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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-12-26

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras: Greece will do just fine
  • [02] Alpha Bank buyout of Emporiki approved
  • [03] Budget deficit drops notably in 2012
  • [04] SETE expects increase in tourist arrivals in 2013

  • [01] PM Samaras: Greece will do just fine

    AMNA--"Greece will do just fine", was the Christmas message voiced by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras Monday evening on state television channel NET, describing 2013 as a tough year. However, if all Greeks work together, the country will be "lifted up" again, said the premier.

    The priorities set by the government are social cohesion and fighting unemployment hitting the younger ages, while investments will be the tool to turn around the country's economy and create new jobs, Samaras stressed. amna

    From Buenos Aires, main opposition radical left SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras noted in his Christmas message that "Greece and its people have in the past been through even tougher days than the current harsh conditions, but have always survived."amna

    Tsipras, currently on tour of South American countries, added that "cultural tradition and solidarity will be the weapons that will help us out of the hardships, and 2013 will be a more optimistic year."amna

    DIMAR party leader Fotis Kouvelis, in his own Christmas message to Greek people, described the coming period as "hopeful", saying that a social protection netting must be developed to care for all those citizens living under the poverty line.

    [02] Alpha Bank buyout of Emporiki approved

    AMNA--Alpha Bank got the go-ahead from the Competition Committee on Monday to complete the buyout of Emporiki Bank. In its unanimous decision (556/VII/2012), the committee approved the conglomeration related to the complete control of Alpha Bank over Emporiki Bank because it did not contravene fair competition regulations.

    [03] Budget deficit drops notably in 2012

    AMNA--The deficit has shrunk for the period between January and November this year, bringing the state budget balance down by 40.2 pct, according to data released by the General Accounting Office.

    The deficit totalled 12.8 billion euros (6.7 pct of the GDP) against 21.5 billion for the same period last year, while the primary deficit totalled 1.4 billion euros (0.7 pct of the GDP), from 6 billion (2.9 pct of the GDP) last year.

    The budget benefitted from larger than expected revenues from income tax (target exceeded by 280 million euros), other direct taxes, including a special solidarity tax (by 115 million), property taxation (by 93 million), insurance taxes (by 63 million), and non-tax revenues (by 76 million). The property tax collected through the electricity bills, in particular, exceeded the annual target by 3.6 percent.amna

    On the other hand, revenues were close to target but reduced from the same period last year by 1.4 pct (reaching 45.8 billion euros), partly attributed to not including privatisations. Last year's totals included 1.1 billion euros in revenues from the privatisation of state assets.

    Expenditures also dropped this year by 9.2 billion euros or 13.7 pct year-on-year. The largest reduction was noted in primary expenditures (by 9.5 percent, or 42 billion), while in November alone they were 18.3 pct lower than the same month last year.amna

    Commenting on the figures, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said that when the coalition government took power, "the country had entered a non-negotiable path. Internal and external evaluations noted its inability to proceed on a truly rough path. We rejected the option of turning back. We rejected the option of staying awkwardly in place. We chose to walk ahead unwaveringly and quickly. In the six months since, we achieved some of what we had targeted in public finances." He said however that despite the positive results of the year, "there is a lot that needs to be done still."

    [04] SETE expects increase in tourist arrivals in 2013

    AMNA--Optimism is expressed by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) that the goal of 17 million tourist arrivals will be easily met in 2013, recording a notable increase compared with 16 million arrivals in 2012. amna

    SETE President Andreas Andreadis on Friday said that the increase in tourism sector revenues is estimated to reach 1 billion euros noting that advance bookings in major markets, such as the UK and Germany, show an increase of 20 pct when competitor countries like Turkey record no increase compared with last year.


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