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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-03-04

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Bank deposits up 2.0 bln euros in February
  • [02] Greece starting to stabilise, PM tells Greek-Turkish business forum
  • [03] Greece pushing past worst of recession, PM tells Greek-Turkish business forum
  • [04] Former minister Tsochatzopoulos gets eight years
  • [05] Troika meets with Reform Ministry to review progress

  • [01] Bank deposits up 2.0 bln euros in February

    AMNA -- Greek banks recorded a 2.0 billion euros inflow in deposits in February, for a total deposits return of 16.17 billion euros since June 2012, George Provopoulos, Bank of Greece's governor said on Monday during a visit to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    The central banker sounded cautiously optimistic saying there existed some positive messages, although he added that the situation remained difficult as the country still had to cover another 30 pct of a marathon road. Provopoulos expressed his confidence that efforts would be continued until the end of the programe to safeguard the sacrifices made by the Greek people.

    Deposits by Greek enterprises and households totaled 160.97 billion euros at the end of January. Provopoulos said that Greek financial institutions were currently moving on positive trend and added that Greek banks were expected to return to markets in the next few months in their effort to boost the capital base, while he noted that the Greek banking market needed three large and a few smaller banks.

    Commenting on the country's economy, the central banker said the current account deficit fell to 2.9 pct of GDP last year from 15 pct in 2008.

    [02] Greece starting to stabilise, PM tells Greek-Turkish business forum

    AMNA -- Greece is now traversing the deepest point of the recession and starting to stabilise, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said here on Monday. The Greek premier was addressing a Greek-Turkish business forum held in Istanbul, alongside the second meeting of the Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council.

    "This is the right time for us to cooperate even more, for the benefit of bilateral business, with the aim of creating new jobs in both countries," he emphasised. The Greek premier also underlined that the business climate in Greece was improving rapidly, making steady and dynamic progress.

    "We are proceeding decisively, carrying out reforms over the entire spectrum of the Greek economy. This determination and effort is now being recognised worldwide. Similarly, our friend Turkey is modernising," he said.

    Citing figures, Samaras noted that Turkey had ranked 10th among the suppliers of goods to the Greek market in 2012 and was 6th among countries receiving Greek exports.

    "In addition, in the last six years, we can see a noteworthy increase of Greek investments in Turkey. As neighbours, we can transport at reduced cost and have greater direct contact and, at the same time, create personal ties between business people. Similarly, Turkey's proximity with the countries of the Caucasus and central Asia has given and gives the potential for collaborations of both a commercial and investment nature."

    The prime minister further underlined the potential for businesses in the two countries to work together in order to penetrate third-country markets: "Undertaking joint business initiatives in the Balkans, the countries of in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation area and the countries of central Asia will bring, in addition, growth and promote trade and economic relations, both on a bilateral and a multilateral level."

    He called for further bilateral cooperation in investments, especially in setting up consortiums in various areas of joint interest in countries of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

    Samaras emphasised the need to develop tourism between the two countries, noting that the Greek government had for this reason introduced and extended "on-the-spot" visa issue at selected Turkish ports for visits to the Greek islands, in collaboration with the European Union and Schengen Treaty countries.

    "Relations between countries become stronger only through a stable political framework. On our side, it is Greece's steadfast goal to normalise Greek-Turkish relations. And Turkey also has stated that it desires a friendly and peaceful resolution of our differences. Nevertheless, if there is to be substantial progress in our relations, they must always be governed by an active respect for international law and international treaties.

    The forum was also addressed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that Turkey must contribute to Greece's economic stabilisation. He noted that "Greece's problems are also our problems," pointing out that business and economic ties had not yet attained the "anticipated level." On the political front, he noted that Greece's support for Turkey's European Union prospects will continue.

    [03] Greece pushing past worst of recession, PM tells Greek-Turkish business forum

    AMNA -- Greece is now traversing the deepest point of the recession and starting to stabilise, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said here on Monday. The Greek premier was addressing a Greek-Turkish business forum held in Istanbul, alongside the second meeting of the Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council.

    "This is the right time for us to cooperate even more, for the benefit of bilateral business, with the aim of creating new jobs in both countries," he emphasised. The Greek premier also underlined that the business climate in Greece was improving rapidly, making steady and dynamic progress.

