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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Moscovici announces visit to Athens, urges 'comprehensive agreement' including Greek debt
  • [02] New Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas takes over Telecoms and Post portfolio
  • [03] Top priority to tax evasion and illegal trade, new Deputy Finance Minister Katerina Papanatsiou says
  • [04] When the Church asks and achieves the removal of a minister then things are difficult, says outgoing Education Min Filis

  • [01] Moscovici announces visit to Athens, urges 'comprehensive agreement' including Greek debt

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ C. Vasilaki) Arriving for a Eurogroup meeting on Monday, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici announced that he will visit Athens before the end of November, in order to "ensure that we have success in our collective discussions" to conclude the second review of the Greek bailout programme.

    Moscovici went on to express hope that the Eurogroup will arrive at a comprehensive agreement that includes decisions on the sustainability of Greece debt before the end of the year, in addition to the second review.

    The Commissioner said that he will brief Monday's Eurogroup on the progress of the talks in Athens following the first round of talks between Greek authorities and the missions from the institutions. He noted that there was significant progress, which was encouraging for a quick conclusion of the second review.

    "Now that the Greek authorities are undertaking their responsibilities, it is important that Greece's partners do the same," the Commissioner added. He pointed out that the Eurogroup's decision last May included a commitment to discuss the Greek debt before the end of the year. This could be done at the Eurogroup meeting in December, he said.

    "We need a comprehensive agreement that will include the reforms that are already being implemented, the recovery that is on the way and the debt. I hope that all this will be discussed before the end of the year," he added.

    Questioned about the recent government reshuffle in Greece, Moscovici said he was happy that Euclid Tsakalotos remained in the finance ministry, saying he was a "very credible and positive interlocutor". He said he will meet the new members of the Greek government in Athens, expressing his conviction that the good cooperation will continue.

    [02] New Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas takes over Telecoms and Post portfolio

    The head of the newly-formed Ministry of Digital Policy, Media and Telecommunications, Nikos Pappas, on Monday took over the Telecommunications and Post portfolio from fellow cabinet minister Christos Spirtzis, who retains the Infrastructure and Transport portfolios.

    Spirtzis noted that the transfer of the telecommunications and post secretariat "will mark the transition from the recessionary period we are experiencing to times of growth."

    Pappas said it was crucial to make a fundamental change, giving priority to the coordination and unification of digital and telecommunications policy, "which we believe will be the driver of new growth, which will make the country a leading player and more democratic."

    If Greece was able to overcome the obstacles, he added, it would open up the information "superhighway" for all Greeks, since everyone had a right to equal and unobstructed access to information. He also criticised previous governments for failing to exploit the comparative advantages offered by Greece's geographic location and its "enviable human resources". Greece was capable of becoming a trade and telecommunications hub, he added, but needed modern, reliable and extensive networks to achieve this.

    Commenting on the recent reshuffle, Pappas rejected opposition criticism as self-contradictory "but fully compatible with the opposition parties' discredited theory that it was pointless and impossible to negotiate [with the creditors]. This theory was also the policy they followed, for as long as they governed the country during the years of crisis."

    "We have a government that can lead the country in the next steps and, as the prime minister said, it is now time for the other side in the negotiations to do what they must on the basis of the commitments they have undertaken." Disagreements between the creditors should not be allowed to delay Greece's absolutely attainable and necessary leap forward to growth, he added.

    [03] Top priority to tax evasion and illegal trade, new Deputy Finance Minister Katerina Papanatsiou says

    Taking over from former Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis on Monday, newly appointed Deputy Finance Minister Katerina Papanatsiou said her priorities will be action against tax evasion and illegal trade, legislation to promote electronic over cash transactions and voluntary disclosure of income.

    According to the new deputy minister, her main goal will be the implementation of policies that improve people's daily lives.

    She praised the work of her predecessor and said she will continue to build upon it in the above areas.

    Alexiadis, referring to his time at the ministry, particularly focused on the success in generating public revenues that were higher than the 2016 budget targets by 2.3 billion euros, noting that this was a feat unprecedented in the ministry's chronicles.

    [04] When the Church asks and achieves the removal of a minister then things are difficult, says outgoing Education Min Filis

    The question for my removal bothers every democratic citizen, stated outgoing Education Minister Nikos Filis during the handing over ceremony at the Education Minister. He said that the prime minister did not point out any problems in the operation of the Education Ministry, however "the excellent mark in one and half month was turned into a non-passing grade" he said adding that "these questions do not have a convincing explanation and the proposal for change of environment can't be accepted".

    We worked hard in the last 13 months and now its time to leave...in a few months, despite the harsh austerity, we proceed to the school of quality," he added and urged the new authority to embrace the ministry's programme for the children refugees.

    "Filis accused the opposition parties that they instigated his removal adding that when the church asks and achieves the removal of a minister then things are very difficult". He noted that the church's stance against him is indicative of the need to redefine the relations between the church and the state ahead of the constitiution review.

    Filis accused the leadership of Church of Greece for a change of stance in a series of matters and the adoption of an agenda that sends the country to the past and calls into question the political system.


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