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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-12-09
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Crucial Draft-bills at Ministers' CouncilThursday, 09 December 2010 10:29
The Ministers' Council meets on Thursday afternoon to discuss top priority draft-bills providing for regulations in labour legislation and company contracts, cuts in salaries and DEKO expenses as well as taxation on properties and rises in VAT. In the meantime, European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn arrived in Athens on Thursday for contacts with government and main opposition party officials. In an interview with Economist magazine on Thursday morning, Mr. Rehn , after praising Greece for its achievements so far, he stressed that it was not the only country facing big challenges and underlined the need for coordinated action to deal with debt crisis in the euroregion.
Reforms in DEKO, Labour Legislation, Growth Bill
The Ministers' Council is to discuss crucial draft-bills in order to table them to the Parliament soon in view of EU Summit Meeting. Negotiations on the extension of loan repayment will be held on the sidelines of the Meeting.
"2011 is the year of major reforms with radical changes in public administration, education and entrepreneurship", said the Prime-minister on Wednesday.
Regarding draft-bill on DEKO and taxation, the government's aim is to promote regulations, dictated by Troika, in order to get the 4 installment of rescue package in May.
Reports say reforms provide for ceiling on DEKO employees salaries, incorporation of entitlements to the basic salary and cuts in bonuses and overtime work and salaries and of Administration Board members.
Regarding labour legislation, business contracts will be in force rather than trade unions' contracts but under certain conditions and time limits in order to secure job positions, which will last one plus another year.
The Ministers' Council will also discuss new growth draft-bill targeted at promoting innovation and youth entrepreneurship with emphasis on taxation incentives and increased amortization far from the logic of subsidies.
Furthermore, two draft-bills will be brought up concerning the setting up of Hydrocarbon Research and Exploitation National Agency and Postal Services, Electronic Communications and other regulations.
Sources: мет 105.8
News item: 51455
 Refuse Collectors Suspended StrikeThursday, 09 December 2010 15:58
Athens Municipality refuse collectors decided to suspend mobilizations , however, the 720 temporary contract workers would not return to their duties after deciding to make use of their days off. Some 2.200 permanent contract employees have decided to stage 48-hour repeated strikes starting from Tuesday demanding payment of their salaries.
In the meantime, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis, after his meeting with newly elected Piraeus mayor, has expressed his satisfaction at his efforts to ease the situation regarding cleaning of the municipality before even assuming his official duties.
Sources: мет, мет 105.8
News item: 51586
 Deterioration of WeatherThursday, 09 December 2010 14:51
National Metereological Service has forecast deterioration of weather from Thursday evening with drop in temperatures 12 C, heavy rainfall, gale force northerly winds and snow on high ground.
Forecast for Attica, cloudy in the morning developing into local rains and storms from noon, snow on high ground and lower ground in the northern regions, winds westerly 4-6 soon turning northerly 6-8.
In the morning temperature will be 13C and will gradually drop.
Forecast for Thessaloniki, cloudy with rain or sleet and snowfall on high ground but soon improving. In the morning temperature will be 8C but will gradually drop, winds northerly, north-westerly force 7-8.
News item: 51578
 Olli Rehn: Coordinated Action to Deal with Crisis in EuroregionThursday, 09 December 2010 12:23
"Greece is not the only country that faces big challenges", said EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn who is in Athens for contacts with government and main opposition party officials. The European Commissioner underlined the need for coordinated action to deal with the debt crisis in the euro region and expressed satisfaction at the course of materialization of the Stability plan, adding he was impressed by Greece's achievements so far.
"Greece will Overcome Difficulties"
In an interview with Economist magazine on Thursday morning, Mr. Rehn underlined the need for coordinated action to deal with debt crisis in the euro region.
"The present situation, it is not a crisis of the Euro, AND Greece is not the only country that faces big challenges", he said but expressed conviction that Greece would overcome difficulties and return soon to the Growth path.
The EU Commissioner underlined that strict implementation of fiscal stability program was the only proposal to exit financial crisis. This is the reason why the government should place emphasis on reforms in labour market, DEKO (Public Utility Companies), closed professions and combat of tax evasion.
Mr. Rehn described as positive Eurogroup decision to extend loan repayment period and sent a clear message to Germany by saying that Europe should share a common target and countries with surplus in fiscal balance had better strengthen their domestic market in order to balance European economy. He also said that the European Commission would hold an official discussion on the extension of the 110 billion euros loan repayment at the beginning of January, adding that he was certain euro region Finance Ministers would agree with the proposal.
Regarding euro-bond, Mr. Rehn said that he had made the proposal in May but it was then rejected. I still believe that issue of euro-bond is a very good idea and stressed that agencies studying a systemic solution to a systemic crisis are examining all products and ideas.
He added that he dedicated 90% of his time to Greece's problem last May but after the first results of the implementation of Stability plan he dedicates 50% of his time to Greece, 50% to Ireland and 90 % of his time to the stability of the common currency.
On his part, Finance Minister G. Papakonstantinou said that Greece has achieved to bring deficit 6% down and it is now promoting major structural changes in taxation, opening of closed professions and stabilization of banking system.
News item: 51518