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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-11-09

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] ND-SYRIZA coalition can't be ruled out, Avramopoulos says
  • [02] Kenya's Felix Kandie wins 32nd Athens Marathon
  • [03] Vroutsis: IKA set to become 'superfund' as pension reform continues
  • [04] Alt. FinMin sees social dividend in 2015, as long as targets are met

  • [01] ND-SYRIZA coalition can't be ruled out, Avramopoulos says

    ANA-MPA -- Greece's European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said that he did not rule out a New Democracy-SYRIZA coalition government, during an interview in the Sunday edition of the newspaper "Kathimerini".

    "In a democracy, it is the sovereign people who decide what is doable," he said. "Politicians and parties are then obliged to find the most appropriate and democratic path to implement this mandate."

    With respect to the need for a national understanding, Avramopoulos stressed that "partisan polarisation is something we have paid for dearly in this country...We must at least realise that this country, a people of 11 million, faced with ruthless global competition, cannot afford the luxury of being divided. The wager of unity is a wager of survival for our nation."

    It was in this spirit that he had received main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras at the defence ministry, acknowledging his position as fourth in the state hierarchy, and ensuring he was briefed on issues of national security that he must know, Avramopoulos added.

    On the upcoming presidential election, the Commissioner stressed that Greece needed stability and unity above all. He stressed that perhaps the most significant achievement of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his government was in turning around the country's international image in such a short space of time, allowing economic stability and the achievement of sustainable growth.

    "Greece in 2014 is very different from Greece in 2012...We must never forget that our country in 2012 was one step from total economic collapse while the danger of an exit from the Eurozone was visible. In two years, Greece has managed to become a world champion in reforms and regain the trust of our partners and international markets," he said.

    While Greeks were still suffering and their incomes had been drastically cut, they now had to look ahead and the foundations had been laid for an economy that was competitive, would grow sustainably and would not depend on a vicious cycle of a clientelist economy and excessive borrowing, he added.

    Regarding his work in the Commission, he stressed that the aim was not a 'Fortress Europe' to fend off illegal migration but to inactivate those investing in it. He also commented on Turkish provocations against Cyprus, stressing that an investment in tension would not benefit Turkey's European prospects nor the interests of the Atlantic Alliance.

    [02] Kenya's Felix Kandie wins 32nd Athens Marathon

    ANA-MPA -- Kenya's Felix Kandie won the 32nd Athens Authentic Marathon, formerly Classic Marathon, on Sunday, setting a new record for the course at two hours, 10 minutes and 37 seconds. The former record was 2.10.55 held by Stefano Baldini, during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    He was followed by Raymond Bett (2.12.34) and Josphat Kiptanui Too Chobei (2.15.38).

    The winner of the women's race was Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo (2.41.06), with 2013 winner Nancy Joan Rotich coming in second with a time of 2.41.29 and Linah Jerop Chobei third (2.42.41).

    The fastest time among Greek participants in the race was by Christoforos Merousis from Vrontado, Chios who finished first among Greeks for the second consecutive year at two hours, 25 minutes.

    Sofia Riga, 26, from Patras was the first Greek woman, with a time of 2.47.36.

    [03] Vroutsis: IKA set to become 'superfund' as pension reform continues

    ANA-MPA -- Greece's social insurance funds are to undergo further administrative mergers in 2015 in what will be the main thrust of further reforms, turning the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) into a 'superfund', Labour and Social Insurance Minister Yiannis Vroutsis said in an interview published by "Kathimerini on Sunday".

    He explained that a single contribution collection mechanism will be set up for all social insurance funds - which after 2017 will also be linked with tax administration - and a Single Pension Payment Centre.

    With respect to changes in labour relations, he said these would that "only marginal improvements remain to be done".

    On the laws governing trade unions, he said that the 'core' and principles of the legal arsenal "must not be affected" but that certain distortions that were not in step with the needs of the economy would have to be rationalised. He stressed that the abolition of taxes levied on behalf of third parties "was necessary and absolutely logical".

    Vroutsis underlined that the pension funds would retain their financial autonomy and that pensions were not at risk, noting that the systems cash balance had been restored. He said that actuarial inspections will be held in November to confirm that in no year between now and 2060 will there be an increase in pension spending greater than 2.5 pct of GDP, with 2009 as the benchmark year.

    [04] Alt. FinMin sees social dividend in 2015, as long as targets are met

    ANA-MPA -- Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, in an interview with the Sunday edition of "Eleftheros Typos", forecast that a social dividend will be handed out in 2015 as well, as long as targets for achieving a primary surplus were met. He said the size of this dividend will be proportional to the extent that targets concerning the primary deficit are exceeded.

    He announced that back pay and salary raises to uniformed personnel will begin to be paid at the end of the month.

    Staikouras underlined that a policy of surpluses will lead to a gradual reduction in the tax burden on households and businesses and that these will mainly arise from reducing spending, enlarging the economy and fighting the black economy and tax evasion.

    He predicted that the fiscal gap next year will be zero, not the 2.5 billion euros forecast by Greece's lenders.


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