|Thursday, 15 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-01-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>January 2, 2006
 PM sees escalating change in 2006
ATHENS, 02/01/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday forecast a year of escalating change in 2006 as the government pushed ahead with its reform plan.
"I welcome the fact that a broad-based social alliance has been formed in support of change," Karamanlis said in a New Year message.
"2006 will be another decisive year, a year of escalation in change and reform, accompanied by the adoption in practice of these new policies," he noted.
The government would act boldly in effecting the overhaul in a bid to replace outmoded concepts and practices, avoiding both conservatism and populism. And emphasis would be given to revision of the constitution employing dialogue that would cut across party political lines.
"Our (overall) aim is to create a state that has economic clout combined with justice by respecting the public and ensuring its esteem," the premier said.
"We have made major progress in the mildest fashion possible in the battle for a reduction in deficits at a time when other countries with the same problems have been taking very tough measures," he noted.
Looking ahead, Karamanlis said that the country had secured the best funding possible under the European Union's budget for 2007-2013 totalling more than 20 billion euros; and terms of the bloc's common agricultural policy would remain in place until 2013.
Groundwork had been accomplished in 2005 that would act as a base for 2006.
"2005 will be remembered as a landmark year for major institutional reform. Bold changes everywhere, especially in the public sector, have meant a new start for the country," the prime minister said.
 Political wishes for the New Year
ATHENS, 02/01/2005 (ANA)The leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement said on Saturday that vision was needed to prepare Greece for challenges of the future.
"It's a fact that things have changed globally. We find ourselves at a key turning point. But we can change the new situation into a comparative advantage," George Papandreou said in a New Year message.
"We can prepare Greek society for the new challenges. But vision is needed for that, appropriate policy and planning, and decisiveness is also required. The conditions are now ripe for us collectively to plan a leap into the future," he noted.
In a separate message, the Communist Party of Greece urged workers to free themselves from the grip of political parties backing the European Union, which it called "a one-way street."
"2006 can and must be a year of change in the balance of power in favor of the people's anti-imperialist movement on all levels," the statement said.
"It is in the hands of the working class and the people to make 2006 a year of mass disengagement from the one-way-street European parties, from the ideology of the plutocracy, from trade union leaders of consensus and subservience," it added.
 Greece celebrates New Year 2006
ATHENS, 02/01/2005 (ANA)Greeks celebrated the start of the New Year with celebrations around the country, including a showcase spectacle in the capital arranged by the mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyianni.
In Athens, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday received the country's political, religious, military, judicial and law enforcement leaders, who paid a customary visit to the head of state to extend their good wishes.
Among Papoulias' guests were the prime minister, parliament president, archbishop of Athens, opposition party leaders, ministers, and parliamentary deputies.
The president congratulated Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras on his battle against corruption in the judicial system, urging him to maintain the drive.
Earlier in the day, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece led a New Year's Day service at Athens Cathedral.
 PM, EU official meet for talks
ATHENS, 02/01/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday met Greece's commissioner at the European Union, Stavros Dimas.
The two officials discussed the EU's 4th Community Support Framework package of funds and developments in the bloc.
No statements were made after the meeting in Athens.
 Ruling party shows 1.2-pt lead over rival
ATHENS, 02/01/2005 (ANA)The ruling New Democracy (ND) party showed a lead of 1.2 percentage points against the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), according to a nationwide opinion poll released on Saturday.
Respondents gave ND 32.4% of voter preference against 31.2% for PASOK in the telephone poll conducted by Kappa Research and published in the Sunday Vima newspaper.
Following were the Communist Party of Greece at 6.8%; the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology 3.7%; LAOS 5.3%; other smaller parties 2.8%; blank or invalid 6.2%; and undecided, 9.4%.
Most likely to win the next national elections were ND, according to 43.1% of people polled; and 16% believed that PASOK would win.
Favorite for the post of prime minister was current ND premier Costas Karamanlis, who garnered 47.6% of the vote, followed by PASOK leader George Papandreou with 32.7%. Stating that neither was the right person for the job were 18.8% of respondents, according to the survey.
Asked to comment on a possible government reshuffle, 69.7% wanted to see a smaller cabinet with 61% hoping for a radical change in personnel.
Another 61% of respondents said that a reshuffle would fail to solve the country's problems as the root of the issue was policy not personnel; and 41.1% noted that ministers were not to blame, but rather the prime minister's inability to coordinate the government.
Stating that the prime minister and his government should lay emphasis on unemployment were 79.6% of voters. Other priorities were the absorption of European Union funds (32.5%); attracting foreign investment (27.3%); corruption (24.6%); and deficit-reduction (24.3%).
To blame for the state of the economy was the government's PASOK predecessor, according to 43.4% of respondents, with 9.7% holding the current ND government responsible, the poll showed.
