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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 06-02-01

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek Basketball to the 16
  • [02] Positive Signs for the Economy
  • [03] Raises for 2006
  • [04] Papandreou's Harsh Criticism
  • [05] 21st POSPERT Conference Begins
  • [06] Bourboulia Denies Accusations
  • [07] Tehran Will Not Back Down
  • [08] Hamas Goes Adamant
  • [09] Banks to Go on Strike
  • [10] Three Points for Levadiakos
  • [11] Passion Dies Down Chemically
  • [12] Emergency Drills Over Bird Flu
  • [13] New CAP to Be Implemented
  • [14] Congrats to the Greek Port Authority
  • [15] Focus on New Technologies

  • [01] Greek Basketball to the 16

    01 Feb 2006 22:30:00

    By Ilias Papaioannou

    The eternal rivals, Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, triumphantly qualified hand-in-hand to the Euroleague quarterfinals tonight, since they both defeated their opponents in their respective groups, during Game 13. In its 100th game for the Euroleague, Panathinaikos put in a great performance in front of 10,000 of its fans in OAKA and crushed Frances Pau-Orthez with 94-62. This victory ensured a spot in the top 16 of the event for the team. On the other hand, playing in the Peace and Friendship Stadium, Olympiacos was looking for a 13-point victory against Cibona, but under the cheers of its 7,500 fans, it eventually defeated the guests by 99-70, securing the fifth place in its group.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [02] Positive Signs for the Economy

    01 Feb 2006 21:26:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET - ANA

    "We are continuing with consistency and determination, knowing that todays decisions will lead to a better tomorrow for everyone," stressed Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis on Wednesday, while speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the exhibition on Greek banknotes, organised by the Bank of Greece. In his brief speech, Mr Karamanlis referred to the significance of the exhibition, providing a short account of the historic landmarks of the Greek Economy and mentioning the monetary stability enjoyed by the country today, thanks to its participation in the euro. "Today, Greece is co-shaping the European monetary policy. [] We are actively participating in the mapping of our continents common future and we are asserting an even more energetic role in the future," said the PM, who added that the participation in the euro carried certain obligations concerning the countrys fiscal figures. Then, Mr Karamanlis referred to the Governments economic policy on reducing the deficits and the public debt, saying that it has already started yielding "tangible results."

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [03] 3% in Wages and 4% in Pensions Raises for 2006

    01 Feb 2006 19:32:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    As announced by the Greek Economy Ministry, the increases in the 2006 revenue policy are close to the Economys endurance levels and just a bit lower than the estimated inflation rate. Specifically, the wages of employees in the public sector and the local self-governments, and the officers of the Armed and Security Forces will increase by 3%. This amount will include the years of service credit, which comes to 1.1%. The public sector pensions will increase by 4%, while OGA and EKAS pensioners will receive 7% raises, which is higher than the inflation. Military pensions will increase by 6.5% due to the fourth instalment for holding positions of responsibility, or the 176-euro benefit per case, as well as other benefits. In addition, the July pension (to be paid on 26 June) will include the first instalment of LAFKA (Social Insurance Organisations Solidarity Account) back payments. The raises will burden the Budget by 761 million euros, while the total appropriation will come to 23 billion euros.

    Reactions from Opposition and GSEE

    "Being loyal to its anti-populist policy and neo-liberal recipes, the Government is proceeding with a redistribution of the revenue from the many to the few, aggravating social inequalities, and disbanding labour relations and social cohesion," commented PASOKs section head for Economy, Vaso Papandreou. In addition, Ms Papandreou spoke of "unprecedented deceit of pensioners," noting that the pre-election pledges about increasing OGA pensions to 320 euros and EKAS to 230 euros were converted to 15 and 10.5-euros raises respectively for the second year running.

    "Once again, we are becoming spectators in the theatre of the absurd, starring the same faces who have been deceiving the Greek people for years, hiding real deficits and debts, and granting raises above the inflation rate for a number of years," responded the Economy Ministry, speaking of efforts by PASOK members to create impressions. At the same time, the Ministry pointed out that the largest possible increases were granted, so that the wages and pensions will converge to the European average in the next few years, while EKAS and OGA pensions will reach 230 and 330 euros respectively by 2008.

