|Saturday, 20 July 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-12-22
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 INTENSE DEBATE ON THE STATE BUDGETAthens, 22 December 2004 (13:32 UTC+2)
The intense debate on the 2005 state budget continues in Parliament where it will be completed at midnight tonight with an open vote.
Last night, tension was high after the strong criticism made by former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis. In response, Minister of State Thodoris Rousopoulos observed that if the views of the leader of opposition Socialist Party of PASOK had been adopted and the Annan Plan on Cyprus was accepted, Rauf Denktash would be in the place of Tassos Papadopoulos in the EU Summit meeting in Brussels.
PASOK's Parliamentary spokesman Charis Kastanidis commented that if Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis shares this view then a major issue of democracy has erupted.
Governing party of New Democracy Central Committee Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis stated Stop playing theater and show respect to Parliament.
All Greek politicians serve national interests, clarified Mr. Rousopoulos, but they are judged by their political stance and its effects.
 THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ON THE GREEK ECONOMYAthens, 22 December 2004 (13:58 UTC+2)
The European Commission will decide today on the position it will adopt regarding the Greek economy but it is not expected to take measures against Greece after Athens' positions became public regarding the methods it will adopt to limit deficit under 3%.
The European Commission is expected to issue a recommendation to Greece to take all necessary measures to meet the goal and bring the Greek economy back within the framework of the common policy.
Responsible European Commissioner Mr. Almunia is expected to present the European Commission position to Greece with a letter that will be given to publicity.
 MITSOTAKIS: THERE ARE MORE DISPUTES WITH TURKEY THAN THE CONTINENTAL SHELFAthens, 22 December 2004 (14:16 UTC+2)
The continental shelf in the Aegean is not the only issue in the relations of Greece with Turkey. There are more differences like, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the air and sea region etc, stressed governing party of New Democracy honorary President and former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis speaking in the Athens television station "Mega" yesterday.
Regarding the Helsinki Agreement, he criticized Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis for exercising criticism on former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis saying that his criticism on the government of PASOK was a mistake.
On Hellenic Republic President Kostis Stephanopoulos and presidential nominee Karolos Papoulias, he commented that the common element between the two is their failure in politics. He said that Mr. Stephanopoulos became President because he was not elected in Parliament and the same happens now with Mr. Papoulias who was not elected in Parliament in last March elections.
 THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION WANTS THE DEFICIT TO DROP UNDER 3%Athens, 22 December 2004 (18:33 UTC+2)
The European Commission found inadequate and weak the measures included in Greece's 2005 state budget and stated that deficit should be brought below 3% of the GDP. The European Commission, without asking for specific measures, refers the issue to the ECOFIN Councils to be held in the next two months.
Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis stated that the EU Ministers of Finance are expected to give to Greece a period of one year to bring the deficit down. Commenting on the European Commission report, he mentioned that the European Commission even though does not agree with the Greek goals it acknowledges the big deficit drop that will be accomplished in 2005.
The Minister of Finance referring to the article by former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis on The Financial Times pointed out that Mr. Simitis violated every rule in his days and now appears making recommendations on how violators should be treated.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 22 December 2004 (17:24 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.28% at 2715.92 points, while the volume of transactions was considerable at 300,8 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 127 had gains and 144 had losses, while the value of 149 stocks remained unchanged.
 EUROPEAN COMMISSION NOT PLEASED WITH THE MEASURES AGAINST DEFICITAthens, 22 December 2004 (17:19 UTC+2)
The European Commission characterized as inadequate the measures announced by the Greek government aimed at cutting public deficit to 2.8% in 2005 and suggested to the EU Finance Ministers Council to reach the decision that Greece has not taken effective action to improve the existing unfavorable situation.
Within this framework the European Commission called on the EU Finance Ministers Council to take the necessary action to correct the excessive fiscal deficit in Greece.
The statement issued by the European Commission concludes that the fiscal situation in Greece continued to deteriorate in 2004 in spite of the fact that Greece has the highest economic growth rate in the Euro-zone.
Also, in the European Commission statement is mentioned that Greece's fiscal deficit will be at 5.3% of the GDP in 2004 compared to 3% mentioned in the projections of the Greek agencies that reached the European Commission agencies in March.
 NEW DEMOCRACY HAS BENEFITED BY THE PAPOULIAS NOMINATIONAthens, 22 December 2004 (15:49 UTC+2)
According to an opinion poll by the polling company Opinion conducted on behalf of the Athens television station Mega, people in Greece have a more positive view of the government moves based on the responses they gave on the issue of the nomination of Karolos Papoulias to the post of the Hellenic Republic President by New Democracy.
Based on the opinion poll, New Democracy benefited more from the decision, which was made by the Prime Minister (40.3%), while just 15.9% believe that the winner is main opposition Socialist Party of PASOK.
Meanwhile, 30.3% of the people believe that both New Democracy and PASOK were equally benefited by the nomination and only 7.6% believe that none was the winner.