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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-07-01
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 D/B on Reforms in NHSThursday, 01 July 2010 08:47
Health Minister will present a draft-bill on reforms in NHS during a meeting of the Ministers' Council-chaired by the Prime-minister- to be held at noon on Thursday. Talks will also center on Education Ministry draft-bill on continuing education program. Prime-minister George Papandreou, in his speech at the Parliament on Wednesday, underlined that 2010 is the year of big reforms.
Tough Confrontation on Memorandum
In response to ND leader Antonis Samaras call for withdrawal from memorandum, the Prime-minister underlined what ND party wants is to draw a line on its responsibilities for the country's deadlock.
A. Samaras in his counter-response said that the ND would submit a proposal for the country's rapid relief from monitoring, on July, 7.
SYN president Alexis Tsipras cited that posting bills and contracts on the internet does not protect workers from the collapse of their labour and social security rights.
Finance Minister, in an interview with private television channel MEGA , said people are angered but realize that there is no other option.
He announced inspections to ones collecting interest from bank accounts abroad. He also said that VAT would be returned after inspection
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8 - ÁNA - ÌPA
News item: 38043
 EIB Grants â¬2 Billion LoanThursday, 01 July 2010 12:35
The European Investment Bank( EIB) agreed to grant a loan mounting to 2.5 billion euros. The contract was signed on Thursday between the EIB vice -president Plutarhos Sakellaris and the Ministers for Finance and Economics G. Papakonstantinou and Louka Katselis respectively. It is a 25-year loan with a 7-year grace period and 2% to 4% depending on the amount withdrawn each time. The first amoun to be withdrawn is 600 million euros.
Confidence Vote to Greek Economy
The amount of the loan is the highest sum granted by the EIB since 1958while the Finance Minister described it as a vote of confidence to the Greek government's to revive the economy and a most encouraging message for the financing of the ESPA program.
Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou said this move was a message to foreign investors that Greece is overcoming problems and had capabilities.
Minister for Economics Louka Katselis said ESPA absorbance is moving at 8.4% pace with the aim to reach 15% at the end of the year.
To Boost Growth
On his part, EIB vice-president Plutarhos Sakellaris said that the loan would cover long-term needs of Greece's economy and support research, entrepreneurship and investments in viable infrastructures and human resources along with the structural funds.
Of the total loan a 30% or 600 million euros will be withdrawn shortly while the rest of the sum will be withdrawn gradually depending on the course of materialization of projects. The loan is given for 25-years with a 7 year grace period and fixed or fluctuating interest rate from 2% to 4% depending on the time a sum is withdrawn.
One billion euros will be allocated for the modernization of the railroad network as the project is included within the priorities of the inter-european networks-the project includes modernization of Patra-Athens-Thessaloniki-Eidomenis-Promahonas,rail hub in Aharnais, freight center in Thriasio and its connection with cargo station with Neo Ikonio in Piraeus.
Special emphasis is also placed in urban development within the foundation of the Jessica fund. EIB signed a contract for its financing with 258 million euros. This fund involves projects concerning urban infrastructure, development of abandoned industrial areas, and sites of cultural and historical heritage.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Global Warming, Tina Birbili said the Ministry's environment operational program would allocate 10 million euros while the Culture Ministry would also contribute its share to the project said Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos.
The government's target is to approach 15% absorbance of community funds this year.
Special emphasis will be placed on development of rural areas and combat of current financial crisis.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8 - ÁNA - ÌPA News item: 38050
 Rise in VAT RatesThursday, 01 July 2010 12:14
Rise in VAT rates in force as of Thursday, second in three and a half months, will push up prices in several broad consumption products. Furthermore, VAT has for the first time introduced to a number of new services such as private clinics, notaries publics, lawyers. Economy sectors fear that new rise in VAT rates will trigger inflation as despite the Confederation of Hellenic Commerce businessmen say they can not absorb the ne rise in VAT as they did in March.
Second rise in VAT rates will trigger domino effect in a number of products and services, while tough deliberations are being held between industrialists, suppliers and retailers regarding sharing of cost.
The president of merchants Basilis Korkidis has promised that the second rise in VAT will be also absorbed to prevent reduction in consumption.
However, other sectors such as Importers and Representatives said they are unable to absorb the second rise in VAT.
As of July, 1 VAT rates rose from 21% to 23%, low rate from 10% to 11% and the lowest rate from 5% to 5.5%.
VAT 23% includes clothing, shoes, communication services, furniture, household items, new buildings, construction material, cars, motorcycles, fuel, cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, electric appliances, electronics, detergents, school items, car maintenance, hair-dressers', beauty salons.
VAT 11% includes food, medicines, soft drinks, mass transport fares, tickets for cinemas, concerts and generally culture events, electricity, natural gas and water bills, restaurants, coffee shops and pastry shops.
VAT 5.5% includes newspapers, magazines, books and theaters.
Average price for unleaded oil is sold above â¬1.5 per liter since this morning. Also taxi fares and road tolls went up after the new rise in VAT rates.
"Rise in VAT is not the best measure but it is necessary" told state radio station NET 105.8 the general secretary of the Finance Ministry Dimitris Georgakopoulos and stressed "the market will punish ones who will attempt to "play" at the expense of consumers".
The Finance Minister said structural changes slowly materialized will liberate the market and put an end to fabricated rises in VAT.
All political parties expressed objections to rise in VAT.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8-ÍÅÔ-ÁNA/ÌPA News item: 38049
 GSSE Plans New MobilizationsThursday, 01 July 2010 11:28
Draft-bill on social security also including labour relations, voted in principal by PASOK deputies, will be tabled to the Parliament next week. Employment Minister A. Loverdos called on social partners to reach an agreement regarding collective labour contracts otherwise, as he said, each would assume his share of responsibility. He also left open possibility to replace regulation on arbitration with the agreement of social partners. But the General Confederation of Greek Labour (GSEE) is planning a new round of mobilizations in protest against reforms in social security system and labour relations.
G. Petalotis Statements to NET TV Channel
All social sectors object to the new draft-bill on social security. Representatives of the major trade unions GSEE, ADEDY, GSEBEE and Merchant Union spoke of holocaust for thousand of people while SEB president spoke of necessary reforms.
Government spokesman George Petalotis, in an interview with state television channel NET, underlined that protection of workers remains among the government's top priorities.
He asked social partners to show responsibility, adding that workers have realized the seriousness of the circumstances and stressed the need for retention of prices.
He also said that all opinions expressed help the government formulate the best possible view.
Source: ÍÅÔ - ÍÅÔ 105.8
News item: 38047