    "We are proceeding decisively, carrying out reforms over the entire spectrum of the Greek economy. This determination and effort is now being recognised worldwide. Similarly, our friend Turkey is modernising," he said.amna

    Citing figures, Samaras noted that Turkey had ranked 10th among the suppliers of goods to the Greek market in 2012 and was 6th among countries receiving Greek exports.

    "In addition, in the last six years, we can see a noteworthy increase of Greek investments in Turkey. As neighbours, we can transport at reduced cost and have greater direct contact and, at the same time, create personal ties between business people. Similarly, Turkey's proximity with the countries of the Caucasus and central Asia has given and gives the potential for collaborations of both a commercial and investment nature."

    The prime minister further underlined the potential for businesses in the two countries to work together in order to penetrate third-country markets: "Undertaking joint business initiatives in the Balkans, the countries of in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation area and the countries of central Asia will bring, in addition, growth and promote trade and economic relations, both on a bilateral and a multilateral level.amna

    He called for further bilateral cooperation in investments, especially in setting up consortiums in various areas of joint interest in countries of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

    Samaras emphasised the need to develop tourism between the two countries, noting that the Greek government had for this reason introduced and extended "on-the-spot" visa issue at selected Turkish ports for visits to the Greek islands, in collaboration with the European Union and Schengen Treaty countries.

    "Relations between countries become stronger only through a stable political framework. On our side, it is Greece's steadfast goal to normalise Greek-Turkish relations. And Turkey also has stated that it desires a friendly and peaceful resolution of our differences. Nevertheless, if there is to be substantial progress in our relations, they must always be governed by an active respect for international law and international treaties.amna

    The forum was also addressed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that Turkey must contribute to Greece's economic stabilisation. He noted that "Greece's problems are also our problems," pointing out that business and economic ties had not yet attained the "anticipated level." On the political front, he noted that Greece's support for Turkey's European Union prospects will continue.

    [04] Former minister Tsochatzopoulos gets eight years

    AMNA - An Athens Criminal Court of Appeals on Monday sentenced former defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to eight years in jail, as well as fining him 520,000 euros and ordering the confiscation of his house on Dionyssiou Areopagitou Street, one of the most expensive and prestigious streets in central Athens.

    The former minister, who is currently in jail awaiting trial on charges relating to illegal payments for defence ministry armament programmes, was on Monday sentenced on the separate charge of filing inaccurate "source of income" declarations. The court, in delivering its ruling, did not admit any extenuating circumstances in his favour and also ruled that the sentence cannot be appealed.

    Tsohatzopoulos faced felony charges for failing to include his two-storey neo-classical residence on Dionissiou Areopagitou, which directly faces the south side of the Acropolis in central Athens, in his "source of income" declaration filed in 2010 and a lesser charge for inaccurate declarations concerning smaller amounts in previous years.

    Addressing the court, Tsohatzopoulos appeared visibly upset and attributed a political dimension to the case, asserting that he was brought to justice for political reasons and alleging the involvement of his former party PASOK. He also maintained that he had not intended to conceal but simply neglected to declare his house on Areopagitis Street.

    [05] Troika meets with Reform Ministry to review progress

    AMNA -- The troika is not calling for civil servant layoffs for the time being, Administrative Reform Ministry officials said Monday following a review of changes in the public sector by the visiting troika of lenders.

    Issues examined and of high priority include the new organisational charts of ministries, pinpointing staff surpluses, and the quarterly targets for civil servant mobility, reserve labour and layoffs up to the end of 2014.

    Minister Antonis Manitakis met with Matthias Morse (European Commission), Klaus Masuch (European Central Bank) and Mark Flanagan (IMF, European Department), who represents IMF mission chief for Greece Poul Thomsen, expected in Athens on Tuesday.

    Ministry sources said the meeting was "productive" and confirmed that reforms in the public sector are progressing within the parameters set by the medium-term agreement.

    The troika has repeatedly raised the issue of reductions in the number of public sector employees. So far, 1,891 employees at state agencies have been temporarily suspended pending transfer to different services, another 890 who committed perjury have been suspended and will be laid off, and the government has agreed to suspend another 25,000 by the end of 2013 (12,500 of these by June).

    Ministry sources said however that 75,000 personnel have voluntarily left the state within the last 15 months, which leads the government to believe that by 2015 the second memorandum's demand for dismissal of 150,000 employees will have been met naturally by attrition.

    Besides the staffing issue, the review and drawing up of new organisational structures for the remaining ministries will have been completed by Wednesday and approved by the prime minister and the cabinet committee on reform by the end of the week.


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