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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-02-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM appoints new minister for European funds

  • [01] PM appoints new minister for European funds

    AMNA -- Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday announced the appointment of a new deputy minister to take over management of National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds. The prime minister made the announcement during Friday's cabinet meeting, following a proposal made by Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Costis Hatzidakis.

    He named Kyriakos Virvidakis as the new deputy development minister, who will be sworn in on Saturday at 12:00.

    Addressing the meeting, Samaras referred at length to the handling of Community funds and noted that this money had to be directed where it would be most effective, contributing to economic growth and helping to tackle unemployment, rather than being split up among many small projects.

    On the subject of unemployment, he said this had taken on "nightmarish proportions" and that it was the government's top priority to reduce joblessness, increase social cohesion and boost growth.

    "We have sounded the alarm," he told ministers, while stressing that the policy followed thus far had helped ensure that the country remained in the eurozone, securing loans and EU funds, and that the important thing now was the recapitalisation of the banks.

    At the same time, Samaras said that all sides must contribute to "ensuring normality for the economy and society" and he was sharply critical of those creating problems.

    "Those blocking roads and investments will find us ranged against them, those wanting recovery will have us at their side," he added.

    The prime minister focused especially on the problem of tackling bureaucracy, saying that this was essential for the creation of new jobs and to allow growth.

    Stressing that he fought daily battles to 'tame' Greece's rampant bureaucracy, Samaras asked cabinet ministers to supply him with lists of immediate 'fixes' to eradicate red tape:

    "I want you to come to me and tell me your problems and what solutions you propose," he emphasised.

    Toward this end, Samaras proposed a round of meetings with the leadership of each ministry, starting with the development ministry on Wednesday morning. This meeting will be followed by three more with the leaderships of the agriculture ministry, the environment ministry and the health ministry later the same day and continue with a round of meetings with ministers on Thursday through Saturday.

    On Thursday, Samaras will have successive meetings with the leaderships of the merchant marine and labour ministries, on Friday with the foreign affairs ministry, interior , justice and education ministry and the final three meetings - with the tourism ministry, the administrative reform ministry and the finance ministry - will be held on Saturday.

    Another point stressed was the need for ministers to inform the government's coalition partners of planned legislation, though the premier clarified that this did mean there would be restrictions on ministers' actions.

    "We have covered a huge distance and now is the time to extricate the country from the mire," he added, calling for "solutions now" and stressing that emergency situations called for emergency solutions.

    Outlining the results of the European Union summit, Samaras noted that the negotiations had been difficult and led to more being shared among fewer recipients. He said that Greece will receive 44 billion euros over the next nine years and appeared confident that the country might also receive additional sums from funds without national allocations.

    On the management of NSRF funds, he urged ministers to seek out the opinion of regional authority chiefs on planned projects, stressing that Greece was now creating the developmental model of the next decade. He called for emphasis on boosting liquidity, privatisations, investments and relaunching major projects.

    Samaras also highlighted the importance of Greece's EU presidency in the first half of 2014, pointing out that this would coincide with European Parliament elections in May 2014 "when the eyes of all the world will be upon us".

    The meeting was also addressed by Hatzidakis, who urged ministers to be careful in their handling of funds and proposed a time frame for the preparation of the government and regional authorities, and Agriculture Minister Athanasios Tsaftaris, who noted that there would be no reduction in funds received by Greece for agriculture and stressed that "farmers should not be afraid".

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