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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-02-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK leader: Constitution should be revised
  • [02] National Plan to deal with unemployment
  • [03] Development ministry meeting with private companies on Tuesday
  • [04] Greek exports rise to record 24.5 bln euros in 2012

  • [01] PASOK leader: Constitution should be revised

    AMNA--The opportunity to revise the Greek constitution should not be allowed to be wasted, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said at a conference on Monday.

    Addressing a conference on the revision at the Andreas Papandreou Institute of Strategic and Development Studies, Venizelos said talks for such a revision should try to include democratically-minded parties, beyong the three in the governing coalition (of which PASOK is a junior member). The most pressing issue in such a revision would be the electoral system, he said, which must retain its proportional nature but also strengthen the government's stability, without polarising the electorate "as it did in the last elections".amna

    Among other issues he said should be included in such a revision are the upgrading of the legislative procedure itself to avoid last-minute amendments and to avoid evoking emergency procedures in order to pass bills.

    [02] National Plan to deal with unemployment

    AMNA--The National Committee on Employment is meeting on Tuesday with the aim of forging a national action plan against the rampant unemployment in Greece.

    The Committee, in its first meeting in 3 1/2 years, has been convened by Labor, Social Security and Welfare Minister Yannis Vroutsis and will include representatives of the so-called 'productive' ministries, employers' organisations and trade unions, as well as other social agencies.

    The Minister will brief the meetings on his ministry's actions currently underway, and will seek specific proposals for a re-planning of the existing actions for the purpose of optimizing their efficiency and effectiveness.amna

    According to sources, there will be an in-depth review of the programmes for boosting employment among youth, the hardest hit age bracket with an unemployment rate nearing 60 percent, which the Minister has placed high priority on, as well as the issue of finding funds to support the approximately 400,000 Greek families that have no working members.amna

    Vroutsis is in favour of the drafting of orientation programmes and the subsidization of jobs through funds that could be channeled from the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) to the European Social Fund.

    [03] Development ministry meeting with private companies on Tuesday

    AMNA--The Development ministry's political leadership is to hold a meeting on Tuesday with the representatives from a number of large domestic and foreign companies which have recently announced an increase or the commencement of production activities in Greece.

    The meeting is part of government efforts, under the directive of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, to facilitate private investments in the country. amna

    The meeting will involve officials from the following firms: Athenian Brewery, Barilla Hellas, BIC Violex, Friesland Campina-NOYNOY, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson (medical industry), Kraft Hellas SA, Ytong-Thrakon, Unilever, Nestle, Phillip Morris and Hygiene Products SA.

    [04] Greek exports rise to record 24.5 bln euros in 2012

    AMNA--The value of Greek exports surpassed 24 billion euros in 2012, a record year for the Greek economy, although a strengthened euro currency exchange rate against the US dollar undermined Greek exports to the European Union, the Panhellenic Federation of Exporters said on Monday.

    In its statement, however, the Federation stressed that the European Commission recently predicted that Greek exports will rise by 2.7 pct in 2013.

    Christina Sakellaridi, president of the Federation, said in the statement, "The engine of the Greek economy, export-going business activity, managed to move forward rapidly in the last three years, offering spectacular results with clear positive effect on the economy such as capital inflows, higher taxes and contributions, maintaining or creating new job positions amid a devastating recession. But the industry is meeting additional hurdles in its way. A recession in Europe and increased euro exchange rate against the US dollar are limiting its dynamism and the recovery possibilities of the Greek economy. It is imperative to take urgent action to support exporters in fundamental ways, otherwise new forecasts for an even deeper recession in Greece this year could be revised downwards."amna

    The Federation, in an analysis of Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures on trade transactions, said that the value of exports – excluding oils - fell to 1.295 billion euros in December, from 1.524 billion euros in December 2011, for a decline of 15 pct – the worst performance for a December in the last three years. Overall, the value of exports – excluding oils - rose to 17.004 billion euros last year, from 16.183 billion euros in 2011, an increase of 4.1 pct, while with oils included the value of exports totaled 24.5 billion euros in 2012, accounting for 12.3 pct of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

    Exports to EU states fell 1.7 pct last year, while exports to third countries jumped 17.8 pct, with the EU absorbing 60.85 pct of Greek exports and third countries the remaining at 39.15 pct. The report said that any further appreciation of the euro would further hit Greek products' competitiveness to third countries this year. The Federation said that exports to third countries fell 20.6 pct in December, while exports to the EU fell by 11 pct in the same month.amna

    The value of imports –excluding oils- totaled 2.384 billion euros in December, from 2.359 billion euros in December 2011, for an increase of 1.1 pct. In the 12-month period, from January to December 2012, the value of imports – excluding oils - fell 6.0 pct to 30.201 billion euros.amna

    The country's trade deficit – excluding oils - dropped 17.2 pct last year to 13.197 billion euros from 15.944 billion euros in 2011.

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