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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Alogoskoufis calls for dialogue on pension system
  • [02] Anxiety peaks in Evros as more floodbanks give way
  • [03] Funeral for George Rallis held in Athens

  • [01] Alogoskoufis calls for dialogue on pension system

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Thursday urged for a debate in parliament and dialogue between social partners over the country‚s pension system.

    The Greek minister, addressing an open seminar in Athens, unveiled the government‚s economic goals for the sustainability of finances, its central role in Southeastern Europe and the Balkans and raising workers‚ incomes.

    Alogoskoufis said Greek workers‚ income was around 70 percent of the EU-15 average. ?Efforts have been made lately to move closer to other member-states‚ rates but wages remain low,? he added. He stressed that the need to achieve a wage convergence, based on healthier economic bases through higher productivity and improved competitiveness. ?He give much emphasis on the long-term reform of the economy and transformations must be made in the private sector as well. We cannot compete other countries that base their economic growth to low labour costs. Instead, we must emphasize on innovation, product quality and large investments.?

    Alogoskoufis stressed that moves to support enterprises were often misunderstood. ?What we do for enterprises are in the interest of natural persons, since enterprises are paying workers‚ wages,? he noted.

    The Greek minister predicted that economic growth rates in Southeastern Europe and the Balkans would remain high in the next years, and predicted that the region could become the next economic miracle of Europe in the next five-to-10 years.

    Alogoskoufis said the government was promoting privatization to reduce its public debt while he added that other ways would be sought to deal with the problem. He noted that Greek banks had further room to cut their lending interest rates and predicted high growth rates for the Greek economy in the future.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] Anxiety peaks in Evros as more floodbanks give way

    Those living near the shores of the Evros river in northern Greece passed another difficult night in the early hours of Thursday, as floodbanks gave way and released vast quantities of water that flooded several homes and turned roads into rivers.

    Elderly residents in the village of Praggi in Didimotichos had to be evacuated as most homes in the village were flooded, while one man said that the villagers had not seen that much water since 1963.

    Serious problems also occurred in Lavara, where 72 houses were flooded and had to be evacuated, with the residents now staying with relatives.

    In many villages throughout the prefecture, people can only get about in boats as roads and fields are flooded.

    Evros Prefect Nikolaos Zabounidis said that more than 30,000 hectares have been flooded in the area.

    Water levels remain high at several points along the rivers on Thursday, well above alarm levels, since despite a reduction in the volume of water coming down from the Ardas river there are still large quantities of water coming from further upstream on the Evros river.

    Alavanos visits flood-stricken areas

    The head of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party Alekos Alavanos paid a visit to the flood-stricken areas in the prefecture on Thursday, at the head of a delegation from his party.

    Speaking to reporters, Alavanos noted that he had been in the area last year on March 15 for exactly the same reason.

    "It's become something of an annual 'fair of shame' to come here for things that are predictable, for disasters that could have been dealt with and to declare our presence. I am ashamed because, at some point, what should come are infrastructure works against flooding and dams. At some point it must be demanded, especially from our northern neighbours, that they take measures not to overload the Evros river with waters from upstream," he stressed.

    He also noted that there were considerable funds for cross-border programmes with Turkey and Bulgaria that had not yet been spent.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [03] Funeral for George Rallis held in Athens

    Greece's entire political leadership gathered at the Athens 1st Cemetery on Thursday to bid a final farewell to former premier George Rallis, who died of heart failure on Wednesday at the age of 88.

    The former premier was given a state funeral, with honours usually reserved for acting prime ministers.

    Honour guards from all three branches of the Armed Forces paid tribute to the late politician as his remains, covered in a Greek flag, were carried from the small chapel in the cemetery to his final resting place at the Rallis family tomb.

    The service was led by Archibishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who announced that the wish of the departed was a modest and simple ceremony without funeral orations.

    Among those who came to pay their respects and offer their condolences to the widow Lena Ralli and the family were Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou, Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, former presidents of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Christos Sartzetakis, former premiers Constantine Mitsotakis, Costas Simitis, Yiannis Grivas and Tzannis Tzannetakis, almost the entire cabinet and a host of politicians from all parties.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party both sent representatives to the funeral, which was also attended by hundreds of ordinary citizens.

    Among the hundreds of wreaths was one sent by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, who was represented at the funeral by his secretary K. Georgiou.

    Earlier in the day, Parliament observed one minute's silence in honour of the late premier.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

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