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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-11-28

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Eurogroup deal opens way for growth
  • [02] FM cancels visit to Tirana following quip by Albanian PM
  • [03] Qatar to launch new Athens-NY daily flight
  • [04] Gov't eyes plan to pay state debt to private sector‏
  • [05] Tourism ministry presents "Amazing Athens" SmartPhone App
  • [06] Tourism ministry presents "Amazing Athens" SmartPhone App

  • [01] PM: Eurogroup deal opens way for growth

    AMNA--The Eurogroup's decision in the early hours of Tuesday morning marked the end of a "very grey, very dark period for Greece," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday evening.

    "It was a period that was dragging us back and threatening us directly as a country and a society. Greece has succeeded in regaining its credibility. It has also succeeded in turning a programme of endless austerity into a programme that dares to carry out reforms and leads to growth," he emphasised.

    Samaras stressed that the decisions for Greece had laid the foundations for making the country's debt sustainable and for ensuring that Greece remained in the euro.

    He particularly emphasised the fact that, out of the 34.5 billion euro in bailout loans for Greece that European countries had agreed to disburse in mid December, only 10 percent would be used to pay off interest and repay debts.

    "The rest will stay in the country, in one way or the other," the premier noted, with seven billion going directly to the economy to cover this year's deficit and pay off state debts to the private sector. Similarly, he added, most of the nine billion to be disbursed over the next three months would go to the real economy.amna

    Samaras noted that the money spent to recapitalise the banks, which will make up the bulk of the aid received by Greece, will act to permanently protect the deposits of the Greek people and also allow the return of vital liquidity to the Greek economy, finally leading to recovery and stemming the rise in unemployment.

    He also highlighted a decision allowing Greece to directly reduce its debt through bond buybacks at low prices and a reduction of interest charged on the remaining debt, so that repayments were less of a burden on Greek tax payers.amna

    "The interest rates paid by Greece will now be among the lowest in Europe. Furthermore, we will not pay interest for 10 years and principal for 15 years. This will give a huge respite to the Greek economy, so that we can enter a stable growth trajectory," Samaras underlined.amna

    Even the profits made by foreign banks from Greek bonds will be returned to Greece to pay off its debts, without an official default that would put the country's future in hock for decades, he added.

    Perhaps the most important thing about the deal was that Greece's overall debt will be reduced by 20 percent of GDP, thus permanently pushing aside the prospect of a country mired in endless debt and with a precarious position in the eurozone and opening the way for Greece's renewal, Samaras said.amna

    The prime minister emphasised that this was a result that all Greeks achieved together, through their sacrifices and their support for difficult decisions taken in very difficult times, and he praised the role played by all three parties in the coalition government and thanked his two coalition partners for their support.

    He also stressed that this outcome was the result of tough negotiations in successive phases, which helped to change Greece's image abroad.

    "We converted many enemies into friends. We achieved things that most considered impossible a short while ago. And we have opened the way for even more...We spoke little and did much. And this proved to be a much better negotiating strategy than that of those that shout alot and destroy everything," he said.amna

    Stressing the need for unity, the prime minister underlined that Greeks had to stay together and promised that there would be a relief of injustices once the goals set were overshot, while noting that the main order of the day was work and investments that would create jobs, especially for young people.amna

    [02] FM cancels visit to Tirana following quip by Albanian PM

    AMNA / In a last-minute announcement on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said he was cancelling a planned visit to Tirana, in reaction to the previous day's statement made by Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha during an event to mark the centenary of that country's independence.

    Expressing official Athens' expreme displeasure, Avramopoulos said statements of this sort do not contribute to cultivating a climate of friendship, trust and good-neighbourly relations between the two countries, nor to efforts to adopt joint initiatives in areas of mutual interest, such as in politics, economics and energy.

    Hours later on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Berisha offered explanations over the latter's eyebrow-raising statement, in which he referred to the "…national independence of all Albanian territories from Preveza to Presevo and from Skopje to Podgorica".

