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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-08-03

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Lightning kills 400 sheep
  • [02] IMF's Thomsen says 'excellent' meeting with FinMin
  • [03] Development Minister presents policy priorities‏
  • [04] Greek economic sentiment index recovers in July‏

  • [01] Lightning kills 400 sheep

    AMNA/ Four-hundred (400) sheep were killed by lightning in the village of Distrato, Konitsa prefecture on Wednesday,

    The lightning struck as a shepherd was gathering up his flock to put them in their pen in heavy rainfall during a flash thunderstorm.

    The shepherd was uninjured.

     

    [02] IMF's Thomsen says 'excellent' meeting with FinMin

    AMNA/ Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Thursday met the heads of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund mission in Athens, collectively known as the troika. The meeting lasted more than two and half hours and was afterward described as "excellent" by IMF mission head Poul Thomsen.

    Stournaras will have another meeting with the troika representatives on Sunday, while European Commission official Matthias Mors confirmed that troika officials will be staying in Greece for a few more days.

    He said talks on Thursday had focused on the special public-sector payrolls, such as those for the police, military, judiciary and others, and measures allowing tax payers to pay their tax bills in up to 10 installments. According to sources, in talks with Thomsen, Mors and Klaus Masuch of the ECB, Stournaras presented equivalent measures to avoid further cuts to these special payrolls. The two issues are also likely to be discussed again on Sunday, when the first round of talks to find a package of cuts amounting to 11.5 billion euro will be completed.

    Sources within the government's economic staff also reported an extensive discussion on the execution of the 2012 budget and finding the measures for the 11.5-billion-euro package. They noted that some of the measures proposed by the Greek side had to be made more specific and this would be done in the next few days in collaboration with the appropriate ministries.

    They said that great emphasis will be placed on outlining the equivalent measures in order to avert cuts to special payrolls, as well as to cover losses to the budget as a result of the measure allowing tax payers to settle their bill in 10 monthly installments. The measures to be included in the 11.5-billion-euro package are to be finalised in September, however, at the same time as the troika's report on the Greek economy is being drawn up.

    [03] Development Minister presents policy priorities‏

    AMNA/ The privatization of TrainOSE and ROSCO (a subsidiary of Hellenic Railways responsible for rolling stock maintenance), accelerating absorption of community funds, liberalizing regional bus services by 2015, restarting large road networks and lifting regulatory hurdles for the smooth operation of the market and price declines, are included in the top 10 priority actions presented by Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister said the ministry will present the initiatives to be taken towards boosting economic growth and implementing structural reforms beyond discussions made with the troika.

    "The situation is not easy and we know it. Problems are great and time is short. Any failure by the government, will be a failure of the country," Hatzidakis said.

    The top 10 priorities of the ministry are:

    1. Large road projects – restarting four projects. The aim is to complete negotiations with construction companies by September 30.

    2. Accelerating absorption of community funds by simplifying/abolishing procedures, changing legislation and revising 181 high-priority projects.

    3. Privatizing TrainOSE and ROSCO.

    4. Attracting investments through a central licensing system, electronic surveillance to boost transparency, changing an investment law and exploiting Special Purpose Vehicle Enterprises, starting from exploiting the beach front extending from Faliro to Sounio.

    5. Exports. Expanding the number of products and exporting companies, opening up new emerging markets and networks.

    6. Simplifying licensing for enterprises and professions.

    7. Smooth operation of the market.

    8. Public procurements. New regulatory framework.

    9. Exploiting 37 regional airports.

    10. Liberalizing regional bus services by 2015.

    [04] Greek economic sentiment index recovers in July‏

    AMNA/ Greece's economic sentiment index recovered in July, while consumer confidence rose in the month, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Thursday.

    IOBE, in a monthly report, said that the economic sentiment index rose to 76.1 points in July, reflecting improved business expectations, mainly in the retail sector and constructions, supported also by a rise in consumer confidence for the fifth consecutive month.

    More analytically, business expectations in the manufacturing sector fell sharply in July over production developments, although forecasts over current order levels and demand recovered slightly.

    In the services sector, business expectations remained pessimistic over current activity, while in the retail sector, business expectations improved over current sales and sales outlook. Inventories fell slightly.

    In the construction sector, business expectations improved slightly, along with forecasts over employment in the sector.

    Consumer confidence improved in July, reflecting a significant recovery of forecasts over households' finances and the country's economic situation. This improvement –for the fifth consecutive month the highest level in the last two years- reflecting consumer expectations over changes in economic policies after the June general elections.

    The economic sentiment index fell in July in the European Union and the Eurozone, remaining significantly far from its long-term average level.


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