    Panagiotis Lafazanis, member of SYNs Political Secretariat, spoke of raises that "inaugurate a new era of savage one-sided austerity," claiming that wage earners will be burdened with most of the taxes, and pensioners will be led to hunger and poverty, while the OGA raises and LAFKA are proving the Governments pre-election pledges wrong.

    GSEE (Greek General Confederation of Labour) harshly criticised the announcements, speaking of "provocation and deception for the employees and pensioners," while it accused the Government of forgetting its pre-election pledges concerning protection, of income and called on the employees and the pensioners to unite in the struggle.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [04] PASOK's Coordinators Convene Papandreou's Harsh Criticism

    01 Feb 2006 14:46:00 (Last updated: 01 Feb 2006 17:57:24)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET, ANA

    While addressing the meeting of PASOKs coordinators, its leader George Papandreou described the refusal of the banks to discuss with the Hellenic Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) as a return to the Middle Ages. Mr Papandreou lashed out at the government with regard to the developments in the banking sector, noting that the government has appointed the governing boards of the banks, while he spoke of corruption phenomena, underlining that ND reduces itself to building up pointless scenarios on the issue of cabinet reshuffle. Furthermore, the Main Opposition leader described the denial of the banks as an attack that undermines key democratic rights, including that of collective negotiations. The PASOK leader argued that Mr Karamanlis government lies behind this attack, adding that such a move clears the way for the private sector.

    Attacking the Government

    George Papandreou further accused the government of being unwilling and unable to keep up with the developments, arguing, "We witness stolen military vehicles and undisturbed robbers. Crises are dealt with communications ploy, islands are snowbound and Ministers in nervous breakdown."

    Furthermore, the PASOK President claimed that the only policy the government has been applying for the past two years is that of attacking the average and poor Greek citizen, belittling the unionist movement and curtailing the rights of the working class.

    Referring on yesterdays assault against the President of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE), he pointed out that Mr Polyzogopoulos "fell prey to a brutal assault mounted by people who hold fascist vies tight and are encouraged by the polarity climate the government has been nourishing.

    Antonaros' Response

    On his part, Deputy government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros pointed out that the government does not intervene with the collective negotiations, since they fall under the jurisdiction of the social partners. He further noted, "PASOK had better focus on what it failed to do while in office and on the omissions of its administration. Let it leave the Greek people judge the governments reforms."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [05] Representatives from all Parties Present 21st POSPERT Conference Begins

    01 Feb 2006 22:15:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: NET

    The two-day proceedings of the 21st POSPERT (National Federation of Radio and Television Company Staff Unions) conference, which will record all of the sectors pending labour and union matters, commenced on Wednesday morning. The main topic of the conference is the role of Public Television in a competitive market, without it deviating from its social mission and the quality services offered to viewers. In his speech, State Minister Theodoros Roussopoulos said that the Greeks trust the Public Television and ask that it demonstrates its quality, while he also referred to the new era, which commenced with digital television. Mr Roussopoulos also mentioned the ERT contract workers who gained permanent status, a fact which, as he stated, proved that the Government does not view employees as numbers. ERT President Christos Panagopoulos spoke of the significant steps taken by the Public Radio and Television in the year that passed, as well as the managements plans for 2006.

    In their speeches, the party representatives stressed that ERT has to remain consistent towards its social mission, while POSPERT President Sifis Kakavoulis referred to the need for producing quality programmes, adjusted to the societys needs.

    PASOKs representative, Tilemachos Chytiris, made an appeal to ERT to stay impartial to party disputes and interventions, and remain a guardian of democracy and culture.

    KKE MP Vera Nikolopoulou referred to the promotion of new forms of labour relations, both in private and public radio and television, comparing the deterioration in labour relations to the deterioration in the quality in news.

    Finally, SYNs spokesperson, Nikos Voutsis, voiced his partys "extremely reserved stance" towards the bill promoted by the government concerning the concentration of Media and the licences for radio and television networks.

