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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-07-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Bakoyannis addresses forum
  • [02] Gov't on OTE
  • [03] Stocks end flat

  • [01] Bakoyannis addresses forum

    Greece's political and economic backing for the rekindling of the "Union for the Mediterranean" initiative was reaffirmed on Thursday by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis during an address at the Euro-Mediterranean Business Forum in Athens, attended by hundreds of businessmen from the Mediterranean countries.

    The three-day forum, which concludes on Friday, is organised by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) with the support of the foreign ministry.

    "The Greek business community responded quickly and effectively to this call of the times for the beginning of a new era for the Mediterranean. You are all under the same roof and are discussing specific programs: new business collaborations and new opportunities for the Mediterranean," Bakoyannis said.

    She said that Greece, in tandem with its European orientation, remained a Mediterranean state, and its main goal was for the region to further develop its good neighborhood relations and its creative cooperation with all the neighboring states at bilateral and multilateral level.

    It is not incidental that Greece is considered a frank and credible partner by all the sides in the Middle East issue, Bakoyannis said, recalling that Athens, due to the confidence it enjoys in the region, had succeeded during the Greek president of the UN Security Council to organise a conference on the Middle East problem at foreign ministers level. "For the same reason, we were invited to take part in the Annapolis conference on the Middle East peace process," she added.

    Referring to the interaction between the Mediterranean North and South, Bakoyannis noted that the EU was looking to the South with developmental policies and initiatives for even closer cooperating with all the countries of the region while, on the other side, large communities from the countries of the South were living and working in the EU member countries, while millions of Europeans visit the Mediterranean countries every year.

    The Greek foreign minister also outlined the main tools of European policy on the Mediterranean basin, the European Neighborhood Policy and the Barcelona Process, but also noted the inability so far to reach the desired level of development both political and economically.

    "It is a pressing need to more efficiently organise the EU's political and economic cooperation with its partners from the South under a more cohesive political umbrella. The Union for the Mediterranean aspires to achieve just that," Bakoyannis said, adding that this was the reason why Greece had welcomed French president Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal from the outset and contributed substantially to its development.

    Bakoyannis said that although we wanted this new Union to avert the political stumbling blocks that have plagued the Barcelona Process on occasion, due to the serious situation in the Middle East, we nevertheless are facing big delays, and the situation in the Middle East remains uncertain.

    She expressed, however, her satisfaction with the formal resumption of the efforts for the Union of the Mediterranean, with the July 7 meeting of the Euro-Med senior officials in Brussels, and voiced her conviction that substantial efforts have been set in motion for the establishment of a Secretariat.

    [02] Gov't on OTE

    The Greek government on Thursday announced it would ask Deutsche Telekom AG to buy an additional 5.0 pct equity stake in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, completing an option included in a contract signed between the two parts on May 14, 2008. The announcement was made after a meeting of the Inter-governmental Privatisation Commission comprising Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, Employment and Social Protection Minister Fani Palli-Petralia and Transport and Communications Minister Euripides Stylianides.

    In an announcement, the commission said the sale of a 5.0 pct equity stake would not affect the state‚s rights in controlling Hellenic Telecoms, as envisaged in a shareholders‚ agreement signed between the Greek state and Deutsche Telekom.

    Under the plan, approved by the government ministers, the offer price for the 5.0 pct stake will be 27.5 euros per share, more than double Wednesday‚s closing price of 10.66 euros. The Greek state will raise 674 million euros from the sale.

    [03] Stocks end flat

    Greek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday reflecting lack of fresh incentives and directions from the market. The composite index eased 0.12 pct to end at 2,160.73 points, with turnover at 114.6 million euros, of which 12.9 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved lower, with the Health (4.16 pct), Insurance (4.14 pct) and Commerce (1.69 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Oil (2.03 pct), Technology (1.66 pct) and Food/Beverage (1.45 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index eased 0.24 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.78 pct down and the FTSE 80 index eased 0.68 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 122 to 80 with another 47 issues unchanged.

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