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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-10-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Almunia response question on supermarket cartel in Greece
  • [02] Greek exports up 18.7% in Aug.
  • [03] Papoutsis-Kaklamanis meeting touches on illegal immigration
  • [04] Reactions over Juncker comment
  • [05] PDO-status for Santorini fava
  • [06] Massive fuel smuggling cited
  • [07] Stocks end 1.32% higher

  • [01] Almunia response question on supermarket cartel in Greece

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA) -- European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia on Monday referred to the Greek competition commission for any solution to the problem of a potential price-fixing supermarket cartel in the country.

    Almunia stated that, in general, the food and retail markets have a national dimension with distinct legal, economic, political and cultural characteristics and, therefore, national competition authorities are more suitable to handle competition problems arising in these markets.

    Almunia reached the decision in response to a question by Coalition of the Left (SYRIZA) MEP Nikos Hountis who requested information on the fines imposed by the competition commission on supermarkets and the size of those fines.

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    [02] Greek exports up 18.7% in Aug.

    To view the article please contact the ANA-MPA's subscription department at:

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    [03] Papoutsis-Kaklamanis meeting touches on illegal immigration

    Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis received Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Monday for a meeting focusing on issues affecting the Greek capital and citizens' security.

    According to a press release by the municipality, Kaklamanis raised the issue of transferring the remaining Organisation Against Drugs (OKANA) drug rehabilitation units from the inner city, while he reiterated the urgent need to drastically minimise the uncontrolled entry of illegal migrants into Greece.

    "We all consider Athens to be our city, the city where we live and which faces the biggest problems in terms of our social cohesion and, chiefly, the pressure resulting from the wave of migrants our country faces, together with Europe as a whole, of course. We all understand that this situation cannot continue," Papoutsis said, adding:

    "... We must guarantee the safety of every Athenian citizen as well as the safety of all citizens throughout the country. Because safety is the precondition for each individualās creativity, for their quality of life and, most importantly, for safe living conditions for our society as a whole," he said.

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    [04] Reactions over Juncker comment

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA) -- A spokesman for Eurogroup president and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday clarified that the latter, during a recent address in Washington, briefly referred to the Greek economy, saying that "a few years ago when Greek economic competitiveness figures showed that the country would enter a very difficult economic and fiscal condition, everyone in the rest of Europe knew that Greece was facing a very serious problem with corruption".

    Speaking to the ANA-MPA, Juncker's spokesman noted that the Eurogroup's president, because of his position, was unable to make any public comments on the issue. He also noted that the Eurogroup's president, in order to show a change in Greek authorities' position towards the problem, said that Prime Minister George Papandreou, soon after the 2009 general elections - when the full extent of the Greek problem was finally acknowledged -- said Greece faced serious problems with corruption.

    Meanwhile, Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Olli Rehn, declined to comment on the Eurogroup president's comments regarding Greece.

    Speaking to reporters in Brussels, the spokesman said the European Commission had merely "rung the alarm bell" over the condition of the Greek economy several times in the past.

    "We did not discover what was happening with the Greek economy in February 2010," he said, adding that the European Commission had underlined, several times in the past, the risk of deviation of fiscal data and the lack of credibility of Greek statistics.

    Gov't spokesman

    In Athens, government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis underlined on Monday that PM Papandreou never referred to a "corrupt country" in talks with Juncker, stressing that the former also did not say he "governs a corrupt country".

    Petalotis cited the clarification made by Juncker's spokesman, which he said explains that the Eurogroup head was referring to a public discussion and not to confidential talk with the Greek PM.

    Strauss-Kahn comment

    Turning to the ongoing economic news, the spokesman said "the strict materialisation of our goals, as set in the Stability and Development Programme, will get us out of the crisis." (ANA-MPA)

    Petalotis' last statement was in response to a statement by IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who said the D.C.-based organisation is prepared to give Greece more time to repay its loan.

    The government spokesman added that it is "too premature to enter such discussions when it appears that our goal is being met."

    ND, opposition

    In an opposite reading of the statement, a top main opposition New Democracy official said the Juncker statements over the Greek economy's decades-old problems "constitute vindication of the positions adopted by main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras."

    ND alternate sector head Christos Staikouras emphasised that "everybody knows in this country, and Juncker has admitted it, that the problems we are facing today were created in the period 1981-89. The governments that followed were unable to solve the problem but they were not the ones that had created it."

    On his part, ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos lashed out at Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, charging that the latter is ethically and politically accountable because "he rushed to insinuate that (Juncker was referring to) former PM (Costas) Karamanlis, in an effort to misdirect public opinion away from the government policy's dead-ends".

    Panagiotopoulos said the "Juncker confessions" are a proof of the huge damage Papandreou's "corrupt country" statements have inflicted on the country's image

    Opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) President George Karatzaferis, moreover, said problems stemming from corruption in the country continue.

    Referring to the statement Juncker spokesman Guy Schuller, Karatzaferis said it is of minor importance which of the three premiers (two former or the current) made the comment on corruption, noting that Europe was already aware of the situation.

    On its part, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party attacked both main parties, ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy, over the furor triggered by Juncker's statements.

    "The Greek people now know full well that the responsibility for the tragic state of the economy today belongs both to PASOK and ND, since they jointly built the rotten two-party political system of the last decades and together carried out the most extreme neoliberal policies at society's expense," the party said.

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    [05] PDO-status for Santorini fava

    (ANA-MPA) -- Santorini fava has been given Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status together with seven other European agricultural products in the updated EU list of PDO and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) products.

    A total of 88 Greek products (27 olive oils, 10 table olives, 20 cheeses, 23 fruit, vegetables, legumes, dried fruits and nuts, one bakery product, 1 type of fish, 1 type of honey, (ANA-MPA) 1 essential oil, 2 mastich products and 1 spice), including Santorini fava, have received PDO and PGI designation in the EU.

    Applications are pending for the designation of eight more products: Hios tangerine, Naxos potato, Ilia raisin, Siteia buttermilk, Elassona lamb, Halkidiki olive oil and Taxiarchis dried figs. (ANA-MPA)

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo.

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    [06] Massive fuel smuggling cited

    (ANA-MPA) -- The Greek state is losing hundreds of million of euros annually from illegal trade in the fuel market, G. Kostopoulos, Hellenic Petroleumās (EL.PE) chief executive emphasised on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters, Kostopoulos said chronic problems are hitting state revenues and the sectorās healthy enterprises. (ANA-MPA)

    Amongst others, he referred to smuggling, counterfeiting, piracy, "shaved" deliveries to consumers, lack of transparency, limited inspections, delays in the imposition of fines, fake exports and other illegal activities, calling for intensified inspections on fuel transport and stricter fines. (ANA-MPA)

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    [07] Stocks end 1.32% higher

    Stocks ended higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index of the market rising 1.32 pct to end at 1,548.70 points. Turnover was a low 85.316 million euros. Banks remained at the focus of attention, with National Bankās share price rising 3.87 pct, Alpha Bank gaining 4.08 pct, while Eurobank and ATEbank rose 4.27 pct and 4.40 pct, respectively.

    The Big Cap index rose 1.85 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.15 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 0.62 pct. The Insurance (3.04 pct), Personal Products (3.03 pct) and Banks (2.73 pct) were top gainers, while Utilities (1.30 pct) and Commerce (0.98 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 102 to 65 with another 44 issues unchanged.

    Ionian Hotels (11.11 pct), Akritas (9.86 pct) and FHL Mermeren (8.70 pct) were top gainers, while ANEK (11.54 pct), Vivere (10.91 pct) and Lanacam (10 pct) were top losers.

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