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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-11-25
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Coordination of Actions for Structural ReformsThursday, 25 November 2010 16:04
Priorities of the economic policy and initiatives to jumpstart growth were brought forward during the Ministers' Council meeting on Thursday, chaired by Prime-minister G. Papandreou. Finance Minister G. Papakonstantinou briefed the Ministers' Council on the course of the economy and set the targets that each ministry has to achieve in the next three months. It was agreed the Prime-minister and deputy president Theodoros Pagalos will undertake the coordination of actions for structural reforms and initiatives to jump start growth while economic directors in each ministry will inspect expenditures and brief the Finance Ministry.
Setting up Caretaker Council
Issues discussed at the Ministers' Council meeting include dissolution of rural police and transfer of personnel to forest agencies, setting up of caretaker Council that will examine the number of employees Civil Aviation Service needs, the transfer of others to cover needs in other ministries, change of 5.416 temporary firefighters 8-month contracts to five-year contracts under the status of "auxiliary firefighters".
Furthermore, they discussed a study about grouping of the country's regional airports and selling them to private investors as well as the immediate reform of OSE and Athens means of mass transport.
Reports say Mr. Papandreou in his address to the Ministers' Council made a negative comparison of former prime-minister Kostas Karamanlis with his Irish counterpart Brain Cohen, who took austerity measures, bearing the political cost, and did not lead his country to early elections as Mr. Karamanlis did.
ND party blamed the government for lack of growth policy. ND party spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos said that nothing has been done to boost growth during the 12 months of PASOK ruling. Mr. Papandreou and his ministers discuss a plan for a new growth bill from meeting to meeting without a specific result while the market is draining out, closing of shops multiply and unemployment rate is skyrocketing.
SYRIZA deputy Dimitris Papadimoulis commenting on today's Minsiters'Council meeting said: "Recession, unemployment and high prices are worsening, income of weak group of people is being looted but the government is happy and accelerates implementation of liberal memorandum that leads guinea pig Greece to "controlled bankruptcy". The country needs to change course the sooner possible and an alternative and serious ten year growth plan, employment and just redistribution of income".
Sources: ÍÅÔ 105.8, ÁNA-ÌPA
Related News: Ministers'Council Focus on Economic Policy
News item: 49195
 Ministers' Council Focus on Economic PolicyThursday, 25 November 2010 09:09
Prime-minister George Papandreou is chairing a meeting of the Ministers Council focused on priorities and pending issues regarding the economy that should be solved within the frame of the Memorandum's implementation on the grounds of Finance Minister G. Papakonstantinou briefing. Issues to be discussed include DEKO (Public Utility companies) purging, combat of tax evasion and opening of closed professions. The Ministers' Council will also discuss draft-bills on reforms of Civil Aviation Service, Environment Ministry sea strategy - that is harmonization with EU relevant regulation- Protection of Citizens' Ministry to deal with cases of Security Forces arbitrariness and finally Infrastructure Ministry for the certification of train drivers. Development bill, attraction of investments, absorbance of community funds, privatizations and utilization of state assets were among issues brought on at a government meeting chaired by the Prime-minister G. Papandreou who stressed the need for acceleration of structural reforms, for whose promotion Troika officials have set deadline till March.
Turn a spendthrift state into a flexible state of justice is the challenge for the next two years said the Prime-minister in his speech at a two-day conference on "Kallikratis" plan. Interior Minister Yiannis Ragusis reassured that reduction of 6.000 to 1.500 municipal companies will be achieved with transfer of personnel and not lay offs.
Sources: ÍÅÔ 105.8
Related News: Papandreou: «2011 Tough & Demanding»
News item: 48996
 "50 Years. Together in Art"Thursday, 25 November 2010 13:17
Pepi Sboronou and Dimosthenis Kokkinidis painting and applied arts exhibition entitled "50 Years. Together in Art" opens at 20:00, on Thursday, December, 9 and will last till February, 6, 2011. It is housed at Piraeus St. Building. Benakis Museum double exhibition to mark the 50 years of the two creators includes some of the representative pieces of art from their work. This joint exhibition projects coexistence, cohabitation, common life and artistic production. It is a recall in the route that joined two people. The exhibition is divided in three units and includes 120 pieces of art of both artists from 1958 to present. Apart from being their first joint exhibition, Benakis Museum initiative brings to light another interesting activity of theirs, the painted dresses they have together created from 1959-1979.
In that 20 year period, they became known worldwide by painting together over 3.000 dresses, each one unique and bearing their signature.
Twenty-five painted dresses, which happened to remain in the couple's possession, are on show in this exhibition. Their huge commercial success is depicted in Greek and foreign magazines cover pages which are also exhibited.
A couple in life and art, both fighters in the 60's decade, with different art expression and use of different materials- they met in 1959 as founding members of the Greek Handicraft Organization.
A 170 page book with 150 pictures entitled "50 Years. Together in Art", Pepi Sboronou-Dimosthenis Kokkinidis is available at the exhibition.
News item: 49183
 Van Rompuy: "Achievement Reduction of Greece's State Deficit"Thursday, 25 November 2010 17:43
EU President Herman Van Rompuy praised Greece's government for the reduction of the state deficit, stressing that it is an unbelievable achievement. In the meantime, Ireland, Spain and Portugal spreads are moving up despite EU Commission assurances that no talks are being held about financial support to other European countries and the announcement of the Irish 4-year austerity plan announced on Wednesday. Furthermore, criticism against German Chancellor Angela Merkel stance on the financial crisis is increasing. On his part Eurogroup President Zan Claude Yunker expressed his concern over Germany's deviation from common European good concept.
Merkel Calls for Austerity Measures
Germany will exercise pressure for strong euro and this requires tough austerity measures to cut down on expenses repeated German Chancellor Angela Merkel, estimating that no eurozone member state is in danger of going bankrupt.
She also insisted on private investors participation on the European rescue mechanism that will be set up after 2013.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday talked down the chances of a Russia-EU free trade zone, citing Russian tariffs and Moscow's trade relations with Kazakhstan and Belarus.
"Of course we support the idea of a free trade zone between the EU and Russia but I have to pour a bit of cold water on it. The steps that Russia has taken recently do not point in the direction of the idea of free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostock".
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday outlined a vision of a new era of closer economic cooperation between Russia and the European Union, including the creation of free trade zones.
However, Angela Merkel hailed the prospect of Russia's admission to World Trade Organization.
Sources: ÁNA-ÌPA, ÍÅÔ, ÍÅÔ 105.8
News item: 49206
 Tax Rate 50%-90% for Bank & DEKO Employees BonusThursday, 25 November 2010 11:41
A Finance Ministry circular foresees up to 90% tax rate on bank employees bonuses while bonus granted to DEKO and broader public sector employees will be taxed on the grounds of tax scale. In the meantime, the Finance Ministry is to launch sweeping inspections from the beginning of the new year to combat tax evasion.
Free lance professionals and all large business will be the target of the Body to Combat Economic Crime(SDOE). Strict inspections for issue of receipts and VAT return will also continue with the aim to collect fines mounting to 8 billion euros. SDOE has imposed fines mounting to 3.5 billion euros in 10-month period (January- October 2010) for tax offences.
Source: ÍÅÔ 105.8 - ÍÅÔ
News item: 49127