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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-07-25

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papoutsis appointed Greece's representative to the World Bank
  • [02] Businessman, former defence ministry staff charged over suspect contract
  • [03] Piraeus major loading dock completed, to be inaugurated in September
  • [04] Investors for Thessaloniki Water 'warned off' by 130 citizen/trade union groups

  • [01] Papoutsis appointed Greece's representative to the World Bank

    ANA-MPA - Former minister and former European commissioner Christos Papoutsis has been appointed as Greece's representative to the World Bank, assuming his new duties on September 15.

    According to a ministry announcement on Friday, the Greek government and the World Bank have collaborated closely in the few last months, seeking to improve the investment environment, facilitate entrepreneurship and raise Greece's rankings further in the world competitiveness indexes drawn up by the Bank.

    Christos Papoutsis is an economist and veteran player in Greek and European politics, having served as a government minister, European Commissioner, member of Parliament and EuroParliament deputy.

    He was Minister of Citizen Protection, responsible for the national security of the country, in 2010-2012. He was elected a member of the Greek Parliament for Athens with the PASOK party in four general elections (2000, 2004, 2007, 2009), following his return to Greece after 16 years of serving in European Institutions.

    In 2000-2001, he was merchant marine minister and he represented Greece at the Transport Council of the European Union.

    From 1995 to 1999, he served as EU Commissioner under the Presidency of the European Commission by Jacques Santer.

    He was responsible for Energy Policy and EURATOM Supply Agency, Enterprise Policy, Commerce, Tourism and Social Economy and represented the European Commission at the OECD, the G8, the E.U. Council for Energy and the E.U. Council for Competitiveness.

    In 1984-1995, Papoutsis was a member of the European Parliament for Greece, elected in the European elections of 1984, 1989, 1994.

    Papoutsis obtained a degree in economics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and has been published three times. His works include: "For Europe

    in the 21st century" (1999), "The Colour of the Future" (1998), and "European Destinations" (1994).

    He is married and has one daughter.

    [02] Businessman, former defence ministry staff charged over suspect contract

    ANA-MPA -- The assistant public prosecutor against corruption Popi Papandreou on Thursday announced that a total of 19 individuals, including defence ministry staff and a well-known businessman, have been charged over a suspect procurement contract signed with the defence ministry in 2001, which resulted in more than 40 million euros in damages to the state.

    Among those charged are two former defence ministry general secretaries, a former chief of the Army General Staff, the owner and CEO of the company that was awarded the contract and 14 members of the military that sat on committees evaluating and taking decisions concerning the specific project.

    The charges against the defendants include breach of faith at the expense of the state and of morally instigating and colluding to carry this out.

    The investigation into the case was prompted by examination of a 2001 contract to supply 18 "jammers" and 11 surveillance centres for an "electronic war programme" that was supposed to sabotage or interfere with enemy communications. The total value of the contract was 72 million euros before VAT, with an advance of 35 million euros.

    It was the size of the advance that first raised questions, since in similar cases there is a commitment that the advance should not exceed 40 percent of the total value of the project, which in this case was never completed.

    The company and the state resorted to arbitration in a dispute of failure to complete the specific contract in 2007. The final ruling found in favour of the company and the Greek State was fined 3.0 million euros as solely responsible for the failure to execute the contract. In fact, the arbitration also allowed the company to take back the letters of guarantee it had issued and keep the advance, as a result of actions and decisions taken at the time by the defence ministry general secretary.

    All 19 suspects in the case have been summoned before the public prosecutor and, according to sources, have denied the charges against them. The case has now been forwarded to the examining magistrate for corruption cases.

    [03] Piraeus major loading dock completed, to be inaugurated in September

    ANA-MPA -- The car terminal loading dock at the Neo Ikonio area of the main Greek port of Piraeus is finished and will be inaugurated in September, it was announced on Thursday.

    The completion was attested by managing directors Giorgos Anomeritis of the Port Authority of Piraeus (OLP) and Kostas Spiliopoulos of ErgOSE (Hellenic Railways' large projects subsidiary) who visited the site with administrative and technical staff from both organisations and from Aktor construction company, which built the dock.

    The project is part of an agreement between OSE (Hellenic Railways) and OLP to construct a 17-km rail line linking the Thriassio Valley area with the facilities of Chinese-owned container company Cosco in Neo Ikonio, and feed into the national railway network as well. The project aims longterm at raising Piraeus' profile as a trade hub in the Mediterranean and Europe.

    The railroad, which was completed in February, will begin operation once the dock is inaugurated in September. It will be used to convey goods and cars among OLP, the Cosco terminal in Piraeus, and Thriassio, cutting down significantly on overland travel and facilitating trade with the Balkans and Europe.

    In March, state-owned TrainOSE signed a major agreement with Cosco and Hewlett-Packard to use the facilities to distribute the American electronic giant's products to European, African and Middle Eastern markets.

    According to statistics published earlier this year, the port of Piraeus in 2012 handled close to half a million cars going to markets in the Mediterranean; of these, 54,785 were imported to Greece. OLP said earlier this year that although cars imported to Greece through Piraeus dropped in 2012 by 38.2 pct, those passing through on their way to other Mediterranean ports increased by 22.8 pct.

    (File photo shows Cosco container terminal at port of Piraeus)

    [04] Investors for Thessaloniki Water 'warned off' by 130 citizen/trade union groups

    ANA-MPA -- Potential buyers of the Thessaloniki Water and Sewerage Company (EYATh) have been asked to withdraw their bids for the company in letters sent by 130 citizen and trade union organisations from 18 countries and 50 members of the European Parliament, it was announced on Thursday.

    The potential buyers were warned that they would risk "blackening their reputation and increasing their business risk" as a result of extended and strong reactions by citizens.

    Recipients of the letters included the French multinational Suez Environment, the Greek joint ventures Aktor SA and Terna and the Israeli group Mekorot and Arison Investment. They are warned that the Greek government put the water company up for sale against the will of Thessaloniki residents, who have launched several campaigns to stop the privatisation.

    "International experience has shown that the privatisation of water usually makes prices shoot up and in many cases lowered its quality. Even though the trend in Europe is now to renationalise water system, they are forcing us to do the opposite," said the coordinator of the 'Save Greek Water' campaign Maria Kanellopoulou.

    Others involved in the initiative include the water company's staff union, the head of Food and Water Europe Gabriella Zanzanaini and the independent Greek MEP Kriton Arsenis representing the 50 MEPs opposing the privatisation.


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