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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-06-12

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Running the Final Mile
  • [02] Curtain Call with Voting
  • [03] "PASOK Will Resist"
  • [04] Alogoskoufis: “Economy Can Be Reset”
  • [05] Derailment or Sabotage?
  • [06] Humanitarian Walk in Athens
  • [07] Tremor on Mt Parnitha
  • [08] Misadventure in Air
  • [09] A Wind of Freedom for Aubenas
  • [10] VAT on Rents Will Not Be Enforced

  • [01] Voting Session in Parliament at Midnight Running the Final Mile

    12 Jun 2005 19:13:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Today, voices were raised during the speeches of PM and top Ministers on the last day of the discussion in Parliament over the confidence vote to the government. The procedure will be completed shortly before midnight, with the speeches of the political party leaders, with the exception of KKE General Secretary, Aleka Papariga, since KKE has withdrawn from the discussion. Shortly after 20:00, President of PASOK, George Papandreou took the stand and used strong language, while accusing the government of tragic mistakes. Mr Papandreous speech caused the immediate intervention of PM Kostas Karamanlis, who stated that he will not go forth with early elections.

    In his speech, President of PASOK, George Papandreou accused the government of tragic mistakes and false dilemmas, which caused the applause of Opposition MPs.

    The President of PASOK said that the government implements false reforms that do not comply with the citizens interest, while he said that the ND policy is based on clientele relations and exchanges that divide the country in groups, according to their interests.

    "We believe that reforms take place only through dialogue," noted Mr Papandreou and stated that cuts, partisanship, lack of political design are not reforms, accusing the government that with its policy undermines the future of the new generation.

    "For us, "blue children" (a reference to ND followers), are also our children," he noted, while speaking to KKE and SYN he called on the progressive powers of the country to a meaningful dialogue for the future of Europe. Also, commenting on KKEs withdrawal he said the discussion in Parliament is not a football game, described Parliament as "an agger of struggles" and called on the left-wing parties to stop the easy depreciation of institutions that as he said only serves the powerful.

    Mr Papandreou made reference to the elections issue saying, "If you confess your failure it is your duty to go forth with elections," while he concluded his speech noting:

    "Beware of ND bearing reforms. We are on by the side of reforms and thus we will vote down the government of New Democracy."

    Mr Papandreous last phrase brought on the immediate intervention of the Prime Minister, who on the subject of elections said "because the President of the Opposition likes to use dictums, there is also the rhyme of the wise people who say dont push your luck."

    Mr Karamanlis continued, saying, "After the many blunders you have committed, you still dont learn," while he described PASOKs references to early elections as bravery, stating: "If you are rushing to lose the elections, we are not rushing to win them."

    OTE and OLP Main Dispute Issues

    A dispute took place between PASOK MP, Christos Protopapas and Ministers of Employment and Mercantile Marine, Panos Panagiotopoulos and Manolis Kefalogiannis on the specific issues.

    "The Minister of Mercantile Marine calls the dockers aristocrats and declares war against them in order to conceal the privatization of the Piraeus Port Organization (OLP) with non-transparent procedures," said Mr Protopapas, which caused the immediate reaction of Mr Kefalogiannis, who asked, "do you support highly paid dockers?" and continued saying that ND will fight against the interests created by a PASOK bill, giving the opportunity to whoever work in ports to receive three wages.

    "An interest with a name hides behind your every move," answered Mr Protopapas, evaluating that companies, which he also named, hide behind the developments in OTE, Emporiki Bank and the freeing of the working hours.

    "You blame the Karamanlis government for non-transparency, when non-transparency carries the name of PASOK," stated Minister of Employment, Panos Panagiotopoulos, adding that the PASOK government burdened the Greek people with 870 million euro deficits of TAP-OTE, to serve its party clientele and gives women a pension after 15 years.

    ND MP, Thodoros Kassimis also made reference to the OTE issue, and said, "it is not the employees fault for the high wages but the ones that gave them the money."

    "I would advice the PM and the rest of the government to not identify with the course of the Minister of Economy. Do not forget that in your last term as government, three Ministers of Economy were changed within three years," stated PASOK MP, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, and added that the ND Ministers of Economy are not "viable" because they follow a policy of dislocation in labour relations, cut of labour rights and ban of collective contracts.

    Mr Tsochatzopoulos also supported that the government "has targeted the rights of workers in the wider Public Sector," and plans to sell-out DEKOs to private interests. In his speech, PASOK MP, Giannis Magriotis said, "if you want, ask for elections," and continued "Wait until 2007, when the people will send you to the seats of the Opposition because you will have completed your governments work."

