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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-13

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] President Pavlopoulos: 'Without a welfare state, democracy cannot exist'
  • [02] Voutsis to ANA: Television licences tender can now be held in a few months
  • [03] Shipping minister to ANA: Achieving 'blue growth' now the major challenge

  • [01] President Pavlopoulos: 'Without a welfare state, democracy cannot exist'

    One of the biggest reforms linked to U.S. President Barack Obama, due in Athens in two days time, were the efforts to restore the welfare state in the United States, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Sunday. Conversely, one of the gravest dangers now facing Greece, Europe and the entire world was a collapse of the welfare state and a rise in inequality, he added.

    "Without a welfare state, democracy cannot exist," Pavlopoulos said, speaking at a dinner given in his honour at Nea Potidea, Chalkidiki to commemorate the Kassandra Massacre in 1821. "In order for a state to be democratic, the first thing it must achieve is the equal treatment of its citizens and support of its society. Without this, democracy and especially representative democracy cannot exist."

    "The gravest danger that exists today is the collapse of the welfare state. We see this not just in our own country, in the tribulations of our own people and the crisis that has arisen. We see it in Europe, because we must remember that the Fascist and Nazi groups that are growing chiefly arise because there is an increase in inequality and a danger that the social fabric will be rent," he said.

    Pavlopoulos was also careful to distinguish between a strong welfare state and statism, noting that the two were not one and the same.

    "I say this to all those that consider that the presence of the state should not be so vivid. I agree that statism is a real scourge but only statism in the form that we knew it. Statism does not include the welfare state. The welfare state is an obligation of the state under the Constitution, not just in Greece but also in Europe and throughout the world," he said.

    [02] Voutsis to ANA: Television licences tender can now be held in a few months

    The breakthrough achieved in forming a National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV) was especially significant, Parliament President Nikos Voutsis said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) published on Sunday, while noting that it marked a historic 'first' for Greece.

    "To begin with, it is of special significance that the 5th constitutionally established independent authority was formed; in other words, it was possible for all five Authorities to be formed from scratch - and this has never happened in the past," he said.

    The positive side of the long delay in forming the new authority, he added, was that the new NCRTV would not be starting from scratch but could build on the lengthy discussions, the work already done and the experience thus gained in order to hold a tender that would finally regulate the television landscape within a few months time.

    "It is possible to very quickly...in a few months perhaps, to conduct the tender process and to regulate and control the sector with regard to the licences of the major, nationally broadcasting television stations," he said. Another of the legacies of the delay would also be the discussion on the number of such licences, which Voutsis said should be greater than the four originally decided on by the government "but I hope and am sure will not be excessively greater."

    "All this will be discussed again when the NCRTV shapes its own strategy on this issue. We said clearly that obviously we can go to a higher number than the four licences and also that this issue cannot be allowed to become overly stretched, with some views calling for 10, 12, 16 and more on the basis of what the digital spectrum can fit....With the given advertising 'pie' and in the midst of the crisis, I believe it is too risky for too many to come and seek licences in the new television sector. But we do not want to anticipate a discussion that, on the basis of what we have voted for and what we have public pledged to do, will chiefly be held within the NCRTV," he said.

    The political discussion in Parliament had also covered issues such as the technical support and staff that the authority will need to carry out the tender and the others that will follow, for radio, regional television channels and others, as well as its day-to-day supervisory role.

    Voutsis praised the stance of the government, the prime minister and the new Digital Policy, Communications and Media Minister Nikos Pappas in pledging to provide swift support for the NCRTV so that it can achieve results.

    Regarding those saying that the ruling majority had been "forced into retreat" on this issue, he pointed out that forming the authority was the duty of the state under the Constitution. He praised the stance adopted by the lesser opposition parties, such as PASOK and Potami, but was strongly critical of the stance adopted by main opposition New Democracy on this issue.

    "The NCRTV had delayed a lot and the dictate of the Constitution - because it is a dictate and not a suggestion - to the parties and the political system was clear: to reach a four-fifths majority so that independent authorities can be formed," he said.

    [03] Shipping minister to ANA: Achieving 'blue growth' now the major challenge

    The major challenge that Greece now faces is that of achieving "blue growth" and exploiting the potential of generating weath from the sea, Greece's new Shipping and Island Policy Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) published on Sunday.

    "The sea can once more prove to be the touchstone that extricates all Greeks from its stagnation, provided that we can get together behind a vision that energises and motivates the country's efforts," Kouroumblis said.

    The minister said he had adapted to his new ministry very quickly and was prepared to build on the work of his predecessor Thodoris Dritsas, whom he described as "an exceptional man who has made an exceptional effort."

    "Now this effort will acquire a bolder interventionism," he added, while indicating his willingness to work together with ship owners.

    "I want Greek ship owners to be the modern Epirote benefactors and, on the other hand, for them to recognise the important role of labour on the ship and the important presence of Greek seamen," he said.

    Kouroumblis said that a first meeting with Greek ship owners was held in London "and I think they were very excited by our discussion when they left." He said the ministry was taking the first steps to cut down on bureaucratic problems that troubled the shipping sector abroad and was thus making a new start toward dynamic changes.


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