    The proceedings of the conference will conclude on Thursday with the elections for POSPERTs new Board of Directors.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    21st POSPERT Conference

    [06] French Justice to Rule in a Week Bourboulia Denies Accusations

    01 Feb 2006 19:40:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Konstantina Bourboulia appeared before the Paris Appellate Court on Wednesday. The former examiner, who does not want to be extradited, threatened to proceed with disclosures in case she is extradited to Greece and claimed she would not stand a fair trial back home. At the same time, she supported she never received a subpoena to testify and that Greek judicial authorities had told her she could testify by simply submitting a memo. According to information, the French court prosecutor asked for some additional documents by the Greek Public Sector councilor regarding Bourboulias case, while the French Appellate Court is expected to rule next Wednesday. Following these latest developments, it estimated that Bourboulias extradition could take longer than expected.

    She Threatens with Disclosures

    According to information, the former examiner claimed she was never a fugitive and asked for another date to testify because she was in Paris at the time she was called to testify. Greek authorities had then told her that her physical presence was not necessary and that she could submit a memo through her lawyer.

    At the same time, she also said she arrived in France on 10 September, having issue a return ticket for 21 September, thus proving she intended to come back. However, her arrest warrant was issued in the meanwhile through the media, thus preventing her from returning.

    "It was announced on the media as if someone was telling me not come back. I decided to remain in Paris and waited to receive the subpoena at my house in Athens before returning. It is first and foremost an issue of dignity to restore my name, which has been marred for political expediency," underlined Mrs Bourboulia, adding she does not wish to be extradited to Greece. She also stressed that if she does not stand a fair trial in Greece, she will proceed with disclosures in order to defend her name.

    Regarding the Bourboulia case, Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras noted on Tuesday, "the Greek State is the position to guarantee the safety of all prisoners, as well as their right to a fair trial. It is self-evident that the same principles apply in Mrs Bourboulia's case."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Awaiting the Decision

    [07] After Being Referred to the Security Council Tehran Will Not Back Down

    01 Feb 2006 16:43:00 (Last updated: 01 Feb 2006 21:25:18)

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad harshly reacted to yesterdays decision, made by the Security Councils five permanent members (China, Russia, USA, France and Great Britain), asking the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to refer Tehran and its nuclear programme to the United Nations. The IAEA will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday and Friday to make its final decision on the matter. "Iran will resist until fully achieving its rights," underlined the Iranian president, adding he would drag the US President to a peoples court and convict him for the crimes he has committed. On his part, Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar warned that Tehran would answer back immediately and in a catastrophic way to any attack against its nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, international pressure continues to increase.

    International Pressure Increases

    Speaking to "Le Parisien," head of French diplomacy Philippe Douste-Blazy said imposing sanctions to Iran is understandable, adding that the Security Council could make that decision in March. "Iran is a challenge for the international community, world safety and stability in the Middle East. We need to answer back united with stability and effectiveness," added Blazy.

    After meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw appealed to Tehran to consider the stance adopted by the international community as an opportunity and not a threat.

    On its part, Moscow asked Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    In his "State of the Union" speech, US President George Bush said the USA would continue their intensive efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. At the same time, George Bush once more accused Tehran of supporting terrorism in Palestine and Lebanon and concluded that Iran is "a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people."

    It should be noted that Western countries voice fears Iran would try to build an atomic bomb. However, the Tehran government supports its nuclear programme is only aimed at producing electric energy.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Read the story on other sources:

    Tehran Times: Report or referral to UN means end of diplomacy

    CNN: Iran president hits back at Bush

    Sueddeutsche Zeitung: Iran besitzt Dokumente zum Bau von Atombombe

    Related News:

    Iran Face-to-Face with the UN

    Related Links:

    IAEA

    [08] It Rejected Bush's Call Hamas Goes Adamant

    01 Feb 2006 12:59:00 (Last updated: 01 Feb 2006 15:41:17)

    By Dimitris Alexopoulos

    Sources: ANA-REUTERS-ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Islamic militant group Hamas turned down today US President George W. Bushs call to disarm and halt its attacks against Israel. Furthermore, it accused the US President of favouring Israel. A senior Hamas official, Mushir al-Masri, argued that Bushs call constitutes a long-established US stance that is detrimental to the Palestinian people. However, he added that the group is ready to hold talks with the international community as long as there are no fixed terms set, because they would obstruct progress. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet on Friday with the Hamas leaders to ask them form a new government. The time and the place of the meeting were made public by Arab League assistant secretary-general for Palestinian affairs, Mohammed Sabih.

