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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-06-11
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Siemens: K. Skandalides Testifies to Inquiry CommitteeFriday, 11 June 2010 16:16
Former PASOK minister Kostas Skandalides appeared Friday before the inquiry committee investigating the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal out of his own free will. It was a press report whereby he had received a non-paper by Mihalis Christoforakos on why US company SAIC and Siemens should undertake the C4I system in 2003 that urged him to do so.
Shortly before entering the committee to testify, Skandalides told reporters that his signature on the C4I agreement was but typical. Commenting on the "non-paper," he said that "We could have received a non-paper, I honestly don't remember. But a non-paper is not bribe. I had no financial transactions with no one."
In the meantime, charged with breach of trust, OTE Chairman and Ceo Panagiotis Vourloumis and Technical Network Director Giorgos Ioannides were referred to the criminal bench of the Athens Court of Appeal. The charges have to do with the overpriced contracts OTE signed with companies, including Intracom and Siemens from 2003 to 2007.
Source: NET, NET 105.8
Related news: OTE Ceo to Be Charged with Felony News item: 37560
 Greece and Austria Agreed on Coordinated ActionsFriday, 11 June 2010 14:54
Greece and Austria will undertake coordinated actions and joint initiatives to held boost growth in Europe, said George Papandreou after his meeting with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann in Vienna. Papandreou briefed Mr Faymann on the steps Greece is making, further stressing that his government is committed to the restructuring of the country's economy. He also said that the Austrian President himself said that Greece has been on a recovery path. In the meantime, European Central Bank officials appeared optimistic over developments in Greece, estimating that prospects for Greek economy have improved and that the measures taken by the government are to the correct direction.
Speech at the Institute of International Finance (IIF)
"I had the opportunity to present to the Austrian Cancellor the step Greece has made to address the fiscal turmoil. We have committed ourselves to restructuring our economy ad at the same time to stay true to our values, social cohesion, social justice and growth. I was glad to realize that he himself has seen the change in our economy. We believe in Greece, its people and in our abilities. We are restoring our credibility step by step. Except for the pretty good bilateral ties with Austria, we decided with the Chancellor to coordinate our actions, by taking fiscal initiatives at both international and European level," said the Greek Prime Minister.
Later on, George Papandreou will deliver a speech at luncheon organized by the IIF.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 37554
 ND Head Addresses Party EventFriday, 11 June 2010 14:46
Main opposition New Democracy President Antonis Samaras expressed his grave concern over the Greek economy's situation while addressing a session of his party's general secretaries. "The government has failed to live up to the people's expectations," said Samaras, urging everyone to stand by the side of the people. He also called on the party's secretaries to closely monitor the government's decisions in order to step in when required.
Government Fails to Live up to Expectations
In his address, Antonis Samaras said he had warned the government of the imminent recession, further noting that, "Unless we avoid the sinking of the growth rates, recession will turn permanent and we will enter a vicious circle."
Addressing the party's secretaries, the ND head asked them to be by the side of the Greek people who has been weighed down by the burden of the financial crisis.
"I want the people to feel that we are by their side every day, that we listen to their problems and that we step in. I want the secretaries to make everyday interventions to the crisis that is testing the cohesion of our society," commented Samaras.
He then went on to note that, "The government has failed to live up to the people's expectations. I also urge you to closely monitor each decision and step made by the government. ND has to be present everywhere. Our only incentive is to be useful to our country and our people."
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 37553
 OTE Ceo to Be Charged with FelonyFriday, 11 June 2010 09:52
Charged with breach of trust, OTE Chairman and Ceo Panagiotis Vourloumis and Technical Network Director Giorgos Ioannides were referred to the criminal bench of the Athens Court of Appeal. The charges have to do with the overpriced contracts OTE signed with companies, including Intracom and Siemens from 2003 to 2007.
