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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-03-10

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras meets with OECD sec general Gurria
  • [02] EU Commissioner Avramopoulos: We must open a safe and legal window to refugees
  • [03] Greece is in Brussels to claim a united Europe, says Alt. Migration Minister Mouzalas
  • [04] 41,973 refugees currently in Greece; 12,000 at Idomeni camp
  • [05] Greece needs to recover growth to address economic and social challenges, OECD survey

  • [01] PM Tsipras meets with OECD sec general Gurria

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras received on Thursday OECD secretary general Angel Gurria.

    Tsipras said that Gurria is in Athens at a very crucial moment and underlined: "We have the economic crisis that tends to come to an end and in parallel we have the refugees crisis" he said and expressed the hope all these to end in the best possible way.

    On his part Gurria called the time of his visit to Greece crucial adding that they at OECD are very happy that they can support the Greek government's reforms programme. He also stressed that a lot of work is needed and a series of issues are still pending in order this programme to be implemented, however, the government is dealing with the pending issues very effectively.

    [02] EU Commissioner Avramopoulos: We must open a safe and legal window to refugees

    We must discuss what we can do together to face the humanitarian crisis in Greece since there is danger to turn into a humanitarian disaster, stated European Commissioner For Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos upon his arrival to the EU Interior Ministers Summit held on Thursday in Brussels

    Avramopoulos noted that the work must continue in order a higher number of relocations to be reached.

    He also underlined that if we really want to stop the illegal migration from the back door, we must open a 'safe and legal window" to the migrants otherwise the ruthless traffickers will try to find new routes.

    [03] Greece is in Brussels to claim a united Europe, says Alt. Migration Minister Mouzalas

    Greece is here today to claim a united Europe where the decisions will try to find solutions, united not unilaterally" stated Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas upon his arrival to the EU Interior Ministers Summit in Brussels on Thursday.

    Mouzalas said that Greece is in Brussels to claim the implementation of the previous Summit's decision that tries to give a European solution to the refugees problem "Visegrad counties and Austria's unilateral actions inflated the problem" he said adding that "we appeal to the European Union and to its founding and basic principles. Solidarity and responsibility"

    Finally, Mouzalas said that Greece requests the immediate activation of the EU-Turkey action plan, the immediate activation of the readmissions from Turkey and the state-members commitment in the relocation and readmission. "We believe in United Europe and we claim single action" concluded Mouzalas.

    [04] 41,973 refugees currently in Greece; 12,000 at Idomeni camp

    Approximately 41,973 refugees are currently in Greece, according to the Refugees Crisis Management Coordination body figures released on Thursday.

    9,428 of then are on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kastellorizo, Kos, Leros and Kalymnos. 9,623 are hosted in the region of Attica.

    The refugees at Idomeni camp (Greek-Fyrom buffer zone) are approximately 12,000 refugees.

    The new arrivals in the last 24 hours reached 2,373.

    [05] Greece needs to recover growth to address economic and social challenges, OECD survey

    Boosting economic growth and investment to create jobs, improving the stability of public finances and providing an effective social safety net are crucial to help Greece recover from the profound social costs of the economic crisis, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its latest report.

    The Paris-based organization in its economic survey of Greece said that poverty has risen since the crisis to reach one third of the population. Tackling poverty and inequality must be urgent policy priorities, it added.

    The survey sees the recovery strengthening in 2017 as ongoing reforms and external demand benefit investment and jobs. It stresses that successful negotiations to address public debt sustainability are critical to improve the outlook. However, major risks remain. Not only could the credit crunch continue to undermine domestic demand but weak activity could be compounded by a slowdown in global trade and softer growth in the rest of the Euro area, the destination of a third of Greek exports. The survey added that the refugee crisis could pose major problems for the Greek economy, particularly if the EU contribution turns out to be insufficient. Preliminary estimates put the cost of the influx of refugees at around 0.4% of GDP in 2015.

    Presenting the survey in Athens, OECD Secretary-General Angel GurrĂ­a said: "Greece has gone through a painful adjustment and it's still facing a challenging economic and social outlook. Thus the country needs to recover growth to address such challenges. Reforms are starting to bear fruit, it is now essential to improve implementation, increase Greek "ownership" and focus efforts on both social well being and competitiveness. The OECD will continue to stand by the Greek Government, providing expertise and support to help Greece promote more inclusive and sustainable growth."

    Resources will need to be reallocated from savings generated elsewhere, such as from pensions, defence or improvements in tax collection, according to the survey. The pension reform should focus on better aligning contributions and benefits, reducing special regimes and alleviating the burden on the most vulnerable.

    More investment, for instance in infrastructure and logistics, would support exports which are essential to a sustained recovery. Liberalising further the network industries would also give the quality and quantity of investments a boost. EU structural funds should be used more effectively to increase investment in education, research, and innovation, as well as in information and communication technology to help improve skills.

    The report said the adjustment process has so far depended too heavily on fiscal measures and labour markets while not enough progress has been made on product market reforms. Product market reforms, introduced since the crisis, have advanced only slowly, and have been undermined by weak implementation and largely left monopoly power in place. Enhancing administrative capacity, stronger ownership of the policy changes and clear communication about the expected benefits to the general public, would improve the effectiveness of the new reform programme.

    Tax evasion remains widespread in Greece, thus reducing revenues needed to support social policies. The OECD calls for a broadening of the tax base while the tax administration should be strengthened and given more autonomy, allowing it to free up resources for audits and improved enforcement.

    Weak economic growth and bank recapitalisation needs have pushed up Greece's already high public debt.


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