    As per the chief of Egyptian intelligence, Omar Suleiman, who attended the meeting held between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the head of the Palestinian Authority will dictate Hamas three terms before the latter forms a new government.

    First, to renounce violence, second, to pledge to accept all accords signed so far between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and finally, to recognise Israel.

    "If not, Mahmoud Abbas will not ask them to form a government. Instead, he himself will form a government along with other parties," argued the Egyptian general.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Hamas Speaks of "Unfair Conditions"

    [09] Crucial Meeting at Employment Ministry Banks to Go on Strike

    01 Feb 2006 16:57:00 (Last updated: 01 Feb 2006 21:23:00)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: NET

    OTOE (Hellenic Federation of Bank Employee Unions) announced a 24-hour warning strike for the coming Monday, thus reacting to the intention of six major banks to hence forth sign contracts with each union directly, without previously notifying the federation. Meanwhile, Employment Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos is currently meeting with OTOEs presidium to regulate the crisis that broke out between banks and bank employees, after six major banks refused to sign a collective bargaining agreement with the federation and announced their intention to hence forth sign direct contracts with each union. "The Government does not intervene with labour contracts, this is an issue between social partners." Answering a reporters remark that "three of the Banks that refused to sign the collective bargaining agreement" are participating in the Greek public sector and it is hence speculated there was an agreement with the Ministry of Economy, deputy Government spokesperson Evangelos Antonaros clarified that "all state banks operate on private-economic criteria."

    Employment Minister Lends Reconciliation Hand

    Following the end of the meeting, the Minister stressed the Government supports the collective work contract institution, underlining that contracts are signed freely and the Government cannot intervene.

    What is more, he said there would be a sincere effort to defuse the crisis, hence giving a chance to social dialogue and social negotiations. He also noted that in collaboration with the Economy Ministry, they will try meet with the Greek Union of Banks and reach a solution based on dialogue. Mr Panagiotopoulos also noted the government has been informed on the banks' initiative through the Press.

    On his part, OTOE President Dimitris Tsoukalas said the banks' initiative was a backstabber to the democratic regime. At the same time, he said the Employment Ministry is in favour of collective bargaining and will try to persuade banks to open negotiations.

    Bankers, on the other hand, insist on their positions to abolish collective work contracts and apply a new model of business contracts, signed between the administration and employees of each bank separately. As per statements, it is clear by law that trade unions and employers have a right and obligation to negotiate.

    With regard to the European Union, bankers stressed that in recent years there is a preference towards drawing up inter-business contracts. In fact, they referred to Ireland, the United Kingdom and Malta, where there are no bank employers unions and collective work contracts are drawn up separately for each business.

    Harsh OTOE Stance

    Apart from the 24-hour strike, bank employees also decided to hold a cycle of meetings with political parties and take the matter to court. OTOE further decided to call for an emergency convention to deal with the crisis.

    OTOE President Dimitris Tsoukalas noted the aim and vision of bankers are not collective but individual contracts, stressing that at least three of the six bankers who sent the letter yesterday, are acting by order of the Government and predicted banks won't hold to OTOE's pressure, thus asking all other major federations and the GSEE to stand by OTOE's side.

    Harsh Criticism by the Opposition

    George Papandreou accused the Government and the Prime Minister in person for the crisis that has broken out between banks and the OTOE, speaking of "returning back to the Middle Ages." At the same time, the leader of the Main Opposition said the banks' refusal to sign the collective bargaining agreement is violating principal democratic rights, such as the notion of collective bargaining.

    In a written statement, KKE said the capital is trying to abolish Collective Bargaining Agreements, stressing this effort is targeted against the rights of the labour class. Tomorrow, Aleka Papariga will be meeting with OTOE's board.

