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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM proclaims place for exiling Communists on island of Agios Efstratios a symbol of democracy
  • [02] ND's Meimarakis to 'Kathimerini': electorate backs gov't efforts to solve problems left by PASOK
  • [03] Voulgarakis on keeping phone records, EU passports and arrest warrants
  • [04] PASOK MP stresses Greece's poor economic state in interview with Sunday Ethnos
  • [05] Summer sales start on Monday

  • [01] PM proclaims place for exiling Communists on island of Agios Efstratios a symbol of democracy

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday proclaimed the old place for exiling Communists on the Aegean island of Agios Efstratios a symbol of democracy, satisfying a longstanding demand by its few inhabitants.

    It was the first visit ever made to the island by a prime minister and the second by Karamanlis, who had visited it two years ago as the main opposition party leader and had promised to create a Museum of Democracy and a Cultural Centre as a form of tribute to the people who had been persecuted and who had suffered in the country.

    In the building which had housed Communist exiles, currently in a state of ruin, 40 leftists had died of starvation after refusing to sign a proclamation denouncing their ideology.

    Karamanlis said the Museum of Democracy will symbolise citizens who serve values, ideas and convictions at a risk and a cost and with personal sacrifice.

    "Your proposal and the commitment I have undertaken is currently on the path of its implementation. The study for the building's restoration has been prepared and necessary funds (440,000 euros) have been secured from the 3rd Community Support Framework's (CSF) operational programme 'Culture'. Formalities have been completed and work will begin imediately. In parallel, the stone building housing the old town hall will be renovated to function as a Cultural Centre," the prime minister said.

    Karamanlis stressed that Agios Eftstratios is a place which was sealed by a painful period for the country and which has definitely closed, however, with the contribution of all political forces.

    "We are here today, expressing the overcoming of the dividing lines of the past and our dedication to a new political culture, with respect for someone else's views and trust between ourselves. To enable us to stress in a symbolic and clear way our determination to clash with anything which can deal a blow at the quality of democracy, justice, human dignity and the rights and freedoms of the citizen," the prime minister said.

    Karamanlis further spoke of a fairer future, a fairer society, a society of solidarity and cohesion and a society of confidence.

    He promised to return to Agios Efstratios soon to attend the inauguration of the Museum, while the local inhabitants proclaimed him an honourary citizen of the island.

    Earlier in the day, Karamanlis had visited the site where a ringroad is being built in the region of Agios Nikolas at the port of Myrina on the island of Limnos.

    [02] ND's Meimarakis to 'Kathimerini': electorate backs gov't efforts to solve problems left by PASOK

    New Democracy party secretary Vangelis Meimarakis, in an interview published by the Sunday issue of Kathimerini, stressed that the government was backed by the citizens in its efforts to clean up outstanding problems left by PASOK "on all fronts".

    "There are no dead ends for democracies and, if necessary, the answer is always given by the citizens," Meimarakis said when asked if the country might find itself paralysed in the Autumn by the reactions of unions and trade groups to reforms being passed by the government.

    He also disagreed with predictions that protests will escalate after the summer, saying that "there is daily proof that the government enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority of citizens on the issues in question."

    Meimarakis said the voluntary early retirement model used for the state telecoms company OTE should also be applied in the case of other loss-making public-sector firms and accused PASOK of leaving all problems unsolved; "With the result that we now have to deal with all of them and find solutions for all of them," he added.

    "If we just stand by every time the social partners (employers and workers) failed to reach agreement, then we might as well go home. That's what PASOK did and this is why we now find ourselves faced with so many problems that we have to solve as quickly as possible. We do not consider the political cost because, as the prime minister has repeatedly said, we operate on the sole criterion of the general good. The government's programme has a four-year span, when we will be judged by the overall results of our governance and, I believe, we will win again," the ruling party secretary said.

    He also stressed that the government will make every effort to avoid taking new revenue-raising measures in the autumn and, even in the case that internationals conditions imposed a different policy on all of Europe, the government would avoid turning against the economically weaker classes.

    Regarding the controversial "primary shareholder" law currently blocked by the European Union, Meimarakis said this had been "correct in its underlying philosophy" and that it expressed in the "most authentic way the government's determination to ensure transparency".

    He also said that the final solutions given to the problem would "also be the most appropriate, since corruption can be fought in many ways and we will not allow anyone to say that the government put aside its most major commitment".

    [03] Voulgarakis on keeping phone records, EU passports and arrest warrants

    Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis said that new European Union passports and the European arrest warrant will be adopted by Greece from the start of next year, during an interview with the Sunday Eleftherotypia.

    He also spoke about a proposal for recording and keeping phone records on a European-wide basis, which was raised at the most recent council of EU ministers for law and order, as a measure to combat terrorism. The ministers have referred the problems to a team of experts for their opinion.

    Should the team of experts conclude that such EU-wide monitoring of calls was necessary, the legal interpretation in Greece would have to take the new situation into account, Voulgarakis said.

    At the same time, he pointed out that it could not be immediately implemented because of legal, technical and financial matters in some countries.

    "We outlined our scepticism and we were the only country to express any doubts, especially on the keeping of phone records concerning what calls were made for a period of time.

    Finally, Voulgarakis stressed that the public could trust the Greek Police (ELAS) to deal with terrorism, stressing that the days of repeated mistakes were a thing of the past.

    [04] PASOK MP stresses Greece's poor economic state in interview with Sunday Ethnos

    Main opposition PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou, a former European Commissioner and currently in charge of development issues for PASOK's Political Council, stressed that country's economy was in a poor state due to the government's 'public-sector audit' and a sharp drop in revenues, during an interview published by the paper "Sunday Ethnos".

    She said there was a grave risk of a crisis in the markets, with repercussions for unemployment.

    Diamantopoulou also accused the government of "making changes without calculating the impact on social cohesion" and of creating "generalised social conflicts with workers and SMEs, which form the backbone of the Greek economy and Greek society".

    The MP slammed a number of reforms being carried out by the government, such as extending shop hours or giving employers greater flexibility in determining the length of an employee's working day and overtime, saying that these benefited only bosses and large companies.

    "It's the little guys that lose out because of this measure, the small and middle-sized business and workers. The only ones that win are the very big fish," she underlined.

    Noting that PASOK had gone through a difficult year as it tried to renew itself, she predicted that the next Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in the autumn would be a 'turning point' for the party and the start of a new beginning.

    [05] Summer sales start on Monday

    The summer sales in the shops start on Monday and will last until August 27, the Consumers' Union of Greece announced.

    It advised the public to be cautious and to compare prices before making a purchase, pointing out that the ministry had made it mandatory for goods to be marked with a double price, not just the old prices prior to the sales.

    Consumer General Secretary Thanassis Skordas, meanwhile, urged the public to avoid overspending or relying too heavily on credit cards and consumer loans to make purchases. He also warned the public to carefully check the quality of goods they bought, while stressing that shops did not have the right to refuse to replace or refund goods that were faulty because they were bought within the sales at a discount.

    The only exception was for goods sold at a discount because they were faulty, provided that the fault was clearly indicated and the buyer was aware of it at the time of the purchase.

    He also warned consumers not to get carried away by supposed high discounts or by selected "bait" products and carefully compare prices, and urged the public to contact the consumer general secretariat at 1520 to report problems or abuses, such as fake discounts or faulty goods.

    Finally, he warned that there will be constant inspections, with tough penalties for shop-owners who broke the rules, for example by hoarding stock or by trying to sell faulty or bad quality products, or not giving real discounts.

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