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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-01-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Two MPs expelled from DIMAR parliamentary group
  • [02] President Papoulias urges German investments in Greece
  • [03] FinMin urges 'patience for one more year'

  • [01] Two MPs expelled from DIMAR parliamentary group

    AMNA/ Two MPs of the smallest of the three coalition government parties, Democratic Left (DIMAR), were expelled from the DIMAR parliamentary group on Monday by decision of party leader Fotis Kouvelis.

    In a letter to parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis, Kouvelis informed the House of his decision to expel Odysseas Voudouris and Petros Moutsinas, noting that "the two MPs have for some time, with their systematic and firm differentiation from all the positions and initiatives of the party, come to a full rift with the functions and directions of the DIMAR parliamentary group".

    DIMAR, he added, has exhausted all margins for their continued stay in the party's parliamentary group "despite the disdain they have shown for our collective decisions".

    "What has become manifestly clear is that the two MPs do not simply express different opinions but support a different policy plan than that of DIMAR," Kouvelis concluded.

    In early November, the DIMAR executive committee had condemned the stance of Voudouris and Moutsinas in not following the party's line in the vote for the omnibus bill introducing a new package of austerity measures, while Kouvelis had warned them over their tactic of not observing the party's collective decisions.

    DIMAR is a junior partner in the Antonis Samaras coalition government. The party's line was to vote 'present' in the parliamentary vote on the austerity package, but the two MPs defied the party line and voted against.

    [02] President Papoulias urges German investments in Greece

    Berlin (AMNA/F.Karaviti) -- Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, on a visit to Berlin, urged German businessmen to invest in Greece, assuring them that they have only to gain from activity in Greece.

    After a meeting on Monday with German federal President Joachim Gauck, Papoulias expressed optimism that Greek-German relations will be characterised by the "sense of solidarity, which is a fundamental European value".

    "Much has changed in Greece, thanks to the sacrifices of the Greek people, who are paying a heavy price," he said, while on investment opportunities he said: "I want to assure you, personally, and the German businessmen that they have only to gain from their activity in Greece."

    Gauck, in turn, stressed that "Greece can rely on assistance from Germany in the futureĽ, adding that "true friendship is affirmed in times of crises".

    "In times of crisis, we expect the two sides to rise to their responsibilities," Gauck said.

    The two Presidents were given a guided tour of the exhibition "Olympia: Myth-Cult-Games in Antiquity", which has been running since August at the exhibition premises of the 'Martin-Gropius-Bau', held under the auspices of the two Presidents.

    Papoulias said that the exhibition pays tribute to the Olympic Ideal and to the Ancient Greek civilization", while Gauck called it a "great give of the Greeks to Germany" given that many of the exhibits are being put on display for the first time.

    "Touring the halls of this lovely exhibition venue and viewing the exhibits of unique value, one becomes immersed in the radiance of the Hellenic spirit and the Olympic ideal of 'eu agonizesthe' (fair play). At the same time this exhibition urges visitors to ponder the historic depth and roots of European civilization, which lie in Greece. The foundation stone of this civilization is found in the anthropocentric ideal that was the basis of the philosophy of the Hellenes. Ancient Greek civilization bloomed precisely for this reason, and consequently it shows us the way to Europe's future, adapted of course to the present day," Papoulias said, and thanked the 2.5 million Germans who visit Greece each year, assuring them that they will be received again this year with the same love and hospitality.

    Papoulias further invited Gauck to visit Greece, promising to personally give him a tour of Ancient Olympia.

    Later, President Papoulias will go to the Bellevue Presidential Mansion, where the German president will host a dinner in his honour.

    [03] FinMin urges 'patience for one more year'

    AMNA/ There are no fiscal abilities to expand the heating oil subsidy or for tax breaks, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on private VIMA radio station on Monday, reiterating that 2013 will be a tough year, and urged "patience for one more year".

    He also said that the new tax bill, which will be unveiled in April or May, will contain a provision under which all those found to be tax evading will "either pay or go to jail".

    Asked if he entertained political aspirations, Stournaras said that they were not in his immediate priorities.

    To a question whether the Ministry was examining expansion of the criteria for tax rebates for heating oil, he replied: "I wish the fiscal ability existed, but it does not". He acknowledged, however, that the heating oil subsidy was "as yet unreliable, as many who are eligible for it have not submitted the required certification to receive it".

    Stournaras stressed the critical need for taxes to be paid and for the targets to be met, warning: "The next tranche will not come if we relax (the efforts)...we will lose the credibility we have begun to gain...we have set out major targets, which we must attain".

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