    SYN spoke of a head-on collision with bank employees and accused the government of abolishing conventional obligations and social security rights.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [10] Three Points for Levadiakos

    01 Feb 2006 17:41:00

    By Stathis Petropoulos

    Levadiakos concluded round 17 of the Greek Division 1 football championship in the best possible way, defeating Apollon Kalamarias by 1-0 in their postponed match and moving up from the bottom of the rankings. The home team dominated the greater part of the first half, scoring a goal by penalty. In the 41, Murawski knocked over Gourma inside the box and Bushis kick was successful. In the second half, Apollon tried to overturn the score, but failed to do so.

    Referee: Finokaliotis (Athens) Yellow Cards: Andralas, Zafiropoulos Karamanlis, Murawski, Ioannou

    LEVADIAKOS (Takis Lemonis): Zafiropoulos, Anderson, Dimou (56 Samoulidis), Dimitropoulos, Kallimanis, Macheras, Vitali, Bassala, Gourma, Bushi (70 Perrone), Chrysafis (64 Zisopoulos)

    APOLLON KALAMARIA (Makis Katsavakis): Kovac, Amponsah, Fytanidis, Papadopoulos, Ioannou (77 Spyropoulos), Murawski, Orfanos, Karamanlis (42 Parmaxidis), Samouilidis (53 Mouzaoui), Cleyton, Pappas.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [11] The End of Passion is Scientifically Explained Passion Dies Down Chemically

    01 Feb 2006 15:21:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Italian scientists support there is a hormonal explanation for the things we feel about our lover after two years of being in a steady relationship. A group of scientists at the University of Pisa solved the chemical equation of the human body, thus explaining why passion and heartbeat at the start of a relationship end in a hug that looks like our mother's.

    Change of Hormonal Guard

    Well, things are pretty simple. After two years of being in a relationship, our hormones write their own different story.

    To be more precise, there is a change of guard, as one might say.

    Neutrofins, also known as the chemical messengers, which are on high levels at the beginning of a romance, disappear after the first 12-24 months, even if the love affair is still going on.

    Oxytocin, another hormone that induces labour and milk-production in new and pregnant mothers, steps in their shoes.

    Scientists, however, are reassuring. The hormone game should not be viewed as a negative thing.

    In fact, Dr Petra Boynton of the British Psychological Society stressed, "This feeds into a 1970s view that when you meet it's all sparky, and then it's a downward trajectory to cuddles, which is seen as a negative. It is suggesting that what happens first is the best bit; and that isn't true. I'm concerned that, having identified these hormones, there will be some move to suggest replacements to recreate the early passion."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [12] In Hospitals in Athens and Thessaloniki Emergency Drills Over Bird Flu

    01 Feb 2006 15:06:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET, NET Radio 105.8

    The Steering Body of the Greek Health Department held a meeting today at the War Museum focusing on a potential bird flu pandemic and how to deal with it. In his opening speech, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis announced that two hospitals, one in Athens and one in Thessaloniki, would be performing emergency drills for possible bird flu cases. According to Mr Kaklamanis, the hospitals in question will not be dealing with emergencies on the day of the drills. In the meantime, regarding the issue with dioxins, the minister stressed it is the responsibility of the European Parliament, which should handle the case, also reminding that as a European Parliamentarian he had twice cosigned a motion of censure against the Commission, one regarding the mad cow disease and the other regarding dioxins.

    Meanwhile, two birds found dead in Tokyo tested positive to the bird flu virus.

    The authorities placed three people under quarantine, as they had touched these birds, and are now submitting them to tests.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [13] E-Applications for Aid New CAP to Be Implemented

    01 Feb 2006 19:52:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET - ANA

    In a fortnight, 1,100,000 Greek farmers will find out the exact amount of aid they are entitled to, based on the new Common Agricultural Policy for olive oil, cotton, tobacco, arable crops and beef, as announced today by Rural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos from Thessaloniki, where he attended the inauguration ceremony of the Agrotica Exhibition. The Greek farmers will find out the amount of money they will be receiving annually up to 2013 earlier than the British farmers, even though the new CAP was implemented in Britain last year. In addition, Mr Basiakos said that the farmers will be able to activate the process in real time, through the Internet. They will be able to submit their application on line by 15 May of each year in 100 locations around the country, in order to receive the subsidies. The system is state-of-the-art and will cut the red tape.

