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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek FinMin stresses need to achieve Lisbon Strategy goals
  • [02] Fire on Mount Parnitha under control
  • [03] EKO oil company to fund programme for hospital ICUs

  • [01] Greek FinMin stresses need to achieve Lisbon Strategy goals

    National Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Monday referred to the measured being taken by the government in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy to promote economic competitiveness and employment in the EU.

    In an address at the ministry, Alogoskoufis said that cutbacks in expenditures and expansion of the taxation base were continuing, in tandem with the containment of tax evasion, in order to achieve the government's targets.

    "We must make clear the usefulness of reforms throughout the country," the minister said, adding that the government's ambitious effort to promote necessary reforms needed the active participation of all Greek citizens. The government's reform policy is based on two axis: rationalising public spending and boosting revenues and focus on tax evasion to minimise side effects on the economy and citizens.

    Alogoskoufis stressed its was of the highest importance to reduce the country's fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of GDP by the end of 2006 and noted the government's determination to accelerate structural reforms pace and to achieve the Lisbon Strategy goals.

    He reminded an improvement in business environment in the country and said that a new investment legislation was implemented with very encouraging results. Alogoskoufis said the government was promoting a new draft bill envisaging the creation of joint ventures betweel the public and private sectors in major projects around the country, while he underlined a policy to promote a new generation of privatisations and to make a more efficient use of state assets.

    The Greek minister said the ministry was at the last stages of drafting a new tax system for real estate assets and stressed that introduction of value added tax on new buildings would begin from January 1, 2006. Alogoskoufis said the government was reforming existing bankruptcy laws and stressed that the domestic banking system was now more competitive after resolving the sector's pension problem.

    'There's no time for complacency. We are fully aware of the significant benefits for our economy from achieving the goal's of Lisbon Strategy," he said.

    [02] Fire on Mount Parnitha under control

    Fire fighters managed to get a forest fire on Mount Parnitha under control at around 14:00 on Monday, roughly two hours after it was first reported. The fire broke out just above the Kapota army camp for unknown causes, near an inhabited area.

    Fire engines that arrived on the scene found that three different locations were on fire at the same time and houses appeared to be at serious risk, though damage to homes was eventually avoided. The fire also started to spread toward the monastery of Panaghia but was checked by fire-fighting teams.

    Taking part in the operation were 100 fire-fighters and 25 vehicles, 32 men of the special disaster response team EMAK, four fire-fighting aircraft and two helicopters, coordinated by deputy fire department chief Christos Smetis. Also on hand was Deputy Public Order Minister Christos Markoyiannakis, who came to monitor the work of putting out the blaze.

    An inquiry into the causes of the fire has been launched by the fire department's unit for handling crimes of arson, while fire engines remain in the area on standby, in case the blaze flares up again.

    [03] EKO oil company to fund programme for hospital ICUs

    The oil firm EKO, a subsidiary of Athens-quoted Hellenic Petroleum, has undertaken to equip two Intensive Care Units (ICUs) for Lamia general hospital, it was announced on Monday.

    The initiative is part of an innovative programme by the company to equip ICUs in regional hospitals located near dangerous stretches of highway, with a high accident rate. EKO has promised to make similar offers for hospitals in Corinth and Katerini in 2006 and 2007.

    The news was released during a press conference by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, who praised the company's initiative.

    Sioufas said that EKO has offered to buy and install all the equipment necessary for two ICU beds for patients with multiple injuries, saying that this was an initiative that would save lives and should be mimicked by others of the business community. He also emphasised that it marked the start of a movement of new national benefactors.

    Kaklamanis noted the need to update the system for donations, pointing out that several donations had become "stuck" at the finance ministry, while the imposition of taxes and VAT whittled down the sums by up to a third.

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