Reactions from two main parties: Asked to comment on ND's relatively small lead over PASOK, the party's honorary president, Constantine Mitsotakis, said that the second year in office for any government was difficult as policy had yet to bear fruit.
In addition, the present government had inherited difficulties from its predecessor, Mitsotakis added.
PASOK secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannokopoulou said in a separate statement that the party was continuing to gain public confidence by offering an alternative, progressive policy for the country.
 Thessaloniki mayor welcomes news agency merger
02/01/2005 (ANA)The mayor of Thessaloniki, Vassilis Papayeorgopoulos, on Sunday welcomed a recent merger of the Athens News Agency and Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA).
Creation of the unified agency would boost news coverage for the domestic public and publicize Greece more widely abroad, Papageorgopoulos told a New Year cake-cutting ceremony in the northern port city.
The ceremony was attended by Spyros Kouzinopoulos, MPA's general director
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos to visit the U.S. from Jan. 4-8
NEW YORK, 02/01/2005 (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will visit the United States from January 4-8. During his stay, he will tour Florida and Louisiana.
The Ecumenical Patriarch will attend Epiphany Day events at the "Greek village" in Florida on January 6.
Archbishop of America Demetrius expressed his and that of the Greek Orthodox community's joy over the Patriarch's forthcoming arrival to Florida.
On January 7, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, accompanied by Archbishop Demetrius, will visit New Orleans.
 Former premier says economy on right track
ATHENS, 02/01/2005 (ANA)A former prime minister, Constantine Mitsotakis, said on Saturday that the economy was on the right track.
"The New Year will be difficult....but we are on a good path. The policy of bold reform being followed (by the government) is correct and must be decisively maintained," said Mitsotakis, who is also honorary president of the ruling New Democracy party.
He was speaking to reporters during a customary New Year's eve visit to an Athens bookstore with his grandchildren.
 Foreign Exchange Rates:Monday, 02/01/2005
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.189
 Greek stock market records second biggest annual gains in Eurozone
ATHENS, 02/01/2005 (ANA)The Athens Stock Exchange ended 2005 with spectacular gains, remaining on a positive trend for the third consecutive year. The composite index of the Greek market jumped 31.50 percent in 2005, the second best performance in the Eurozone after Austria.
The index ended at 3,663.90 points, up 877.72 points from 2,786.18 points in December 31, with the Blue Chip index rising 30.47 percent, the Mid Cap index soaring 47.06 pct and the Small Cap index ending 33.31 percent higher.
The Refineries index recorded the biggest percentage gains of the year (63.82 pct), followed by the IT (50.92 pct) and Insurance (50.56 pct).
A positive investment climate, accompanied by a favorable trend in European markets, strong corporate results, excessive liquidity and the government's measures to support enterprises contributed in the creation of a strong rally during the biggest part of the year.
Average daily turnover in the FT 20 index jumped 62 percent in 2005 compared with the previous year, while average daily turnover in the Mid 40 index soared 76 percent over the same period. Foreign investors raised their share in the daily turnover to 45.6 pct (November figures) from 35.7 pct in December 2004. Foreign investors placed around 5.0 billion euros in Greek stocks this year.
The Greek market's spectacular performance justifies foreign funds' views over its prospects. Domestic financial institutions are predicting that the market would reach the 4,000 level in 2006, a trend highly related with the performance of domestic bank shares. UBS recently ranked Greek banks second in attractiveness in Europe and predicted a 55.7 pct increase in average earnings per share in 2005 and a 26.6 pct rise in 2006.
 Occupation regime abducts G/C Euro MPNICOSIA, 02/01/2005 (ANA) (CNA/ANA)
The illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus has abducted European Parliament member Marios Matsakis, a Greek Cypriot.
Matsakis together with the Polish Euro MP Genowefa Grabowska went Saturday afternoon to the Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia with an aim to cross over to the occupied areas in order to carry sweets to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, on the occasion of the New Year's Day.
An officer of the so-called police told Matsakis that he was ''under arrest'' as he had been wanted for lowering the Turkish flag from an unmanned dividing line Turkish military post at Louroujina area, south of capital Nicosia, on November 1, 2005. The Cypriot MP returned the flag to a Turkish journalist in Brussels.
The Polish Euro MP, who belongs to the Socialist Group, condemned the Turkish act, adding that she would report Matsakis' illegal arrest to the plenary session of the European Parliament.
The Cyprus government protested to the United Nations, urging them to make the necessary representations to the occupation regime to immediately release the Cypriot Euro MP.
Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides told the press that the government had been informed from the UN Peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) that Matsakis would be brought before an illegal court in the occupied areas.
A diplomatic demarche has been submitted to the Head of the UN mission in Cyprus Zbigniew Wlosowicz by Tasos Tzionis, Head of the President's Diplomatic Office.
Chrysostomides said the Cyprus government was following the case, adding the occupation regime's act was ''just a repetition of the illegal acts'' from an occupation power.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.