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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Inner Cabinet approves operational plan for 4th CSF
  • [02] FinMin: ECOFIN decision justifies govt's economic policies
  • [03] PASOK criticises 'excessive bonuses' for OTE executives

  • [01] Inner Cabinet approves operational plan for 4th CSF

    The Inner Cabinet on Tuesday approved a recommendation by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos for implementation of a special operational plan linked with the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF).

    The session was chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    On his part, Pavlopoulos reiterated that such a plan did not exist for the 3rd CSF, which resulted in delays in the education sector. Additionally, he said the plan now takes into account the EU directives and the "particularities" of the public administration in Greece.

    On their part, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou briefed the Inner Cabinet on the final implementation of a programme, "Diodos", allowing free Internet broadband access for college students and university staff.

    Before the Inner Cabinet meeting, Karamanlis met jointly with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis.

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    [02] FinMin: ECOFIN decision justifies govt's economic policies

    "The evaluation and recommendation by the EU's Council of Economy Ministers regarding Greece's updated stability and growth programme for the period 2005-2008 are positive and fully justify the government's choices in economic policy," Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters after an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, Alogoskoufis said the Council, with its decision, stressed that the Greek programme was reliable and that the government strictly adhered to its 2005 budget provisions, fulfilling its commitments with the aim to reduce its fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent GDP by the end of 2006.

    He added that total adjustment in the period 2005-06 was four percentage points of GDP compared with 2004. "This is a very significant adjustment," Alogoskoufis said, adding that 3.5 percentage points were attributed to the introduction of structural measures by the government.

    "2005 was a difficult year for the Greek economy, since it followed the Olympic Games and we have had to avoid the danger of economic recession," Alogoskoufis said. "With the right mixture policy and structural reforms, Greece achieved a 3.7 pct growth rate in 2005, among the highest in Eurozone, it reduced unemployment and achieved a very significant fiscal adjustment."

    "The Greek government's effort was even harder since revenues were down compared with forecasts early last year. The government, however, acted swiftly to combat tax-evasion and its moves already bring results". Alogoskoufis said, adding that budget revenues were up 6.4 pct last year, exceeding a 5.0 percent budget target for the year.

    Alogoskoufis also said that country's fiscal deficit fell to 4.3 pct of GDP last year, while public revenues jumped 17.7 pct in January, with VAT proceeds up 18.1 pct in the same month.

    Moreover, he said the government aimed to continue efforts for economic restructuring in 2007 and 2008 with the aim to bring its deficit to 1.7 pct of GDP in 2008, strictly through permanent measures.

    The EU acknowledges that the structural adjustment, included in the Greek state budget, was exceeding 0.6 pct of GDP as required by the Council and that the country's public debt was adequately reduced. Alogoskoufis said the Council's recommendations urged Greece to fully implement structural initiatives aimed to cut its fiscal deficit with the need of additional measures.

    Alogoskoufis said the government and Eurostat would continue technical consultations for at least two months to agree on fiscal data on insurance funds and municipal authorities, although he stressed that the significance of any decisions resulting from these consultations would be only fractional.

    Finally, the minister said that "patriotic economic protection" instances (in France, Luxembourg, Italy, etc) to prevent the sale of state enterprises to foreign investors, was not in the benefit of a country like Greece.

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    [03] PASOK criticises 'excessive bonuses' for OTE executives

    Main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou on Tuesday turned his attention to bonuses paid out to several executives at the state-run and listed Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), charging that exorbitant benefits are being given to the few while paltry wages are handed to the many employees at the telephony utility.

    Papandreou, who spoke to the coordinating body of PASOK's Parliament group, said the action was indicative of the government's choices, while citing what he called the "fraudulent" fiscal audit, the mobile phone tapping affair, efforts to manipulate the justice system and to abolish collective bargaining agreements.

    In an unrelated development, Papandreou announced that a PASOK delegation will tour flood-ravaged Evros prefecture.

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