament
  • [03] Greek unemployment at 19.2% in Nov. 2011
  • [04] Loverdos, Venizelos announced cooperation for PASOK's unity
  • [05] Troika's IMF chief unwavering on private sector minimum salary reduction

  • [01] FM holds series of meetings in Belgrade

    BELGRADE (AMNA - N. Pelpas) Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas held talks with his Serb counterpart Vuk Jeremic while in Belgrade on Tuesday, with the focus mainly on Serbia's European accession prospects.

    Dimas was in Belgrade to attend an informal ministerial meeting of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

    Their talks were mainly about next month's planned European Union summit, which will examine Serbia's application to become an EU candidate country. Dimas reiterated Greece's support for Serbia's accession bid, stressing that Europe would be incomplete without Serbia.amna

    Jeremic briefed the Greek minister on developments in dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, especially the effort underway for a solution concerning Kosovo's representation in regional organisations.

    The Serb minister underlined that his country will not accept any solution that overlooks UNSCR 1244 and stressed that Belgrade will only agree to Kosovo's representation in regional organisations within this framework.amna

    Dimas had earlier paid a visit to Serb Patriarch Irineos and briefed him on the effort to overcome the economic crisis in Greece, expressing hope that the country would soon return to growth.

    Responding to the Patriarch's questions about the progress of talks on the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Dimas noted that the government in Skopje was displaying intransigency, chiefly in order to strengthen its position domestically and stay in power.

    The minister stressed that Greece desires a solution to the name dispute arising through mutual consensus on the name issue, in the framework of UN processes, and to restore good neighbour relations.amna

    Dimas also visited Belgrade's Nebojsa Tower, now a museum that was partly refurbished with the assistance of Greek funds and includes a gallery dedicated to Greek independence struggle hero Rigas Ferraios, who was killed in the tower by Ottoman Turks.

    [02] EL.STAT case file to be forwarded to Parliament

    AMNA--Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Nikolaos Pantelis on Wednesday will forward the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT) case file to Parliament for further investigation.

    Financial prosecutor Grigoris Peponis, who was in charge of the investigation into allegations that Greece’s state deficit for 2009 was intentionally inflated by the then Papandreou government, has requested Supreme Court prosecutor Ioannis Tentes to forward the case file to Parliament, suggesting involvement of political figures.

    On his part, Tentes had instructed deputy prosecutor Pantelis to study the case and decide whether it should be immediately forwarded to Parliament.

    As regards the involvement of other individuals, the Supreme Court deputy prosecutor will order the financial prosecutor to continue his investigation into the case and request explanations by EL.STAT president Andreas Georgiou.

    [03] Greek unemployment at 19.2% in Nov. 2011

    BRUSSELS (AMNA-M. Aroni) -- The unemployment rate in Greece rose to 19.2 pct in October 2011, Eurostat announced on Tuesday, ranking the country second after Spain with the highest unemployment rate. Greece also ranked second in unemployment among young people (aged below 25 years), at 47.2 pct, following Spain (48.3 pct). Unemployment among men totaled 17.2 pct and among women 22.1 pct.

    In the EU-27, the unemployment rate was 9.8 pct and in the Eurozone 10.3 pct. Austria (4.1 pct), Holland (4.8 pct), Luxembourg (4.9 pct) and Germany (5.7 pct) recorded the lowest unemployment rates.amna

    The unemployment rate was 9.9 pct in December 2011 in the EU-27, and 10.4 pct in the Eurozone. There were no figures for Greece.

    [04] Loverdos, Venizelos announced cooperation for PASOK's unity

    AMNA--Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and Government Vice-president and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday announced that they plan to cooperate in order to 'reconstruct' the PASOK party and guarantee its unity.

    The two ministers and high-ranking PASOK members made the statement during a joint press conference to announce policies to reduce spending on pharmaceuticals.

    They appeared confident that through their "common path" they would be able to guarantee that PASOK stayed united. They also agreed on the need to support the government of Lucas Papademos so that it can complete its work.

    "With Vangelis Venizelos we decided to fight the difficult battle to achieve the country's goals together. Both within the ranks of the government, as we already do on a daily basis, and within the ranks of our own political area, in PASOK," Loverdos said.amna

    The health minister underlined that PASOK could not withstand further divisions and that the country needed stability, something that required that PASOK stand united.

    "We are the ones that can guarantee this unity," Loverdos added.

    He also emphasised the need to support the Papademos government in a "clear and active way," saying that this was imperative for the nation's interests and that Greece must win the most "crucial and decisive battle" that it would have to fight as a member of the EU and the Eurozone.

    [05] Troika's IMF chief unwavering on private sector minimum salary reduction

    AMNA-- International Monetary Fund (IMF) European deputy director Poul Thomsen, who heads the IMF mission in the EU-IMF 'troika' is unwavering on the reduction of the minimum wage in the private sector, but flexible on the issue of abolition of the so-called 13th and 14th salaries (the full-salary Christmas bonus and half-salary Easter and summer holiday bonuses) in the private sector, in an interview with an Athens daily newspaper appearing on Wednesday, while he also proposes the closure of public organisations and dismissal of employees.amna

    Thomsen, in an interview with Kathimerini newspaper, also stresses the need for reduction of the salary cost so as to render the Greek economy more competitive.

    The head of the IMF mission to Greece recommends a "containment of the minimum wage", albeit temporarily, noting that the minimum wage in Spain and Portugal is lower than in Greece.amna

    He further proposes the closure of public organisations and layoff of employees, and notes the importance of the commitment by the leaders of the three political parties (PASOK, ND, LAOS) backing prime minister Lucas Papademos' interim government for adherence to the new economic programme for Greece.

    Thomsen further notes the mistakes that have been made, such as the emphasis placed on taxation, and indirectly advocates a recapitalisation of the banks with preference shares, warning that "we do not want the state to govern the banks".

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