Another seven members of OTE's board were acquitted. In the meantime, the parliamentary committee investigating the Siemens cash-for-contracts has called Sokratis Kokkalis, Giorgos Skarpelis and Petros Labrou to testify upon Dimitris Papadimoulis' request.
Former Siemens Hellas Ceo Prodromos Mavrides declined Thursday to testify before the committee, citing the fact he has been charged with managing the company's "black" funds.
Former Siemens Hellas high-profile executive Dionysis Dendrinos, who was responsible for the C4I security system installed during the Athens Olympic Games, said he knew nothing of briberies, arguing that authorities should extend their investigation to the mother company in order to find out who were bribed.
"We have submitted to the inquiry committee all the names erased from the lists of those who got gifts from Siemens," SDOE chief Giannis Kapeleris told NET radio station.
Former House Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis opposed to his colleagues and members of inquiry committees who speak all the time on TV. "In Greece, we are interested in fiscal affairs, when scandals are surfaced," concluded Kaklamanis.
Source: NET 105.8 News item: 37536
 Bulgaria Considers Abandoning Balkan Oil PipeFriday, 11 June 2010 17:52
Bulgaria is set to abandon plans to build a trans-Balkan oil pipeline to carry Russian crude through its territory to Greece because of environmental concerns, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said on Friday.
Borisov said strong opposition to the project from residents of the Black Sea coast where the 300-kilometre pipeline was due to start was key concern.
"This is a project that the population of Burgas does not want," Borisov said after meeting ambassadors from the European Union countries. "We all saw what happened in the Gulf of Mexico."
Borisov also said that the pipeline, estimated to cost a total 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), did not offer enough economic benefits for Bulgaria and it would take years to repay the investment.
Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov told Reuters however that the government had not officially decided to scrap plans for the pipeline, but said the outlook for the project did not look good.
"There is no decision to pull out of the project. What we have are very serious arguments that are negative," he said.
Traikov expressed concern whether Russia will provide the necessary oil for the link, saying that is the pipeline project fails, it would not only be because of Bulgaria.
Greece had also questioned Russian oil supply.
The centre-right cabinet has been re-examining its participation in the project, aimed at pumping up to 50 million tonnes of Urals crude a year from the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis on the Aegean since coming to power in July.
Source: Reuters News item: 37564
 Optimism over Economy-Wrangling over PrivatizationsFriday, 11 June 2010 15:29
The Greek Finance Minister rest the House assured that the government is implementing the stability programme as planned. Giorgos Papakonstantinou said the government is optimistic that it will manage to bring the deficit down by 40%. LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) head Giorgos Karatzaferis, on the other hand, blasted the government for lacking a coordinated policy in the first months of its term. An acrimonious wrangling broke out between the Finance Minister and the SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) President over denationalizations.
The Finance Minister assured the Greek House that both the second and the third part of the bailout package for the Greek economy will be given.
He also said that the government is implementing the stability programme as planned, citing the figures of the first five months which portray the progress of the execution of the budge, as well as a decrease in the deficit amounting to 39%.
He also assured that the Greek banking system is well-cemented and has infinite liquidity from the European Central Bank.
Giorgos Karatzaferis, on his part, blasted the government for lacking a coordinated policy in the first seven months of its policy and for not doing anything to boost growth.
He then branded rumours as a plague, stressing that rumours stem from two things:
"There are those who cannot understand that the eurozone cannot fall apart, that no member-state will leave the union, that no member-state will go default, and the government has to constantly explain them how things are, and those who have invested in such a possibility. They will just lose their money," said he.
Wrangling over Denationalisations
Earlier Papakonstantinou had had an acrimonious wrangling with Alexis Tsipras over denationalizations.
Papakonstantinou stressed that the government's key goal is to wisely exploit the state's assets so that economy can by restructured to the benefit of the people of Greece. He then accused Tsipras of adopting press leaks.
Defending himself, Tsipras argued that privatizations are part of PASOK's DNA and dismissed privatizations as the greatest scandal that no one dares to touch on it.
Source: NET, NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 37557