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Athens News Agency: News in English, 12-03-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Germany, France praise PSI agreement
  • [02] PM cites 'important, historic decision' after PSI decision
  • [03] ND: PSI outcome 'positive', vindicates stance
  • [04] Getty Museum repatriates two ancient artifacts
  • [05] Cabinet focuses on issue of Siemens' compensation

  • [01] Germany, France praise PSI agreement

    AMNA / The German and French finance ministries on Friday welcomed the outcome of the PSI procedure for a reduction of the Greek debt.

    The German finance ministry said Friday that the successful completion of the Greek bond swaps gives Greece a "historic opportunity".

    The private sector's high level of voluntary participation in the stabilisation of Greece is a major step towards the stabilisation and consolidation, aiming at attaining a sustainable debt, a German finance ministry announcement

    It further said that the EU/IMF troika will now evaluate whether the level of participation in the PSI is sufficient to meet the Eurogroup demands and confirm the completion of all the so-called "prior actions" Greece has committed to.

    Meanwhile French finance minister Francois Baron welcomed the debt swap outcome as "good news" and a "success" that "allows us to stay on a voluntary basis that averts the risk of default". amna

    [02] PM cites 'important, historic decision' after PSI decision

    AMAN / Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, addressing a Cabinet meeting on Friday, termed the agreement for a Greek bonds swap (PSI) as "important and historic."

    Papademos underlined that with the completion of the next steps the country will move onto solid ground, warning, however, that "the present day must not be a day of satisfaction, but also a day of circumspection, as many investors and many ordinary citizens registered losses, and this must make us sceptical and to think of our mistakes, which have led us to here."

    The Cabinet, via a decree, decided to activate so-called CACs so that the "haircut" can be extended to all the bonds that are part of the swap procedure, the so-called Private Sector Involvement (PSI)

    Government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos briefed his colleagues over an earlier Eurogroup teleconference, while providing detailed figures on the PSI, and stressed that the hightened participation can lead to an improvement of the Greek debt's sustainability by 2020, above targets set. In other words, he hinted that the debt could fall below the 120 percent of GDP figure that has been estimated.

    Venizelos proposed to the cabinet meeting that the expiry date for the invitation on participation in the PSI for the bonds governed by foreign law, and whose swapping will take place by April 12, to be extended up to March 23.

    It was stressed that no exception will be made for individual bond holders.amna

    Alternate Finance Minister Filippos Sahinidis, in light of the obligation emanating from the new memorandum on the preparation of a medium-term programme for the 2013-2015 two-year period, then briefed the Cabinet that he has assigned the study for spending cuts of 1.5 percent a year, which corresponds to roughly three billion euros a year. The decrease of these expenditures concerns the General Government.

    The study will be of use for the next government that will result from the elections as a package of alternate proposals for the implementation of the commitments that the country has

    Lastly, the government spokesman said Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will make a televised statement later in the evening.

    [03] ND: PSI outcome 'positive', vindicates stance

    AMNA / The New Democracy (ND) party welcomed the PSI outcome as "positive" on Friday, adding that it has been vindicated on the stance it held and supported and which provided to the specific mission to the interim government of prime minister Lucas Papademos "support without which today's result would have been impossible".

    ND press spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis, in a statement, pointed out however that the sustainability of the Greek debt is not ensured only with the 'haircut', charging that this was made unavoidable due to the policies of the preceding PASOK government which, he said, increased the debt from 120 percent of GDP in 2009 to 170 percent today, nor with the extension of the repayment period, the lower interest rates and the new loan agreement. amna

    Mihelakis said that measures need to be taken immediately for the recovery and growth of the Greek economy, which can be done only by a new government with a fresh and strong popular mandate, so that the country may use, without any further delay, the time it has gained and the opportunities it has.

    [04] Getty Museum repatriates two ancient artifacts

    AMNA / Two ancient artifacts, believed to have been the product of the illicit antiquities trade, were returned to Greece on Friday from the California-based Getty Museum.amna

    The repatriated items were sections of a carved relief depicting two female forms - a prime example of sculpture produced by 5th-century-B.C. workshops in Attica - and a tablet dated to 430-420 B.C. with an inscription recording the religious calender of Thorikos, a small town in southeast Attica,

    Both antiquities will briefly remain at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The carved relief will then be rejoined and returned to the Pavlos and Alexandra Kanellopoulos Museum in Athens, where it will be placed on display, and the tablet will be transferred to the Epigraphic

    The repatriation was carried out following a memorandum of cooperation signed in September by Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and the CEO of the J. Paul Getty Museum James Cuno on promoting scientific research, promoting Greece's cultural heritage and preventing the illegal trade in antiquities.amna describing the sacrifices and festivals celebrated in honor of local deities and heroes.

    [05] Cabinet focuses on issue of Siemens' compensation

    AMNA--A Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Thursday afternoon discussed the issue of compensation paid out by the German multinational Siemens, which will be brought to Parliament as a contract for ratification. amna According to government sources, the government is demanding an apology from Siemens' management for the behaviour of some of its executives in the past, while committing itself to provide every assistance to a criminal probe investigating kickbacks and bribes allegedly paid by the company in order to win contracts in Greece. The amount of compensation that the company will pay, according to a briefing provided by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, will amount to 170 million euros, 80 million of which concern the off-setting of outstanding debts, while the remaining 90 will be provided to support programmes for the combating of corruption, as well as education and training, providing medical equipment at hospitals and for granting 100 scholarships through the State Scholarships Foundation. amna

    The Munich-based company also promised to proceed with an investment of 100 million euros and the creation of 800 jobs in Greece.

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