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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-04-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Papandreou in Cyprus on Sunday
  • [02] Samaras: Greece in 'borrowing crisis'
  • [03] Sharp drop in budget deficit in Q1
  • [04] Contraband cigarettes seized

  • [01] PM Papandreou in Cyprus on Sunday

    Prime minister George Papandreou is due in Cyprus on Sunday afternoon on a two-day working visit, during which he will meet with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and the leaders of the Cypriot parliamentary parties.

    Papandreou, who also holds the foreign ministry portfolio, will be met at Larnaka airport by Cyprus foreign minister Markos Kyprianou and the Under Secretary to the President Titos Christofides.

    According to the official programme of the visit, the Greek Prime Minister will be met at Larnaka airport by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyprianou and the Under Secretary to the President Titos Christofides.

    On Monday morning Papandreou will hold a tete-a-tete meeting at the Presidential Palace with President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.

    An extended meeting will follow with the participation of the leaders of the Cypriot parliamentary parties.

    The meeting will also be attended by Papandreou's alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas and government spokesman George Petalotis, Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Vassilis Papaioannou, Cypriot foreign minister Markos Kyprianou, government spokesman Stephanos Stephanou and Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou.

    On Monday afternoon Papandreou will be received by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus before departing for Athens.

    [02] Samaras: Greece in 'borrowing crisis'

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras said that Greece is in a borrowing crisis, for which the PASOK government is exclusively to blame, during an address to an ND pre-Congress event in Larissa.

    He also warned "all those who hurt the party" that "they have no place in the party, they are cut out".

    In October 2009, he said, the Greek economy was in a deficit crisis, but "this also held true for most, almost all, the countries of Europe, and particularly of the eurozone".

    "Greece was not the exception," he stressed, but "PASOK, with its unbelievable gaffes, with its procrastination, with its amateurism and inconsistency, transformed a deficit crisis into a borrowing crisis, which is much worse".

    "PASOK managed, in a few short months, to convert the deficit crisis into a unique, only in Greece, and very heavy state borrowing crisis," he added.

    Samaras blamed the preceding ND government for creating the big deficit because it had not done from the beginning, when it first took office, whatever it could to reign in the huge deficits and immense borrowing it inherited from its PASOK predecessors, and had hesitated in proceeding with changes.

    [03] Sharp drop in budget deficit in Q1

    The annualised budget deficit decreased by 39.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010, topping an initial target of 30.2 percent, Greece's General Accounting Office (GAO) announced on Friday, echoing statements a day earlier by the finance minister.

    According to the GAO, the deficit reached 4.326 billion euros, down from the 7.119 billion euro figure for the corresponding quarter of 2009.

    Additionally, net revenues increased by 9.7 percent in relation to the same period last year, although the figure did not reach the stability programme target of 11.7 percent. Regular budget expenditures decreased by 3 percent, with the target being 3.5 percent.

    [04] Contraband cigarettes seized

    Police seized a Ukraine-flagged ship carrying more than one million packets of contraband cigarettes in the early hours of Saturday in the Thermaic Gulf just south of Thessaloniki, and arrested its 7-member crew.

    According to a Citizens' Protection ministry announcement the police, in a coordinated operation, spotted the freighter "SVESA" in the sea in the area of Halastra at about 3:00 a.m. as the 7-member crew, all foreign nationals, were attempting to unload the illegal cargo.

    The ship was immoblised and escorted by a Coastguard vessel to the port of Thessaloniki, where it arrived two hours later.

    The freighter was carrying 2,024 master cases containing approximately 1,012,000 packets of cigarettes, although the precise count was in progress at noon Saturday.

    The local prosecutor, who was immediately informed of the incident, ordered the arrest of the crew and a case file to be drawn up by the Special Audits Service.

    The SVESA and the contraband cigarettes were seized.

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