    Responsibility Falls on PASOK Governments

    Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Nikolaos Tsiartsonis made reference to the problems of northern Greece, blaming PASOK governments of wrong choices and noting "the aim of the new government is for the area to be transformed into an international development center of sciences, research and technology."

    Fani Palli-Petralia also blamed the previous governments over the Ministry of Cultures problems and spoke of debts, overpaid employees, a hostage situation of 5,000 casual employees, while she stated that the Olympic works of the Ministry present an excess of 73.3%.

    Minister of Tourism, Dimitris Avramopoulos described the past 8 years as "a disintegration period of tourist economy," and also spoke of a collapse of EOT and non-transparency in the management of public tourist assets.

    Former SYN President, Nikos Konstantopoulos described the motion of censure and the confidence vote as an operation of the Opposition and the government, noting that the result of the three-day discussion in Parliament was "the consensual start between the two parties in the materialization of a defensive new-liberal policy."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Curtain Call with Voting

    Parliamentarian Clashes

    Clashes and Disputes

    Related Links:

    Greek Parliament

    [02] MPs and Top Ministers Take the Stand Curtain Call with Voting

    12 Jun 2005 12:20:00 (Last updated: 12 Jun 2005 19:52:48)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET - NET 105.8

    The curtain call for the three-day discussion in Parliament concerning the vote of confidence to the Government will take place shortly after Sunday midnight with an open nominal voting session. The discussion opened late Sunday morning and although a three-hour intermission had been originally scheduled for 15:00, the number of parliamentarians who wished to take the stand was so big that the discussion will continue nonstop until late tonight. Many Parliamentarians and Ministers have already talked, while top Ministers, including former PM Kostas Simitis, are expected to talk in the afternoon. The procedure will be completed with political leaders speeches, apart from Mrs Papariga, since KKE walked out of the discussion, while Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis will be the last to take the stand. So far the largest part of the discussion has been held in a tense atmosphere with harsh disputes.

    Clashes Between Venizelos-Polydoras

    The clashes between ND MP Vyronas Polydoras and Evangelos Venizelos prevailed in the Parliament's morning session.

    The PASOK MP accused the government of proceeding with 'deforms' rather than reforms and stressed that the Prime Minister resembled Luther, however, "his zeal for reforms turns against the middle class." He also urged the government to state if it has drawn up a study on social security and if it intends to tear down the labour sector. Mr Venizelos also accused the government of planning to sell off OTE at a bargain price.

    Vyronas Polydoras gave a tough answer, saying the government will put an end to the corruption of previous years. Mr Polydoras also referred to the 27 trillion drachmas in deficit the Government received and also spoke of deals with the contractors.

    Shipping Supports the Economy

    The dock workers strike was at the focus of Mercantile Marine Minister Manolis Kefalogiannis' speech, while he spoke of wages that even reach 140,000 euros annually. "Those who protest get paid up to 560 euros per day," underlined Mr Kefalogiannis, further adding that dock workers are paid more money than the President of the Republic.

    He also stressed that Greek Shipping is the most important support for the Economy and stated, "This year alone Shipping will bring 17 billion dollars, even more than tourism."

    Vote of Confidence for PASOK

    In the meantime, Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras launched a severe attack against George Papandreou, stressing, A discussion for a vote of confidence to the leader of the Opposition, who is being doubted by even members of his party, would have been more logical, rather that for the Prime Minister, who is supported by the majority of the Greeks. Actually, Mr Papaligouras noted that through the opinion polls, the people do not judge the Government, but the Opposition for its stances.

    He also described the situation that ND took over in the area of Justice as dismal, while he warned, We are safeguarding the area of Justice, in which no corrupt judges have a place, however high in the echelon they are.

    PASOK Ready to Assume Responsibilities

    In the meantime, renewed tension was created when PASOK MP Giannos Papantoniou took the stand.

    Will you be implementing new tax measurers, ie in fuel? If you fail to answer by the end of today, naturally the people will say that new tax measures are imminent, said Mr Papantoniou addressing the leadership of the Economy and Finance Ministry, while at the same time defending the policies of the PASOK governments. Is a Prime Minister who states that the living conditions of the Greeks have been stagnant since 1980 serious? wondered Mr Papantoniou, underlining, History cannot be written by forgers. As a matter of fact, he stressed that PASOK is prepared to assume to the responsibility of governing the country once again, in order to reinstate stability and credibility in economic policy.

