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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Changes and reforms to continue, PM stresses
  • [02] OECD: Greek economy to improve in 2006-07
  • [03] New foreign ministry website to be presented on Wednesday

  • [01] Changes and reforms to continue, PM stresses

    The government was determined to carry on with its policy of radical reform, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis underlined on Tuesday, during an event at the Zappion building in Athens to mark the 30th anniversary of the Political Research and Communication Centre.

    Karamanlis noted that courage and determination were needed to continue reforms and changes during the present era, in which both challenges and opportunities were increasing while Greece had lagged behind due to the mistakes and omissions of the past.

    The premier said that Greece was behind the rest of Europe in the most crucial economic indicators and had entered the new age burdened with the problems of the past. He also stressed that the practices of the past could not be repeated.

    "Solutions can't be found by covering up the problems, Greece does not go back," he added.

    Fundamental for dealing with the problems was to have a strategy and the agreement of society, Karamanlis said and expressed confidence that the government had both.

    He also reiterated the government's determination to deal head-on with phenomena of corruption and show zero tolerance for graft, while stressing that there was a change in climate and that the government was encouraging every effort for transparency.

    During the last elections, the voters did not simply elect a new government but a new form of governance. They chose responsibility for the present and the future, Karamanlis added.

    The premier referred to the bill for state-run public utility companies that was discussed during Tuesday's cabinet meeting, saying that it was introducing reforms and trimming down the broader public sector, introducing international accounting standards into the operation of state services and reinforcing the supervision of state-run public utilities by the appropriate bodies.

    He said the bill would not impinge on the articles of labour law or that of the civil service recruitment body ASEP.

    [02] OECD: Greek economy to improve in 2006-07

    Greek economic growth is expected to slow to 3.3 percent in 2006 from 3.5 pct this year and to rise again to 3.5 pct in 2007, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday.

    In its world economic outlook report, the Paris-based organisation said economic growth slowed to 3.5 pct this year, from 4.7 pct in 2004, due a decline in investment activity after the Olympic Games. OECD, however, stressed that Greek economic growth surpassed the Eurozone's average growth rates.

    The organisation forecast Greek inflation to slow to 3.25 pct in the next two years while the current accounts deficit to remain at high levels over the same period. The inflation rate is forecast to slow from 3.6 pct in 2005, to 3.4 pct next year and to 3.0 pct in 2007.

    Public consumption is expected to fall to 1.3 pct in 2006 and 2007, from 2.9 pct this year.

    OECD said Greece's fiscal deficit would remain above 3.0 pct of the country's gross domestic product over the next two years. The deficit is expected to total 4.5 pct of GDP this year, to fall to 3.2 pct in 2006 and rise again to 3.6 pct in 2007.

    The organisation urged for a more efficient control of public spending and for new interventions in the pension system and public administration. It also supported changes in public sector enterprises.

    OECD said an expected recovery in economic growth rates in 2007 would be a result of strong domestic demand in Greece, while investments are expected to benefit from a gradual fall in corporate taxes, the introduction of a new legislation offering investment incentives and a law promoting joint ventures between the public and private sectors.

    Recent measures, aimed to strengthening flexibility in labour markets and boosting competition in product markets are also expected to contribute to higher growth rates and to boost employment in the country, OECD said. The organisation expects the unemployment rate to reach 10.6 pct this year and to fall to 10.5 pct in 2006 and 10.3 pct in 2007.

    Domestic demand will continue benefiting from favourable financial conditions in the country and low real interest rates. Demand is forecast to grow by 2.5 pct this year, from 4.5 pct in 2004 and to accelerate to 3.0 pct in 2006 and 3.4 pct in 2007.

    Greek exports are forecast to grow strongly, from 7.8 pct this year to 8.2 pct in 2006 and 8.8 pct in 2007, while imports are forecast to grow by 1.3 pct, 7.2 pct and 7.1 pct over the same years, respectively.

    OECD said a fiscal restructuring effort needed more control of primary spending and fundamental reforms in social spending and public administration. The organisation said it expected the country's general government's deficit to ease to 4.5 pct of GDP this year and to 3.2 pct in 2006 (including the government's temporary measures accounting for 0.6 pct of GDP). It noted, however, that lack of new structural measures would lead the deficit to 3.6 pct of GDP in 2007.

    OECD stressed the significance of combatting tax evasion and supported government plans to improve the operation of public sector enterprises.

    [03] New foreign ministry website to be presented on Wednesday

    The Greek foreign ministry's new website will be presented on Wednesday morning at the ministry's 'Yiannis Kranidiotis' amphitheatre by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis.

    According to a press announcement, the website was designed to promote Greek foreign policy in the fullest and most reliable way, in order to further the ministry's basic positions and goals and publicise its work.

    It will provide prompt and reliable information on current affairs in real time, while there will constant monitoring of the latest developments and regular updates and additions to its contents.

    The site will also facilitate access to ministry services for Greek citizens, Greeks living abroad and foreign nationals and will provide links to useful websites for users seeking more information, such as to international organisations, public agencies, research centres and others.

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