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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-12-03

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud, showers on Tuesday
  • [02] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [03] New Greek stability plan sees average growth of 3.8% until 2006
  • [04] Greek, Portuguese presidents discuss Cyprus issue, EU accession
  • [05] Simitis and Sampaio discuss cooperation within EU, future of Europe

  • [01] Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud, showers on Tuesday

    03/12/2002 10:17:19

    Scattered cloud is forecast in all parts of the country, turning to showers in many areas. Winds variable, moderate to strong. In the north, temperatures will range from 08C to 16C; in the Ionian and on the rest of the mainland from 10C to 18C; and in the Aegean islands from 13C to 20C. Temperatures in Athens between 13C and 18C; and in Thessaloniki from 11C to 16C.

    [02] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

    03/12/2002 10:16:38

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 0.995

    Pound sterling 0.643

    Danish kroner 7.485

    Swedish kroner 9.079

    Japanese yen 124.1

    Swiss franc 1.489

    Norwegian kroner 7.320

    Cyprus pound 0.577

    Canadian dollar 1.548

    Australian dollar 1.779

    [03] New Greek stability plan sees average growth of 3.8% until 2006

    02/12/2002 23:51:33

    A revised stability plan submitted by the government to the European Union on Monday foresees average growth of 3.8 percent until 2006.

    The public debt is seen declining by four to five percentage points of gross domestic product each year to total 87.9 percent of GDP in 2006 from 105.3 percent in 2002.

    The reduction is to be achieved from revenue the government is expecting to accrue from an updated privatisation plan.

    A new, tougher stability programme for the 15-nation bloc ordains a rapid reduction for countries with high debt.

    Also targeted in the Greek stability plan, which lasts until 2006, is a budgetary surplus from 2005 onwards. In 2003, the general government deficit will total 0.09 percent of GDP, falling to 0.4 percent of GDP in 2004.

    A budgetary surplus of 0.2 percent of GDP is forecast for 2005, rising to 0.6 percent in 2006, according to the report.

    Inflation is expected to hold steady around 3.0 percent throughout the programme's duration, remaining above the eurozone average.

    Above-inflation wage rises of an average 2.3 percent are to be awarded from 2003 to 2006.

    [04] Greek, Portuguese presidents discuss Cyprus issue, EU accession

    02/12/2002 23:49:07

    The Cyprus issue and the island republic's EU accession were discussed in Athens on Monday during a meeting between President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and his visiting Portuguese counterpart Jorge Sampaio.

    The two presidents ascertained identity of views on Cyprus' EU accession, as Portugal endorses Cyprus' membership in the European Union regardless of a prior solution to its political problem, Stephanopoulos told reporters after the meeting, which was also attended by the Greek and Portuguese foreign ministers.

    They also discussed trade relations and European issues, and Stephanopoulos stressed the need for solidarity among the medium-size member states and called for equality among the large and small EU members.

    The significance of the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003 was stressed, while the two heads of state further discussed issues related to illegal migration, the situation in the Middle East, and the latest developments in the war against terrorism.

    Sampaio described as ''very positive'' the collaboration between Greece and Portugal, and pointed out their common views on the developments in Europe and Cyprus.

    Sampaio said his country hoped that the Cyprus issue would be resolved within the framework of the UN, but clarified that Portugal did not believe that Cyprus' EU accession should wait until the island's political problem was solved. ''If it (the Cyprus issue) is solved by the EU summit in Copenhagen, fine. If not, there will be no problem with the accession,'' he said.

    [05] Simitis and Sampaio discuss cooperation within EU, future of Europe

    02/12/2002 23:45:01

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio on Monday held talks that focused mainly on cooperation within the European Union and major issues regarding the future of the Community and its institutions.

    After the meeting, Simitis spoke in favour of a federal system for the EU, in which the community element remained strong. He called for coordinated economic policy in which the extension of social policy to tackle unemployment and develop social solidarity in Europe would be a central concern.

    The Greek premier also called for emphasis on joint European policies for foreign affairs, defence and security and said that care was needed in the implementation of structural policy so that it did not slow down convergence.

    Asked if there was sufficient time before the start of the EU Summit in Copenhagen on December 12 for a solution to the Cyprus problem to be achieved, the Greek premier said that the time was short but said that efforts should be made to continue talks for a solution after the summit.

    Sampaio said that Cyprus' EU accession was important and agreed that solving the political problem could not be a condition for Cyprus' EU entry.

    He said that the EU Stability Pact needed a new impetus from all EU member-state economies and said that Europe had to promote the development of a joint foreign affairs and security policy.

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