    However, his comment regarding forgers prompted the reaction of Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, who referred to the pleas of PASOK MP Charis Kastanidis that political comments should remain descent.

    PASOK MP for Chania, Nikos Christodiulakis, who commented on the theory about setting the clock from the start, said What does ND want to start from the beginning? The work that it produced over the last few months? In any way, it is close to zero, while he added, It just needed a chance to nullify PASOKs work, since it is NDs main opponent and what it compares itself to.

    Related News:

    Parliamentarian Clashes

    Clashes and Disputes

    [03] Harsh Criticism by G Papandreou "PASOK Will Resist"

    12 Jun 2005 16:58:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: ANA- NET 105.8

    President of PASOK, Giorgos Papandreou, in his speech at the Piraeus and South Aegean Islands Regional Conference, in the Piraeus Port Organization (OLP), spoke of a bad government led by Kostas Karamanlis, adding that the myth of "an above all PM" and bad Ministers, has collapsed. "It is PASOKs duty to not allow the government of ND to sweep the country in its downhill route," noted Mr Papandreou adding that PASOK will fight and resist in order to overthrow the political scene and for Greece to move forth. In his speech, the President of the party referred extensively to the internal affairs of PASOK, while he sent out the message that personal aspirations, which are just, should not lead to small domains that weaken the partys power.

    "If you are fragmented you will not be able to fight strong interests, as the strong will enforce themselves on you," stated Mr Papandreou and added "we are not on the side of any establishment, we are on the side of the Greek citizen," while he compared the government program of ND with "simple accounts of grocery stores," and described it as a fraud and a sham.

    The President of PASOK answered to whoever accuses the party of not having a direction, saying that the direction of the party exists since 1979 and its founding, while making reference to the Consultation Authority that PASOK is establishing, and noted that from this procedure a new PASOK government program will emerge, which will be "the program of the people."

    Also, Mr Papandreou mentioned the need for transparency in the finance of the party and self-containing finance, on which he stated "when it is not available, it is easy to yield to compromises and funding."

    In relation to the different views expressed from the internal of the party, Mr Papandreou said that he respects them, but the dialogue has to take place in the context of the partys bodies and not on television.

    In closing, he made reference to the changes that have taken place in the internal of PASOK, stating as an example the renewal of the local and regional bodies.

    Harsh Answer from Rousopoulos

    "Mr Papandreou, when speaking of downhill road and myths that are collapsing, pictures himself and his partys members," stated Minister of State, Thodoros Rousopoulos, commenting on Mr Papandreous speech, and continued by saying that the chapter of trust of the Greek people to the government is "the basis on which it goes forth in reforms and changes that are necessary for the country and demanded by the citizens for a better future."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    G Papandreou Makes Harsh Criticism

    [04] Economy Ministers Interview Alogoskoufis: Economy Can Be Reset

    12 Jun 2005 16:00:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: "Kathimerini tis Kyriakis"

    In an interview he gave to the newspaper Kathimerini tis Kyriakis, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis appeared optimistic and certain that the changes and reforms promoted by the Government would be implemented. Mr Alogoskoufis pointed out that the government policy aims at converging the labour conditions between the private and public sectors, as well as establishing an effective State. Furthermore, the Economy Minister referred to all the current affairs in the Economy, including denationalisations, collaborations between the public and private sectors, the issue with social security and the fiscal inventory. He further estimated that the Government has the ability to reset the Economy with consistency and persistency.

    "PASOKs Motion of Censure Untimely"

    Mr Alogoskoufios described the motion of censure by George Papandreou as an attempt to make an impression, which, however, was untimely both in a political as well as in a parliamentary sense. He further added, I am saddened that the leader of the Opposition [] has opted for aggravations, without any stances, proposals or solutions.

    We are aiming at changing everything that has kept Greece back over the last few years, stressed Mr Alogoskoufis, referring to the restructuring of the Economy and the State, while he added that most of the reforms relate to the public sector and aim at combating extravagant expenditures and dealing with the gaps in social security. Everyone agrees that the social security system needs cleansing, said Mr Alogoskoufis, pointing out that the Governments target is to safeguard the social security promises in the future and to deal with the inequalities within the system. In addition, referring to the cleansing moves within OTE, he described them as the best possible example, while he announced that similar examples would follow for other DEKOs as well.

    Aiming at Effective Economy

    The Government aims at the gradual convergence of the labour conditions between the private and public sectors; dealing with the inequalities within the social security system; and settling the working hours and overtime pays in the best possible way. As per Mr Alogoskoufis, these would lead to an effective Economy with high growth rates.

