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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-06-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Commissioner Semeta: Greece will return to economic growth in 2014
  • [02] Visiting Patriarch Kirill arrives at Mt. Athos monastic community
  • [03] IMF's Christine Lagarde urges Greeks to keep up efforts

  • [01] Commissioner Semeta: Greece will return to economic growth in 2014

    ANA-MPA -- European Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud Algirdas Semeta, in Athens on Tuesday, expressed optimism that Greece will return to economic growth in 2014, noting that there are clear indications showing that confidence in the country has increased.

    Addressing a joint session of the Greek Parliament's committees on European affairs, economic affairs and institutions & transparency, he acknowledged that a difficult task has been performed both by the Greek authorities and the Greek people, allowing for optimistic forecasts.

    Semeta underlined the need to reform the taxation system, noting that it is the most important measure for economic growth and social cohesion. "It should be simple, fair, with a mechanism that can trace and punish those who break the law," he said, expressing the view that the VAT rate reduction on food sector requested by Greece is not the best choice in solving its problems.

    He said that cooperation between the EU's Eurostat and the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) has been fruitful, producing reliable statistics that have been published six times without reservations. He described as "a positive first step" the establishment of the office of a general secretary for public revenues, noting that progress has been made but strong political will is also necessary.

    "The issue is to have fair taxation system with zero tolerance for fraud," he said, adding that the EU Task Force for Greece prepares new taxation codes to be incorporated in the Greek legislation.

    Responding to questions by MPs, the European Commissioner said that the European Commission puts pressure on all member-states to tackle the problem of tax havens and underlined that tax evasion should be combated on European and national levels.

    [02] Visiting Patriarch Kirill arrives at Mt. Athos monastic community

    ANA-MPA -- Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, currently on an official visit to Greece June 1-7, arrived at Mount Athos in Halkidiki Peninsula earlier on Tuesday, launching a formal three-day visit to the monastic community.

    He was formally welcomed in the administrative center of Karyes by the Hiera Epistassia (Athos' executive committee) and representatives of the 20 monasteries comprising the monastic community. A mass was later celebrated at the Protaton Church.

    Patriarch Kirill will depart for the Russian Monastery of Saint Panteleimon later in the day after meeting with the Mt. Athos holy fathers.

    On Wednesday, he will lead a mass at the Saint Panteleimon Monastery and then visit the monasteries of Megisti Lavra and Iviron. On Thursday, he will visit the monasteries of Vatopedion, Hilandarion and Pantokrator.

    [03] IMF's Christine Lagarde urges Greeks to keep up efforts

    ANA-MPA -- International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Tuesday underlined that the programme for the Greek economy is more or less on the right track despite the difficult fiscal adjustment.

    Lagarde told public-run NET television that efforts should not relax, referring to tax collection and the reforms in the products and services markets, because this is the only way to restart the Greek economy and attract investments.

    The sacrifices made and the wage cuts should not go to waste, she stressed, adding that "more energy" is necessary in the implementation and adoption of reforms that will greatly benefit the Greek economy. She said that the VAT rate reduction on food catering services is not an insignificant issue, stressing, however, that such a move should not send the wrong message namely, that revenue collection and the revenue collection mechanism reorganization efforts have relaxed.

    As regards the debt reduction, she repeated that the European pledges for assistance will be met - even though the way has not been clarified - if the country meets its commitments, which is now the case, and achieves primary surplus.

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