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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-10

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Debate on Article 16 revision opens in parliament
  • [02] PM: Consensus, dialogue on edu reforms
  • [03] CSF progress, regional development

  • [01] Debate on Article 16 revision opens in parliament

    The parliamentary ad hoc commitee on revision of the Constitution opened its debate on Wednesday on revision of Article 16 of the Constitution to enable the establishment of non-state, non-profit universities.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday described Education as a "national issue on which there must be a broad consensus", during meetings with education minister Marietta Yannakou, and with the presidium of the Panhellenic Federation of Teachers' Organsations and University Research Personnel (POSDEP).

    At the same time, prime minister Costas Karamanlis reiterated his determination for reforms in the Education sector to proceed through consensus and dialogue, and without hasty moves, during a meeting on Wednesday with the chairman of parliament's standing committee on educational affairs, MP (ruling ND party) Tassos Spiliopoulos.

    Meanwhile, ducational organisations have called a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, with rallies in Athens and other major cities throughout the country also being held to protest the planned revision of Article 16.

    [02] PM: Consensus, dialogue on edu reforms

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reiterated his will to proceed with Education reforms through consensus and dialogue, and without hasty moves, during a meeting on Wednesday with the chairman of parliament's Standing Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs (New Democracy MP) Tasos Spiliopoulos.

    Spiliopoulos also briefed Karamanlis on the inter-party committee report on the ?doping? issue and transparency in Greek sports as well as on the course of the dialogue concerning university reforms. He said that the objective is to proceed with reforms with the greatest consensus possible.

    Responding to the question on the draft dodgersâ issue, Spiliopoulos opined that the names should be made public.

    The prime minister also met with Parliament vice-president Sotiris Hatzigakis and discussed his suggestions aimed at upgrading parliament, as well as the Education reforms issue.

    Reforms in Education need to move ahead for realistic reasons as a result of globalization, and for social reasons as well, Hatzigakis told reporters after the meeting.

    Education reforms, he added, will benefit the weaker social strata and social groups such as students, the youth, farmers and the middle class.

    Referring to the upgrading of parliament, Hatzigakis suggested the establishment of a team that will deal with European issues given the fact that based on the subsidiarity principle in the European Constitution, the Greek parliament will be divided between Greece and Europe.

    [03] CSF progress, regional development

    National economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday chaired a meeting at the ministry, attended by deputy minister Christos Folias and ministry secretary general for investments Constantine Mousouroulis, as well as the regional general secretaries, to review the materialisation of projects under the country's Regional Operational Programmes (PEP) and planning for the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA).

    During the meeting, Alogoskoufis referred to the immense effort made in 2006 so avert the loss of EU funds earmarked for Greece under the Third Community Support Framework (CSF).

    He described as "relatively satisfactory" the absorption rate, which had more than doubled to 58 percent at the end of 2006, compared with 23 percent in 2004 (when New Democracy took over as government).

    At the same time, however, he described 2007 as a "very difficult year" because there were fewer margins for flexibility than up to the present.

    Alogoskoufis announced that the meetings between the ministry leadership and the general secretaries of the regions would henceforth be on a monthly basis, taking place on the last Friday of each month, aiming at better coordination, while he at the same time acknowledged the difficulties given that there was a dual task to be accomplished in 2007, namely, advancement of the Third CSF, and the "dynamic commencement" of the National Strategic Reference Framework, which was slated for approval by the European Commission by end-March, while the operational programmes (PEP) would be approved in the first half of 2007.

    The target, he continued, was to boost the developmental momentum of the periphery, adding that 82 percent of the ESPA funds would be chanelled to the periphery.

    Alogoskoufis further referred to the proposals pending for the development of the sector of technologies, such as the third cycle of proclamations of the SMEs, noting that 5,700 proposals have been submitted, with an overall projected expenditure of 230 million euros, and which are expected to create 7,000 new jobs.

    He added that a new system of management and supervision of expenditures would be in effect for the ESPA.

    Folias, in turn, said that no well-intentioned individual could dispute the progress made in the Third CSF and the fact that the system of management and supervision had been streamlined. He added that with every month and year that passes, Greece was becoming an increasingly credible partner, stressing that the slogan for the effort should be "no euro for expenditure, and up to the very last euro for investment".


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