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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 05-03-29

Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


CONTENTS

  • [01] TAXES UP-SPENDING DOWN
  • [02] SUPPORT TO THE PATRIARCHATE'S CHARACTER
  • [03] CONVERGENCE OF VIEWS TO THE NEW SOLUTION PROCESS
  • [04] TAX INCREASES AND PUBLIC SPENDING CUTS ANNOUNCED
  • [05] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM
  • [06] FIRST EU-FYROM JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE MEETING
  • [07] FOREIGN MINISTER MOLIVIATIS WRAPPED UP HIS VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES

  • [01] TAXES UP-SPENDING DOWN

    Athens, 29 March 2005 (12:53 UTC+2)

    The new taxes to accompany the three-year program for the stability and growth of the Greek economy will be announced today by Minister of Finance Giorgos Alogoskoufis.

    The government committee was scheduled to meet earlier to give the green light for the imposition of indirect taxes aimed at cutting fiscal deficit on the basis of the stability program submitted by the Greek government a few days ago in Brussels.

    Even though the formal announcements are expected in the next few hours, the information available so far mentions that the head of the economic staff will announce, among others, tax increases in specific categories of cigarettes, alcohol drinks and mobile phone fees.

    The government's goal is to cut public spending and increase public revenues without putting the burden on the people, stated yesterday acting government spokesman Vangelis Antonaros.

    [02] SUPPORT TO THE PATRIARCHATE'S CHARACTER

    Athens, 29 March 2005 (13:49 UTC+2)

    Israel's ambassador to Athens Ram Aviram stated that his country supports the Greek character of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

    Mr. Aviram responding to a question on the situation in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem stated that the state of Israel supports the preservation of the status quo and the Greek character of the Patriarchate.

    Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority charge d' affaires in Athens Ismat Sabri stated yesterday that the Palestinians do not raise an issue aimed at giving an Arab character to the Patriarchate and are against the removal of the Greek flag.

    [03] CONVERGENCE OF VIEWS TO THE NEW SOLUTION PROCESS

    New York, 29 March 2005 (13:30 UTC+2)

    Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis in the meeting he had with UN secretary general Kofi Annan inNew York expressed his conclusion that there was convergence of views of the interested parties as to the resumption of the solution process in Cyprus.

    UN secretary general spokesman Fred Eckhard stated that the UN secretary general wants us to be on stable ground before the talks resume because he does not wish a new failure.

    On the FYROM name, Mr. Moliviatis reiterated that the UN secretary general is in favor of a mutually acceptable solution.

    Meanwhile, US President George Bush used praising words for Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. President Bush congratulated Greece for hosting successful Olympic Games in Athens in his speech during the formal reception given in the White House on the occasion of Greece's March 25 national holiday.

    [04] TAX INCREASES AND PUBLIC SPENDING CUTS ANNOUNCED

    Athens, 29 March 2005 (18:02 UTC+2)

    Minister of Finance Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced a 1% increase in the VAT, as well as the imposition of taxes on the so-called cheap cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and mobile phone fees while, at the same time, he also announced that the government will cut public spending dramatically to bring it down from 50.4% to 49% in the next 2 years.

    Presenting the Greek economy stability and growth three-year program, Mr. Alogoskoufis warned that the next two years will not be easy because the goal to cut deficit under 3% of the GDP is difficult and there is no room for failure. Toward this direction, the government will cut public spending without affecting the basic state-provided services and, at the same time, revenues will be increased with the less possible side-effects for the people.

    Also, public deficit will be cut through a balanced way based on a growth rate prediction of 3-4%.

    [05] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM

    Athens, 29 March 2005 (17:21 UTC+2)

    Government spokesman Thodoris Rousopoulos commenting on the fact that the team of experts sent by the Greek Foreign Ministry to Jerusalem was unable to cooperate with Patriarch Irenaeus stated that it was a negative surprise and acknowledged that there were cooperation problems between the team of experts and the Patriarchate's agencies.

    Responding to the question if the government guarantees the Patriarchate's Greek Orthodox character, Mr. Rousopoulos refused to make any presumptions pointing out, however, that undoubtedly we all have to protect the Greek character of the Patriarchate.

    [06] FIRST EU-FYROM JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE MEETING

    Athens, 29 March 2005 (14:13 UTC+2)

    Main Greek opposition Socialist Party of PASOK Euro-deputy Panagiotis Beglitis will attend the proceedings of the first EU-FYROM Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting to take place in Skopje on March 30 and 31.

    In the meeting will be examined issues concerning the materialization of the EU-FYROM stabilization and association agreement, community assistance, FYROM's EU prospect and the filing of an EU accession application by FYROM, regional cooperation in the Balkans, domestic developments and the implementation of the Ochrid Agreement.

    On the sidelines of the meeting, Mr. Beglitis will meet with FYROM government vice-president and Social-Democratic Union vice-president Radmila Sekerinska.

    [07] FOREIGN MINISTER MOLIVIATIS WRAPPED UP HIS VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES

    New York, 29 March 2005 (16:06 UTC+2)

    Greek Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis wrapped up his visit to the United States with a number of contacts.

    Yesterday, Mr. Moliviatis met with UN secretary general Kofi Annan in the UN headquarters in New York and afterwards, he attended a special ceremony at the White House held by US President George Bush on the occasion of Greece's March 25 national holiday.

    In statements he made to the mass media, Mr. Moliviatis characterized his 30-minute meeting with UN secretary general Kofi Annan as useful and constructive and said that they discussed a number of issues concerning Cyprus, the problems and prospects in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, the Middle East problem and a number of African issues.

    On Cyprus, Mr. Moliviatis stated that he conveyed to the UN secretary general his conclusion that there is a convergence of views of all the interested parties to the resumption of the process for a solution that will result to the reunification of the island. He stated that this goal will be met through negotiations on the basis of the UN secretary general plan.

    Mr. Moliviatis also confirmed that they discussed the FYROM name issue and presented Greece's position that a mutually acceptable solution has to be reached in order to move on and focus attention on the solution of other pending problems in the region.

    Yesterday evening, the Greek Foreign Minister and the members of the Greek delegation accompanying him attended a special ceremony in the White House on the occasion of Greece's March 25 national holiday.

    In a declaration issued is mentioned, among others, that the founders of the American nation were inspired by the democratic principles of ancient Greece and the love of the United States for freedom is rooted in the Greek spirit.

    A special reference is made to the generations of Greek immigrants welcomed on American soil. US President Bush stated that the Americans are grateful to those immigrants for their talent, prudence and creativity adding that the Greek spirit, which is based on the values of family, education and contribution to the community, is being honored.


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