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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-08-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens Newspaper Headlines on Wednesday
  • [02] Rethymno fire chief charges 'clear acts of arson'
  • [03] State cash reserves at crucial point‏
  • [04] PM chairs meeting on privatisations
  • [05] Venizelos: 10-point strategic framework

  • [01] Athens Newspaper Headlines on Wednesday

    AMNA/ The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Wednesday afternoon's meeting of the leaders of the three coalition government parties, increased pressure from the Troika, the commencement of privatizations and the near depletion of the state coffers were the main items in Athens' dailies on Wednesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "First clash in the governmental alliance".

    AVGHI: "Hide-and-Seek with the measures".

    AVRIANI: "FM of bankrupt Belgium demands Greece be put under guardianship for an entire generation".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Silence, or we'll go to jail - Omerta - Papandreou (former prime minister George) and Roumeliotis (former Greek representative to IMF) agreed to stop the revelations on the memorandum".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Provocation in Thrace on 6th grade history book - Moslems demand 'rewriting' of Greek history in chapter on Asia Minor destruction".

    ESTIA: "The Kirchhof proposal on taxation".

    ETHNOS: "Sudden complication in government over measures".

    IMERISSIA: "Privatization-express for OPAP, T-Bank".

    KATHIMERINI: "Cracks in the government".

    LOGOS: "Heavy shadow over the three leaders' meeting".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Troika pressure escalating for new measures".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government speedily advancing University S.A."

    TA NEA: "The leaders' big hour".

    VRADYNI: "New reduction of fines and facilitation for arrangement of buildings lacking permits being mulled".

    [02] Rethymno fire chief charges 'clear acts of arson'

    AMNA/ The fire brigade chief in Rethymno, on the island of Crete, said Tuesday that the fires that ravaged the prefecture over the past few days were "clear acts of arson" by a specific individual in the wider area of southern Rethymno.

    Fire chief George Markoulakis told AMNA that the investigations branch of the local fire department had "strong evidence" of an arsonist, whose identity has not yet been confirmed, adding that a team of crime investigators was due from Athens to help the investigation. He said the evidence from all the fires point to the same individual.

    Meanwhile, all the fires in Rethymno have been extinguished as of Tuesday, but firefighters remained on stand-by, mainly in Kerames and Aghios Vassilios, in fear of rekindlings.

    The multi-front blaze, which broke out Saturday noon in Agallianou and Kerames, burned more some 2,500-4,000 acres of forest, olive groves and farmland before being put out by strong firefighting teams from all over Crete and reinforcements from Athens assisted by several water-dropping planes and helicopters.

    Firefighters told AMNA it was very suspicious that the area has been hit six times by wildfires between last summer and this past Saturday.

     

    [03] State cash reserves at crucial point‏

    AMNA/ State coffers' cash reserves at a crucial point, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Tuesday, affected by a delay in the disbursement of a loan tranche by the troika, although he stressed that Eurogroup's president Jean-Claude Juncker has pledged that a solution will be find on the issue.

    In a television interview, Staikouras said the government was working with responsibility to agree on an 11.5 billion euros spending cuts package which must be as socially fair as possible. He reiterated a government's pledge that the new measures will not hurt low wage earners and low pensioners and stressed that the goal was to agree on a package which could bring recovery and growth. "By September we must have agreed on some structural changes, on a new mid-term program, on next year's state budget and to have reached an agreement with the troika," Staikouras.

    He added that a deal to transfer ATEbank's healthy assets to Piraeus Bank was beneficial for the Greek state.

    [04] PM chairs meeting on privatisations

    AMNA/ Prime minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday chaired a meeting on the programme for privatisations and the exploitation of state property.

    No statements were made after the meeting, which was attended by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis, Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) president Takis Athanassopoulos and CEO Yiannis Emiris.

    Speaking on a Tuesday morning television programme on SKAI, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou indicated that the measures included in Greece's new economic programme will be ready to be announced within August.

    Kedikoglou underlined that the messages from Europe were clear, such shown by the statements of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso during his visit to Greece.

    "He truly supports our efforts and he told us clearly. We must regain our credibility. We must appear consistent," the spokesman stressed, noting that if Greece tried to begin negotiations while balking at half the things that had already been agreed, this would not bode well for further talks.

    Concerning the talks underway between the three party leaders in the coalition government, Kedikoglou noted that the prime minister and the other two party leaders in the coalition had decided to put the country's needs first.

    "The needs of the country demands that we keep to this course, which is the only one that allows us to remain in Europe, to remain in developments at a definitive period for Europe. Greece must not find itself excluded," he emphasised.

    While the decisions were difficult, all sides were in agreement on the need to complete a difficult mission and recognised the fact that the measures amounting to 11.5 billion euro must be found now, in order for Greece to regain its credibility, Kedikoglou noted.

    He also pointed out that making the cuts would give Greece access to many times that amount, if only through the recapitalisation of the banks that the government hopes will then be able to increase liquidity to small and medium-sized businesses in order to fight unemployment.

    "Consequently, it is a very complex issue and it is certain that the two leader and the prime minister will try to find the optimum solution," he added.

    [05] Venizelos: 10-point strategic framework

    AMNA/ PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said that his party supports the three-party coalition government for a full 4-year term, and outlined the 10 proposals for a strategic framework that he presented at Monday evening's meeting of the three party leaders, in an address to the party's parliamentary group on Tuesday.

    Venizelos, who was to meet later with the Troika, said PASOK supports the government, for which it wants a four-year horizon. "We have a large share of the responsibility and must respect the conditions of the programme convergence (of the three parties" , noting that the people sent, in the recent general elections, the message that there could be no more across-the-board cuts in salaries and pensions nor more measures that deepen the recession.

    Venizelos described his 10-point proposal as a plan for an integrated national strategy "which has its difficulties, but the effort must be made, backing the prime minister and his ministers".

    The 10 points:

    1) There is need for immediate actions by Greece in the period of August-September that will concern high-level contacts with the leaders of the EU member states and also the institutional partners (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund), and also for shielding the domestic front. The national negotiating team must be formed and the opposition called on to contribute to the effort. Venizelos said it would be a "mistake" and "insult to the country" for it to be said that it has been inert with respect to the structural changes, adding that the changes effected from 2010 to the present are "unprecedented" and the reproduction of such stereotypes at Greece's expense must stop.

    2) The country must manifest its strong determination to promote the structural changes, and noted the 77 obstacles pinpointed by the Fund for privatizations, which he stressed need to be immediately eliminated through legislation.

    3) The end fiscal target must immediately be confirmed, so that from a deficit of 11.5 billion euros we will go to a primary surplus, and a 2.6 percent growth rate must be achieved.

    4) The fiscal adjustment period needs to be extended to 2016.

    5) It is necessary to draft an updated programme for the period 2012-2016, so that the 2012 budget may be closed and a draft budget drawn up for 2013, which should be tabled in parliament in early October.

    6) A proposal should be drawn up for full itemization of the programme for 2012-2014, without across-the-board cuts that affect small and medium incomes.

    7) Improvement of the macroeconomic climate which, if improved, will enable an easier implementation of the second stage of fiscal adjustment in 2014-2016.

    8) Immediate and tangible measures must be taken to increase unemployment in tandem with a reduction of the cost of money, as well as measures to control prices.

    9) Measures must be taken to reinforce social cohesion.

    10) The international communications framework that is negative towards Greece must change, in cooperation with the partners.


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