    Spokeswoman Erla ehilli said Berisha's statement touched on "the historical context (that existed) 100 years ago, and does not entail any territorial claim against our neighbours to the south, north or east."amna

    [03] Qatar to launch new Athens-NY daily flight

    AMNA -- Qatar Airways will launch a daily, year-round Athens to New York flight in mid-June, the airline's CEO Akbar Al Baker announced in Athens on Wednesday at a press conference the 8th anniversary of Qatar Airway's service to Greece.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; Al Baker said that Qatar Airways supports its presence in Greece not only in good times but also in the period of crisis, adding that Greece is an important market for the company.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; "We will continue to support our presence in Greece, also creating new jobs," he said.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; Qatar Airways added Athens to its rapidly-growing international network in mid-June 2005 with the launch of non-stop scheduled flights from Doha to the Greek capital. The inaugural flight from Doha touched down at Athens' 'Eleftherios Venizelos' International Airport (AIA) on June 16, 2005.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; Asked whether other companies in Qatar plan to invest in Greece, Al Baker noted that the companies in his country proceed with investments without any 'grand announcements' preceding them, adding that Qatar has expressed its "strong commitment" for investments in Greece.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; Athens is a hub for 31 European destinations that are contained in Qatar Airways'' network of itineraries, which commenced in 2005 with six weekly flights to Athens and increased to two daily flights three years ago.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; The Athens-Doha flight has become the top destination, in absolute number of passengers, at the AIA, surpassing the airport's New York destination for the first time in the AIA's history.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; Al Baker also reiterated his company's commitment to continue developing the Athens route.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; AMNA

    [04] Gov't eyes plan to pay state debt to private sector‏

    AMNA / A decision by the Greek government to pay part of the state's overdue debt to the private sector, which totaled 9.3 billion euros in September 30 (including VAT returns), is expected to offer a first liquidity injection to the domestic market by mid-December.

    Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras is expected to present an integrated plan to fully pay the state's overdue debt, along with signing a series of memorandums with other government ministries, leaving each minister responsible for the settlement of their ministries' debts.

    According to the plan, the state must pay all 9.3 billion euros of outstanding debt by the end of 2013, without however reaching a decision on the sum to be paid this year. The finance ministry will also set three criteria to speed up payment in certain professional sectors, while it was considering adopting an offsetting agreement, or even ask for a "haircut" of the state's debt.

    The government will use part of a 10.6 billion euros included in a tranche of 34.4 billion euros - expected to be released by Dec. 13.amna

    [05] Tourism ministry presents "Amazing Athens" SmartPhone App

    AMNA -- The SmartPhone App "Amazing Athens" is the most recent "technological tool" at the disposal of the tourism ministry within the framework of an international tourism promotion campaign focusing on the City of Athens, it was announced on Wednesday.

    Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni noted that the English-speaking SmartPhone App, a tourist guide created for mobile phones and tablets, will be available in February and constitutes an attempt to overturn the dominant view that "Athens is nothing more than a stopover for tourists heading for the Greek islands".

    The application is the result of collaboration between the ministry of culture and the "Stavros Niarchos" Foundation. amna

    [06] Tourism ministry presents "Amazing Athens" SmartPhone App

    AMNA -- The SmartPhone App "Amazing Athens" is the most recent "technological tool" at the disposal of the tourism ministry within the framework of an international tourism promotion campaign focusing on the City of Athens, it was announced on Wednesday.

    "Tahoma","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#0F1419; ourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni noted that the English-speaking SmartPhone App, a tourist guide created for mobile phones and tablets, will be available in February and constitutes an attempt to overturn the dominant view that "Athens is nothing more than a stopover for tourists heading for the Greek islands".

    The application is the result of collaboration between the ministry of culture and the "Stavros Niarchos" Foundation. amna


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