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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM and finmin discuss 2007-2013 NSRF
  • [02] Greece to issue 50-year bond
  • [03] Clashes at student protest in Athens

  • [01] PM and finmin discuss 2007-2013 NSRF

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held talks with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday to discuss upcoming legislation being prepared by the finance ministry.

    After the meeting, Alogoskoufis said that the top priority was to start implementing the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for 2007-2013.

    The ministers said that the draft bill was now in the final stages of preparation, with the European Commission's expected to give its approval in the first trimester of 2007. It is expected to go into effect in the first half of the year, by which time the relevant legislation will have been passed.

    The National Strategic Reference Framework is a new document required by EU regulations, in which member states outline their strategy for spending Structural Funds. It relates to the overall Community Strategic Guidelines which apply to the whole of the EU. The whole process is very closely aligned to the Lisbon agenda and each NSRF has to clearly show how the actions it proposes will further the EU push for competitiveness, growth and more and better jobs with increased social cohesion.

    Karamanlis also conferred on Wednesday morning with culture minister George Voulgarakis on matters falling under the ministry's jurisdicion. Voulgarakis said after the meeting that 2008 would be the year of Greece in China, and this required the mobilisation of many ministries.

    Karamanlis had just returned from a trip to Serbia, where on Tuesday he endorsed a mutually acceptable solution that would determine and promote Kosovo's multi-ethnic character, following a meeting with Serb prime minister Voijslav Kostunica in Belgrade.

    Karamanlis stressed that Greece, as a country within the region, was fully aware of the need for such a solution for the security and stability of southeastern Europe.

    Kostunica said that a solution must be based on compromise and must be in agreement with international law, while respecting the borders and the integrity of the country.

    He said that Serbia would not accept any solution that did not respect international law and the United Nations charter, nor any solution that was imposed and did not arise through compromise.

    The Serb premier also stressed that compromise could only be achieved through negotiations and voiced complaints about the lack of movement in UN-led negotiations over the past six months, though noting that UN special envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari was expected to present his proposals on January 26, shortly after general elections taking place in Serbia on Sunday.

    Karamanlis and Kostunica also discussed the construction of new roadways to enhance infrastructure in the area.

    Earlier on Tuesday, after being received by Serb President Boris Tadic, Karamanlis had stressed that the solution for Kosovo must respect human and minority rights, while providing protection to the Serb Orthodox Church in the province.

    The Greek prime minister underlined that all sides must avoid unilateral actions that attempt to pre-empt the results of the process now underway.

    Tadic stressed that Belgrade could not accept any form of independence for Kosovo and said that this would lead to destabilisation, noting that the Serb position could be summed up as "full autonomy, not independence". He also underlined that Serb policy for Kosovo would not be affected by the upcoming elections.

    In response to questions on possible independence for Kosovo, Karamanlis said that Greece had not shifted its position on this issue and was awaiting the UN envoy's proposals.

    In addition to Kosovo, Tadic and Karamanlis held talks on bilateral relations, noting that these were excellent and that Greece steadily supported Serbia's EuroAtlantic and European orientation. The Serb president noted that EU membership was among Belgrade's goals.

    [02] Greece to issue 50-year bond

    Greece plans to issue a 50-year bond, Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Petros Doukas said on Wednesday.

    ?We have this capability and this a very big success for the country,? the Greek minister said, adding that ?until 2003 state borrowing could reach only 20-year maturity?.

    Speaking to reporters, Doukas presented the Greek government‚s borrowing programme for 2007 which includes issues and re-issues of benchmark bonds and interest-bearing bills. The Greek state will issue 5-, 10- and 30-year bonds and one 15-year issue. The government will not issue three-year bonds. The 10-, 15- and 30-year bonds will be syndicated issues, while re-issues will be auctioned. Five-year issues will be auctioned, while the government will issue a syndicated inflation-linked bond loan depending on market conditions.

    The government hopes to raise around 28.5 billion euros through its borrowing programme this year, of which 17 billion through syndicated issues and 11.5 billion through auctions.

    Greece has successfully auctioned a 10-year benchmark bond. Bids offered totalled 8 billion euros, while the issue was 5.0 billion euros. The government will issue a 30-year bond in early February and two new benchmark bonds (one 15-year and an inflation-linked bond) in spring.

    Doukas said the government will issue three-, six- and 12-month bills totalling 1.0 billion euros and other strategic securities issues totalling 4.0 billion euros.

    [03] Clashes at student protest in Athens

    A rally in central Athens held to protest against a revision of article 16 of the Constitution erupted into violence on Wednesday. Shop windows, including a cafeteria and a bank, were smashed and four cars were torched along Fillelinon street during collisions between protestors and riot police, while police responded with use of teargas.

    The fires were attributed to firebombs lobbed at a car belonging to the Bosnia-Herzegovina embassy by masked anarchist and extreme-left elements, which frequently incite confrontations and clashes with police at protests and demonstrations in Athens. The fire then spread to three adjacent vehicles and a nearby cafeteria.

    Fire-engines stationed nearby responded immediately and quickly put out the blaze, while traffic and the protest march were interrupted during the fire-fighting operation.

    Minor clashes with police also occurred in the main body of the rally when protesting students attempted to break through a police cordon around Parliament but were repelled with limited use of teargas.

    Wednesday's rally had been organised in advance to coincide with a planned second debate on article 16 in Parliament, which did not finally take place as the debate was wrapped up on January 10.

    Taking part in the protest was Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alekos Alavanos, who underlined that the attempt to revise article 16 would not be permitted to pass.

    "Everyone wants state-run, high-quality, free universities open to all children that complete lyceum. Today the movement for article 16 meets with the movement for article 24, with the environmental movement, and they are reinforcing each other," he said.

    The debate in Parliament has now moved on to article 24 of the Constitution, which concerns the constitutional protection afforted to forests and forested expanses.

    Violent incidents, in which riot police officers briefly caught fire when attacked by firebombs, also occurred as the masked protestors withdrew from Syntagma Square and Panepistimiou toward the Athens Metsovian Polytechnic, where they barricaded themselves into the university grounds and threw stones and fire-bombs at police.

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