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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-10-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 'Vote of confidence' in Greece
  • [02] Finmin: no new wage cuts in draft budget
  • [03] Agreement for direct investments in Greece, China
  • [04] Wen Jiabao meets ND leader
  • [05] Papariga urges vote for KKE
  • [06] Visits to Acropolis, Piraeus

  • [01] 'Vote of confidence' in Greece

    ANA-MPA - Addressing the Greek Parliament on Sunday during the second day of an official visit to Greece, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao gave China's "vote of confidence" in Greece's future, saying that through closer cooperation China could help Greece quickly overcome its present difficulties.

    During a speech attended Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, the leaders of the Parliamentary groups, former Parliament presidents, MPs and representatives of Greek industry and business, Wen said the effort to deepen and develop Greek-Chinese cooperation should focus on boosting bilateral trade, shipping and transport, science and tourism.

    Wen's speech particularly emphasised relations between the EU and China and pointed to figures showing that EU exports to China had increased 42 percent in the first half of 2010.

    He underlined that his country was steadfastly pursuing a "win-win" strategy in its dealings with the rest of the world and that China supports a stable euro.

    At the end of the Chinese premier's address, Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos presented him with Parliament's gold medal. (ANA-MPA)

    Meeting with President Papoulias, visit to Acropolis

    Prior to addressing Parliament, Wen was received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias at the presidential mansion and paid a visit to the Athens Acropolis. He also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and met briefly with Parliament President Philippos Petsalnikos.

    Immediately after the meeting with the president, which also attended by Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, President Papoulias hosted a dinner for the Chinese premier, the Chinese delegation, several cabinet ministers and Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos. ANA-MPA

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    [02] Finmin: no new wage cuts in draft budget

    The draft budget to be announced on Monday does not envisage any further wage cuts, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said in an interview published by the newspaper "To Vima" on Sunday. He announced that an outline of the new structure of the civil servants' wage scale will be announced toward the end of 2010 and may come into force in the middle of 2011.

    "Our logic is to incorporate most benefits in the wage - so that they are included in the calcuation for a pension - but to carefully set limits on the growth of payroll costs," he said.

    He repeated a forecast that Greece will return to positive growth figures in 2012, after the first two years of the stabilisation, promising that the "dividends" of growth would go to those that made the greatest sacrifices.

    Papaconstantinou stressed that those on low pensions would be the first group to have their income boosted, as soon as the state budget made this possible.

    "The prime minister himself as asked that - and this will be done," he noted, adding that the ministry was trying to implement the prime minister's pledge as quickly as possible.

    During the interview, meanwhile, he entirely dismissed main opposition New Democracy's claim that the crisis could be overcome through boosting growth and selling state property as "a fairy-tale for small children". The ND government under Costas Karamanlis "had ensured that Greece was considered the least reliable transaction party in the Eurozone," he added.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] Agreement for direct investments in Greece, China

    Chinese direct investments in Greece and equivalent Greek investments in China are foreseen in a memorandum to boost bilateral cooperation in investments signed by Greek Regional Development and Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis and his Chinese counterpart Chen De Ning.

    The memorandum was one of 13 bilateral agreements signed by Greece and China on Saturday, after the arrival of the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in Athens. The deal is part of a bilateral agreement for economic, industrial and technological cooperation and aims to support existing investments but also encourage new investments by both sides that introduce new areas of economic activity.

    The two sides will increase the mutual exchange of information concerning investment legislation, policy and investment opportunities in order to further assist investors from both countries. At the same time, Greek companies will be encouraged to enter into partnerships with Chinese companies in China and vice-versa.

    Tools used to achieve these aims will include seminars, visits to outline investment opportunities, meetings and exhibitions for investors and for trade, use of the Internet and other communications media. During the five-year period of the memorandum, the two sides will hold regular meetings to review and promote activity encouraging investment activity in both countries.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [04] Wen Jiabao meets ND leader

    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Sunday, the second day of his official visit to Greece. During in-depth talks on bilateral issues, Samaras thanked the Chinese premier for China's support through investments and the purchase of Greek bonds at a time when Greece was experiencing difficulties.

    Samaras accepted an invitation from Wen Jiabao to visit China and noted that the previous ND governments had succeeded in developing ties of trust with China's government. He also noted that the ties of friendship and trust between the Greek and Chinese peoples were very deep.

    The Chinese premier, inviting Samaras to visit Beijing, said that Greece was China's best and most reliable friend in the European Union and that all political parties in Greece desired to develop bilateral relations.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [05] Papariga urges vote for KKE

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Sunday urged young couples to "correct" their vote and support her party during the upcoming local government elections in November.

    Speaking at an event in the west Athens district of Ilion on the problems of young couples, Papariga underlined the serious problems faced by young people and especially young couples faced with mounting unemployment, low wages and several other problems.

    She stressed that young people found it hard to start families in these circumstances and were unable to raise their children.

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    [06] Visits to Acropolis, Piraeus

    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou visited the Athens Acropolis on Sunday morning, where they discussed the Chinese premier's proposal to work together in pressing for the

    return of stolen antiquities and cultural treasures to their country of origin.

    Among others, Wen Jiabao pledged to support Greece's demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles currently at the British Museum to the new Acropolis Museum.

    He also informed Papandreou about the looting and destruction in 1860 of the old summer palace Yuan Ming Yuan outside Beijing by British troops. The soldiers were acting on the orders of British High Commissioner to China Lord Elgin, the son of the Lord Elgin that had removed the sculptures from the Parthenon.

    The Chinese premier agreed with Papandreou to continually expand Greek-Chinese cooperation in culture, with Greek Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos due to meet his Chinese counterpart in the near future to discuss joint cultural activities.

    Tour of Piraeus Port

    ANA-MPA Touring the China Ocean Shipping (COSCO) group's facilities at the Piraeus port container terminal on Saturday night, Wen Jiabao pledged the sum of five billion U.S. dollars to a special fund to assist Greek shipowners building ships in China. COSCO has been running the port's container terminal for the past year.

    ANA-MPA The Chinese premier also announced an agreement for a research centre focusing on reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by shipping that will be based in Greece and cooperation between the two countries in staff training and the modernisation of the container terminal in Piraeus, expressing confidence that this would become the "jewel of the Mediterranean".

    During the visit, Papandreou stressed the multiple significance of the Chinese premier's presence in Greece, noting that the presence of COSCO in Piraeus had converted the port to a transport hub for Chinese products to the entire region.

    He said that Greece and China will become pioneers in research, know-how and training on navigation and using alternative energy sources on a global level.

    Referring to the special development fund for Greek ship owners, Papandreou stressed that this was a vote of confidence in the Greek economy and the efforts Greece was making to overcome the crisis. The Greek prime minister also noted that Wen's presence in Greece enhanced the strategic position of the two countries and strengthened China's relations with the EU.

    COSCO group CEO Wei Jiafu presented the company's plans for Piraeus port and stressed that the container terminal will have the capacity to move 3.7 million containers by the year 2015.

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