|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-05-31
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH
(THE VOICE OF GREECE - Translators Dpt.)
 OECD report on Greek economyThe Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development released a report yesterday, describing the course of the Greek economy as impressive, also predicting a 4% growth rate for the next two years. However, it is pointed out in the report that the liberalization of the market and the curbing of expenses are necessary to deal with inflation.
In the meantime, the national economy minister Yannos Papantoniou had successive meetings with the transport minister Christos Verelis and with Greek Euro-deputies yesterday.
Mr Papantoniou stated afterwards that Greece's accession process to Economic and Monetary Union would be completed on June 19th, at the summit in Portugal and added that the reports of all the relative European Union bodies were positive. Furthermore, Mr Papantoniou said that no negotiations were held since the issue of non admission was not at all raised.
The national economy minister also said that a strategic investor should have been found for the Greek Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) by the end of the year, while he did not exclude the possibility of the participation of individuals with more than 50% in the organisation. He also announced that more shares would be floated to the stock exchange.
The international firms Warbourg and Credit Swiss First Boston were chosen as financial counselors for the floating of OTE shares to the stock exchange.
In addition, the purchase of a small amount of shares of Olympic Airways will be discussed on Friday with British Airways. However, as Mr Papantoniou said, if the proposal does not prove satisfactory, then an international bid will take place.
 Concern over new rises in fuel pricesThere is growing concern on the issue of a further rise in fuel prices world-wide, due mainly to the low oil production of OPEC countries without covering the demand, while it is feared that serious problems will be created in the world economy.
In view of the new fuel price increase, the Greek development minister Nikos Christodoulakis has began a new round of consultations with oil companies and refineries in the bid to hold fuel prices down.
Meanwhile, the new price revaluation in fuel is expected to be 2.5 drachmas per litre this week, without counting in the margin for profit of the refineries and gas stations.
The issue of the fuel price increase is particularly important for Greece, since it contributes desicively to the rise of inflation.
 Controversy over new ID cardsCommenting indirectly on the positions of all those who are in favour of including the religious affiliation on the new identity cards, the prime minister Kostas Simitis said there was no dilemma as whether people were first Greeks or European citizens.
The government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that the government was not considering holding a referendum on the issue.
The justice minister Michalis Stathopoulos who is currently on a visit to Brussels, stated that the government did nothing else but comply with the law on the protection of personal data.
For his part, archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece described as a "coup" the government's decision that the new identity cards should not be stating the religious affiliation.
In addition, the archbishop assessed that if the decision had been taken before the recent elections, the result would have been quite different.
Meanwhile, the New Democracy party accused the government of sneering at the Church and proposed that the religious affiliation on the identity cards should be optional.
 Debate on 2004 Olympic GamesA pre-agenda debate on the 2004 Olympic Games will be held in parliament today on party leaders level, while the parliamentary committee responsible for the Olympic Games held a debated yesterday on the bill on the organisation of the 2004 Olympic Games.
 Émproved civil servicesThe interior minister Vasso Papandreou has ascertained that the service to the citizens has improved in public services, but according a survey the ministry carried out recently, 57% of the citizens are not satisfied with the behaviour of civil servants.
 Close cooperation between foreign and defense ministriesThe prime minister Kostas Simitis had a meeting yesterday morning with the foreign minister Yiorgos Papandreou.
The close cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs and defense on the issue of the confidence building measures with Turkey was confirmed at the meeting.
Mr Papandreou who will soon meet with the national defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos stated that the institutional cooperation between the two ministries will also be structured.
 ND parliamentary group meets todayThe New Democracy parliamentary group is holding a session today in view of the party's upcoming congress, while yesterday the party leader Kostas Karamanlis urged party members to expresses their solidarity with the ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos.
 Greek president in CanadaThe Greek president Konstantinos Stefanopoulos, who is on an official visit to Canada visited Montreal, the capital of the province of Quebec yesterday.
President Stefanopoulos was received by the federal minister of finance Martin Kosson and the Greek ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Service Eleftherios Karagiannis.
The Greek president also visited the Greek community school Socrates, where the Greek-Canadian pupils received him warmly.
The president's agenda includes a visit to Mc Gill university and a meeting with a large group of Canadian businessmen.