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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece aims to promote convention tourism
  • [02] Papandreou demands that finance minister resign
  • [03] Greece and Kuwait discuss economic cooperation

  • [01] Greece aims to promote convention tourism

    Greece's tourism development ministry is currently drafting eight marketing plans aimed to better promote the country in the international market, Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said on Friday.

    Addressing the 2nd national conference of HAPCO on the subject of "Convention Tourism today: challenges and prospects", Palli-Petralia said the ministry has already issued a special CD on convention tourism and added that one of the strategic plans of a new marketing envisaged specific actions to promote convention tourism.

    "There is no alternative tourism for the ministry," she said, adding that there was a single portfolio of tourist products and services aimed to satisfy modern tourism experience.

    The impeccable hosting of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the upgrading of infrastructure created a series of advantages capable of attracting convention tourism in Greece, Petralia said, adding that if Greece wanted to compete with Cannes, Barcelona, Milan and other well-established convention draws in Europe it must offer something more, and something different to make the country's offer more competitive.

    The Greek minister said it was necessary to promote closer cooperation between the public and private sectors and reiterated the creation of a large conference center in Athens and the formation of a National Convention Bureau, based on international standards.

    Convention tourism is rapidly growing internationally with more than 35,000 convention events held in the last 10 years, with a turnover more than 3.5 billion euros. Europe hosts more than 60 percent of global conventions.

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

    [02] Papandreou demands that finance minister resign

    Main opposition leader George Papandreou on Friday demanded that Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis be removed from the government following the minister's disparaging statements in Parliament about Greece's entry into the Eurozone.

    Addressing PASOK's National Council, Papandreou said that Alogoskoufis had committed a "misstep" of national gravity when he termed the country's Eurozone entry a "scam", while stressing that the minister was representing the government of Costas Karamanlis at the time.

    He challenged the prime minister to take a stand, either backing the minister's statement and taking responsibility for it or else demanding that Alogoskoufis's resignation.

    The main opposition leader also underlined a report decision by Eurostat that he said vindicated the methods used by PASOK governments to record defence expenditures, which meant that the excessive deficit procedures initiated against Greece were unnecessary. At the same time, he accused the government of initiating its controversial "fiscal audit" for party-political reasons, in a bid to discredit PASOK that ended up discrediting the country.

    Its other results were an increase in VAT, high prices on the market, the refusal to give heating subsidies, reduced pay increases, lost opportunities in the regions and non-payment of increases for the EKAS low-pension income support benefit and OGA pensions, he said.

    In a speech highly critical of the prime minister, Papandreou further accused Karamanlis of choosing to cover-up the illegal phone-tapping affair, which he described as the biggest scandal in the post-junta era in Greece, and thus allowing those responsible to escape justice.

    PASOK's leader also set his targets on the government's decisions concerning the purchase of F-16 Block 52+ fighter planes, questioning both the original agreement for the purchase of 30 planes and the subsequent decision not to use an option to buy 10 more.

    He asked whether the prime minister had come under pressure from Greece's EU partners to buy European planes in exchange for approval of Greece's Stability Programme, asserting that Karamanlis and his government had "lost the power to negotiate, of standing and autonomous decision because of their repeated mistakes in the economy and foreign policy."

    Finally, Papandreou referred to the government's proposals concerning a revision of the Constitution but dismissed them as attempts to divert attention from the budget.

    National Council president's address

    The National Council meeting was also addressed by its president Mariliza Xenoyannakopoulou, who saw a reversal of the political climate as a result of the government's policies.

    According to Xenoyannakopoulou, the "countdown" had begun first of all in the minds of Greek voters and was not a passing phenomenon but was now being reflected in opinion polls.

    It expressed the insecurity that voters felt from ND's governance, on the one hand, and also the fact that PASOK was now "forging ahead" and consolidating this change of climate by daily building up a new relation of trust with voters.

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

    [03] Greece and Kuwait discuss economic cooperation

    No time should be lost in developing business and investment activity between Greece and Kuwait, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Styliandis stressed on Friday after a meeting with the head of a Kuwaiti parliamentary delegation visiting Greece, Marzouk al Habini.

    The minister pointed out that this was a crucial time when Kuwait was seeking suitable investments for its surplus capital.

    According to Stylianidis, the years 2006 and 2007 would see an "opening of Greek economic diplomacy in the East Mediterranean, the countries of the Gulf and the Arab world in general," while he stressed that Greece traditionally has extremely good political and cultural ties with these areas that were not reflected by the level of economic and trade transactions.

    Greece's priorities are to boost Greek exports to Arab countries, increase Greek business presence in those countries and attract Arab capital to Greece, as a gateway to the Balkans and to western Europe, the minister said.

    The minister also noted that a host of bilateral cooperation agreements had been signed since 1979, while the agreements that were still outstanding - for mutual protection of investments, maritime transport, tourism cooperation and judicial support - were now in the final stages.

    Al Habini said that special effort needed to be made to boost investments and the volume of trade transactions, agreeing that economic relations lagged well behind the excellent political ties even though the legal framework was almost complete.

    He stressed that Kuwait's investments abroad came to 100 billion dollars but almost nothing of this had been in Greece.

    "Because of the rise in oil prices, we have a huge surplus of capital that is looking for markets for safe and profitable investment," Al-Habini said, while stressing that moves on the Greek side should be made quickly or else the capital would be invested elsewhere.

    Stylianidis asked the Kuwaiti delegation to inform their country's business community of the Greek state companies now undergoing privatisation, such as Olympic Airlines and the deregulated energy market. He also noted the incentives to foreign investors provided by the country's developmental laws to develop new sectors, such as trade and transit centres on roads, tourism and manufacturing.

    The minister also announced that a business forum for Arab countries will be held in Athens in September with the participation of mixed Chambers of commerce under the auspices of the foreign ministry, while he revealed that the Greek government hoped to carry out a series of visits to Mediteranean and Gulf countries within the year, to be carried out by either the president, foreign minister or deputy foreign ministers.

    The Kuwaiti delegation included five MPs that were members of the Greece-Kuwait Friendship Groups and Kuwait's Ambassador in Athens.

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


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