    New Phytogenetic Centre in Thermi

    Earlier, the Minister inaugurated the building that will house the new phytogenetic resource bank in Thermi. The scientists employed at the bank will keep seeds of purely Greek products and work towards producing new ones, which will grow into more durable plants.

    Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis, who also attended the event, thanked Mr Basiakos for the excellent collaboration.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [14] By the Mercantile Marine Minister Congrats to the Greek Port Authority

    01 Feb 2006 17:33:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    Greek Mercantile Marine Minister Manolis Kefalogiannis congratulated the Port Authority officers over the operation in the port of Piraeus yesterday, for the location of the two robbers of the Agricultural Bank in Drapetsona. Mr Kefalogiannis noted that the high-level of readiness of the Port Authority was demonstrated during the operation, while he defended the actions of the officers, underlining that it is preferable to overdo it rather than risk the lives of innocent people. At the same time, he refuted rumours of a dispute between the Ministries of Mercantile Marine and Public Order, making a special mention of his long friendship with Giorgos Voulgarakis. PASOKs competent section head, Miltiadis Papaioannou, spoke of "party expediencies, which, in combination with the fiasco that ensued, degrade and weaken the role and mission of the Security Forces in the eyes of the citizens." The two robbers, who got away with some 25,000 euros, remain at large.

    Years of Actions and Decisions

    During the Press conference, Mr Kefalogiannis also referred to a series of matters relating to the Ministry of Mercantile Marine.

    Referring to the deregulation of fees in the port of Piraeus, the Minister noted that it will take place gradually, starting with the more popular and competitive destinations.

    At the same time, Mr Kefalogiannis announced the collaboration with the Transport Ministry on the road link between the port of Piraeus and Thriasio Hospital, while he added that negotiations on a road link between the port of Lavrio and the Suburban Railway are underway.

    In addition, the Minister stated that residents of remote islands will be served free-of-charge with hydroplanes, mentioning the routes Piraeus-Antikythira, Piraeus-Agios Efstratios, Piraeus-Psara and Corfu-Othonoi, adding that there will eventually be about 15 routes in total.

    After the Press conference, Mr Kefalogiannis visited the building that will house the Ministry, in Akti Vassiliadi, and inspected the works in progress, accompanied by members of the Ministry and the Port Authority, and reporters.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Thriller in Piraeus

    Related Links:

    Greek Ministry of Mercantile Marine

    [15] Greek Government-Microsoft Agreement Focus on New Technologies

    01 Feb 2006 16:50:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    Sources: NET - ANA

    Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis signed a strategic agreement between the Greek Government and Microsoft in Portugal today. The agreement forms part of the new Digital Strategy 2006-2013 and the closer collaboration between the Greek public sector and private companies on information matters. It provides for securing privileged financial terms for the purchase of software licences for the Greek public sector, free-of-charge rights for employees in the public sector and education to use the software at home, and significant benefits for the socially weaker groups.

    Provisions of the Agreement

    The agreement also provides for the establishment of a Microsoft innovation centre in Greece to support the academic society and Greek software companies in developing cutting-edge technologies, which will be competitive in the international market.

    Furthermore, it was agreed that Microsoft will open at least 10 centres-computer labs for training socially weaker groups (unemployed, elderly and residents of border territories).

    In addition, it stipulates that Microsoft will grant scholarships to PhD students, and free software for educational and research purposes to academic institutes.

    Finally, it provides for the development of pilot e-government programs, as well as support of SMBs on available funding opportunities.

    Smiles and Satisfaction

    Giorgos Alogoskoufis spoke of rendering significant opportunities to the new generation of Greek pupils, students, researchers and businessmen. In addition, he proposed to the Chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates, to organise one of the future conferences of state leaders for the Information Society in Greece.

    "The strategic agreement that was signed develops the supplies of Microsoft software received up until now, or the ones that will be received in the context of the Information Society programme works and tenders in progress, so as to achieve added benefits for the citizens, the SMBs and the public sector," noted the Information Society special secretary, Prof Vassilis Assimakopoulos.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis


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