    Collaborations do not affect the social role of the State, but on the other hand, they benefit citizens, as infrastructure is completed with the least possible fiscal cost, quickly and effectively, noted Mr Alogoskoufis. Furthermore, referring to the matter of a mild adjustment, he stressed, We are moving steadily. We know where we are going.

    The fiscal inventory was completed in the best possible way, he repeated, while he voiced the opinion that everyone believes so.

    Answering in a relevant question concerning the denationalisations, Mr Alogoskoufis clarified that they are proceeding with careful planning, at the right time and with full transparency, to the advantage of the Public sector and the taxpayers.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [05] Fifteen Injured Derailment or Sabotage?

    12 Jun 2005 13:35:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Russian authorities are worried over an explosion that occurred in the railroad near Moscow and which resulted in the derailment of a high velocity train carrying almost 270 passengers from Grozny to Moscow. Because of the derailment, fifteen people were slightly injured, including an 11-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy. As per the Russian security authorities, there are indications that an unknown man was expecting for the train to pass and then triggered an explosive mechanism that damaged the tracks and caused the train to derail. Police have already started preliminary hearings to investigate the eventuality of a sabotage.

    Statements for the Explosion

    As the Russian security services announced, "according to the driver's statement, there was an explosion on the tracks right in front of the train's engine."

    What is more, as the Russian news agency Interfax broadcast, authorities discovered a big hole on the tracks that was apparently caused by the blast, as well as electric wires connecting the right part of the track to a bolt nearby, which perpetrators could have used as the train approached.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [06] For Children Suffering from Hunger Humanitarian Walk in Athens

    12 Jun 2005 18:48:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    With fellow feeling as a motive, in the morning, hundreds of Athenians took a walk underneath the Acropolis, at the Dionisiou Aeropagitou footwalk. The target of this effort was sensitizing the citizens, in order to collect funds for the hunger relief of 300 million children around the world. Specifically, the walk was taken in the context of the International Initiative of the UN World Food Programme (WPF). At the same time, walks are being taken in 85 countries and 275 cities in order for the organizations of the World Hunger Relief to be financed.

    In Zappeion, a large WFP money bank was set up for the collection of money. Last year, the humanitarian organization had collected 7,500,000 euros, while this years target is to collect more than 10 million euros.

    The walk was broadcast by three satellite channels, and thus Greece was linked with the rest of the capitals and cities, that are sensitizing over the childrens hunger and malnutrition issue.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] 3.7 Magnitude Tremor on Mt Parnitha

    12 Jun 2005 15:31:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    A light seismic activity, measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, was reported on Sunday morning at 03:20 on Mount Parnitha, Athens. There have been no reports on damages or victims.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [08] Landed Without a Problem Misadventure in Air

    12 Jun 2005 13:53:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET- NET 105.8

    An Aegean aircraft with 36 passengers, which had taken off en route to Chania, when an engine problem occurred, landed without a problem in Eleftherios Venizelos Airport. Initially it was thought that the damage was caused by a bird in the engine, but first information speak of a technical problem. The aircraft was forced to return to the Athens airport. The passengers will be transferred to their destination with afternoon flights.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [09] A Wind of Freedom for Aubenas

    12 Jun 2005 13:05:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    After five months of being held hostage in the hands of kidnappers in Iraq, French reporter Florence Aubenas has released on Sunday morning and is expected to arrive back home late in the afternoon, at the airport of Villacoublay in Paris. The reporters Iraqi driver, who had been abducted with her on January 5 in Baghdad, was also released but will remain in the Iraqi capital, where his family is. In the meantime, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy will travel to Cyprus and welcome the reporter there. As the Liberation newspaper reported, Aubenas is well but no further information has been given regarding the conditions of her release.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] Government Denies Relative Articles VAT on Rents Will Not Be Enforced

    12 Jun 2005 17:19:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    The Ministry of Economy gave out an announcement in which it strongly denies Press articles that speak of VAT being added to rents. "The government will not add VAT to rents," is stated in the relative announcement and it is explained that Mr Alogoskoufis "has never asked for a proposal on the issue from the Ministrys services." The aforementioned articles are credited to a leak of information by the Opposition, in order to base its "insubstantial arguments" that have been vitiated during the last two days in Parliament. The announcement concludes: "Once again, the Opposition irresponsibly worries the citizens with alarmism scenarios."

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related Links:

    Ministry of Economy and Finance

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