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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-01-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM's trips to France, Turkey
  • [02] Greece will weather the debt crisis
  • [03] Arrest in connection with trucks found by police full of stolen goods
  • [04] Tsipras bashes gov't policy on public transports
  • [05] Network of footpaths for visitors throughout Mt. Voios in Kozani
  • [06] Boosting VAT collection

  • [01] PM's trips to France, Turkey

    (ANA-MPA) -- Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will be in Paris on Thursday, where he will meet with his French counterpart Francois Fillon, and in the Turkish city of Erzurum on Friday to attend a Turkish ambassadors‚ conference in the northeast Anatolia city, following a formal invitation.

    In Erzurum, Papandreou will be accompanied by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will address the meeting of Turkey's top diplomatic corps. (ANA-MPA)

    The third annual Turkish ambassadors‚ conference, entitled "Visionary Diplomacy: Global and Regional Order from Turkey‚s Perspective", will be chaired by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and will be attended by Turkish diplomats serving abroad and at the country's foreign ministry. (ANA-MPA)

    The week-long session opened in Ankara on Monday and will continue in Erzurum. (ANA-MPA)

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

    [02] Greece will weather the debt crisis

    ANA-MPA -- Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou categorically rejected speculation over a debt restructuring with creditors, and said Greece would weather out the debt crisis, helped by privatization of state assets worth seven billion euros.

    In an interview with Reuters news agency released Tuesday, the Greek FinMin said the country has cut its debt and has met all obligations towards the IMF and the European Union in return for a 110-billion-euros bailout, and noted that the government was also promoting structural reforms. (ANA-MPA)

    He also denied reports that Greece was in talks with debt holders for extending the repayment period of the country‚s existing debt. (ANA-MPA)

    "There are no such talks," Papaconstantinou said, dismissing reports that Greece was in talks with creditor banks. "This would not help Greece, the Greek economy, Greek banks, Greek citizens or the European problem," he noted. (ANA-MPA)

    He stressed that Greece was making steady progress on cutting its fiscal deficit and was promoting unpopular reforms to ensure payment of the fourth tranche of a troika loan, worth 15 billion euros in March. (ANA-MPA)

    "We finished 2010 on target, with reforms meeting the time schedule," Papaconstantinou said, adding that there was no reason to doubt for the next tranche, or any other tranche of the loan, "as long as we do our job correctly". (ANA-MPA)

    He said privatisation proceeds were expected to total 1.0 billion euros this year, with an additional six billion euros expected in 2012-2013, including airports, public sector enterprises, real estate property and gaming. "We will use a very flexible methodology. We have a revenue target but was more important was to have the expertise and the dynamism that private investments would bring to these sectors. He reiterated that Greece would seek a return to capital markets this year, depending on market conditions, along with the issuance of a Diaspora bond loan to Greeks living abroad. (ANA-MPA)

    Papaconstantinou said talks with China over the purchase of Greek state bonds were progressing, but declined to say anything more specific over the amount or the time of the deal. He noted that Greece would like an extension of repaying its IMF/EU loans to cover not only outstanding tranches but those already paid. The European Commission was positive over this request but we have to wait for Eurogroup‚s final decisions, Papaconstantinou said. (ANA-MPA)

    Additionally, he sounded optimistic that the European Union would reach an agreement over joint issuance of euro bonds. (ANA-MPA)

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

    [03] Arrest in connection with trucks found by police full of stolen goods

    An Albanian national was arrested on Wednesday and two more people were wanted in connection with the case of two private trucks with Albanian licence plates filled with stolen goods that were found Sunday by police in the Athens suburb of Moschato in an outdoor parking lot.

    Police, acting on a tip-off, seized the trucks and confiscated the stolen goods, which included three electricity generators, a roadworks machine, four motorcycles that had been stolen from the residential areas of Vyronas and Kaissariani, a jet ski that had been stolen from Kalyvia, in Attica prefecture, an outboard motor that had been stolen from Paiania, and several other public works machines.

    According to police, the thefts were the work of a gang 'specialising' in stealing vehicles, generators and motorcycles, which it would then smuggle out of Greece.

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

    [04] Tsipras bashes gov't policy on public transports

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras launched a sharp attack against the government's policy on public transports, after a meeting on Wednesday with representatives of the public transport employees' Coordinating Committee.

    Tsipras accused the government of having decided to break up public urban transport and "shrink" their activity, while at the same time increasing ticket prices by 40-50 percent, so as to enable private concerns to profiteer and thus sinking the economy and sidelining the employees without any concern for the "unbelievable consequences and effects this will have on the social fabric".

    The SYRIZA parliamentary alliance leader said that public transports are subsides "in all the civilised countries of the western world", whereas in Greece "our governments opt to subsidise only the private transports, pushing urban transports to borrowing that has accumulated endless debts".

    Now, he added, they're putting the burden on the employees and the passengers.

    Tsipras assured the employees that SYRIZA will wage the battle "to link the struggle of the working people with the social movements demanding justice and civilisation, because transports are an indicator of our civilisation".

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

    [05] Network of footpaths for visitors throughout Mt. Voios in Kozani

    (ANA-MPA) -- A network of connected footpaths through up-to-now unknown areas of natural beauty and rare cultural monuments covering 120 kilometers will be constructed in an unprecedented, for Greece, project in the western part of Mt. Voios, Kozani region, in the context of the intervention program "Pindos".

    Western Macedonia University professor Yiannis Bartzis, director of the Environmental Technology laboratory of the university's Mechanical Engineering Department, told ANA-MPA that the project, "Development of Alternative Forms of Tourism through the creation of Footpaths in Kozani Prefecture", which focuses on the Voios area, recently completed the second of the three years of its materialisation with results that have surpassed all expectations. (ANA-MPA)

    The completion of the relevant studies and construction of the first three footpath routes have been completed well ahead of the target date, while studies were currently underway for the next three of a total of 10 routes traversing Mt. Voios and Mt. Askios in Kozani. (ANA-MPA)

    The relevant permission is currently pending from the Agriculture Ministry and the Forestry Service for the final six footpaths. (ANA-MPA)

    Further, the project's research group has already completed improvement of and placement of signs on existing footpaths, which are now open for visitors. (ANA-MPA)

    A network covering a total of 120 kilometers in Western Voios (Tsotyli-Pentalofos region) will result following the construction of the new routes/footpaths, according to Bartzis, who underlined that the new paths will take visitors to spots of exquisite natural beauty and rare cultural monuments that have been unknown to the wider public to now. (ANA-MPA)

    Another network covering 65 kilometers is planned in the Eastern Voios area (Siatista-Askios-Vlastis region), as well as the construction of a Geo-Park/Eco-Park in Skalohori. (ANA-MPA)

    A relevant website (, that has been developed, in three languages (Greek, English, French), providing information on where visitors can stay, dining, maps, photographs, informational texts and useful links, as well as various related documentaries, has already logged more than 65,000 'visitors' in just a year and a half, although the site is still in the construction stage and being constantly improved. (ANA-MPA)

    Photo: ANA-MPA/Western Macedonia University

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

    [06] Boosting VAT collection

    The Greek government is examining ways to boost collection of VAT debt and at the same time facilitating small- and medium-sized enterprises suffering from an economic recession in the country.

    Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Kouselas, in a TV interview on Wednesday, confirmed that the ministry was examining measures such as VAT payment in tranches, under strict preconditions, while the ministry's secretary general, Elias Plaskovitis, said that the ministry was examining the introduction of a measure for offsetting VAT rebates with enterprises' debts to the state.

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

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