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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM outlines proposals for Constitutional revision to party parliamentary group
  • [02] GDP up 4 pct in first quarter 2006
  • [03] Greek donation to the UN World Food Program
  • [04] Exporters demand quick econ reforms

  • [01] PM outlines proposals for Constitutional revision to party parliamentary group

    Substantial changes that focused on seven main areas, including the much-debated and controversial sanctioning of private universities and the easing of an absolute ban on MPs having paid employment while in office, were included in a set of proposals outlined on Thursday by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for revising the Greek Constitution.

    Addressing a special meeting of ruling New Democracy's Parliamentary group, Karamanlis said the changes placed emphasis on modernising education, independent justice, environmental protection, protection of property (including intellectual property), ensuring a state of law in the service of citizens, strong local government and laws that guaranteed transparency.

    The premier stressed that the proposed revision of the Constitution would be unaffected by party expediencies and will consolidate the refoundation of the State.

    Karamanlis also outlined the details of the proposed revision article by article.

    Among these are changes to article 14 governing the restrictions on media owners undertaking government contracts, changes to article 16 that allow the foundation of private, non-profit universities, introduction of tighter control of party finances and campaign funding, better protection of property and copyright and a redefinition of Parliamentary immunity.

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    [02] GDP up 4 pct in first quarter 2006

    Greece's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by four percentage points in the first quarter of 2006, compared to the corresponding quarter in 2005, national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis revealed on Wednesday. The corresponding increase in the first quarter of 2005, as against the corresponding quarter in 2004, was 3.4 percent.

    This data was provided by Alogoskoufis during his address at the joint session of the Parliamentary Economic and Social Affairs Committees on the "Discussion on the social insurance system."

    The four percent increase in GDP during the first quarter of 2006, compared to the corresponding quarter in 2005, will be officially announced on Thursday by the National Statistical Service of Greece.

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

    [03] Greek donation to the UN World Food Program

    Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis on Thursday signed a memorandum of cooperation with the UN's World Food Program (WFP) while at the same time announcing an additional 1.1-million euro donation, thus increasing Greece's contribution to international aid efforts.

    Last year, Greece's contribution to WFP reached its highest level ever with donations close to three million euros for emergency needs and scheduled relief programmes.

    After signing the Memorandum of Cooperation with Greece at the WFP headquarters in Rome on Wednesday, WFP deputy executive director John Powell stated that the organisation is deeply grateful for Athens' increased commitment to assist the world's poor and hungry.

    This latest contribution raises overall Greek donations to 1.7 million euros, including extra funding for several crucial but less publicised WFP programmes in Guinea-Bissau, Malawi and the Central African Republic. In 2005, more than 2.5 million euros were donated by Greece for tsunami victims in the Indian Ocean archipelagos, Indonesia, Somalia and Sri Lanka, while about 500,000 euros were donated to Armenia, Djibouti, Georgia, Mali, Niger and South Africa.

    The deputy foreign minister also announced that the foreign ministry will sponsor a Greek version of "Food Force", a WFP educational video game targeting children between the ages of eight and 13 afflicted by a humanitarian crisis situation.

    Since April 2005, an estimated four million people have downloaded the game to their computers and has been translated into Chinese, Italian, French, Japanese and Polish.

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

    [04] Exporters demand quick econ reforms

    Exporters demanded that the government proceed as quickly as possible with announced economic reforms, during the annual meeting of the Panhellenic Exporters' Association (PSE), held in Athens on Wednesday.

    Unless reforms are quickly implemented, rising energy and shipping prices and the increased cost of borrowing will not allow the exports sector to perform well, exporters said.

    While exports increased during the past year and are expected to do so this year as well, "uncertainty is intensifying and basic weaknesses surrounding export activity remain," PSE President Christina Sakellaridi said.

    For this reason, a new and comprehensive strategy must be implemented, she added.

    One of the main weaknesses in the Greek export sector, according to PSE, is the Greek economy's difficulty in adapting to the new demands of the international environment, which does not allow a faster transition from traditional products to products which require higher technology and skilled labour.

    According to Sakellaridi, the increase in exports in 2005 by 13.1% - the highest increase in the post-World War II period - is due to the euro's devaluation against the dollar and other currencies, an increase in demand in export-significant regions, the development of export activity in new markets and government policy which capitalised on favourable conditions.

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

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