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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't reiterates job security pledge for OA employees
  • [02] Ecumenical Patriarch begins tour of northern Greece
  • [03] Gov't cannot afford to offer financial relief for heating oil, FinMin says
  • [04] PM Karamanlis departs Tuesday for UN summits, to meet with UN chief Annan
  • [05] Public order minister warns of severe sanctions for schoolbus safety violators

  • [01] Gov't reiterates job security pledge for OA employees

    The government reiterated on Tuesday that all employees of ailing national carrier Olympic Airways enjoy job security, only a day before the European Commission is expected to issue a decision linked directly to the fate of the company. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos made the statement in answer to press questions over the status of OA contract-employees currently serving as flight attendants, in ground crews and even as airport ticket-counter staff.

    The spokesman's comments echoed a high-profile statement by the prime minister himself over the weekend in Thessaloniki, namely, that OA employees and staff would continue working regardless of the Commission's ruling.

    Nevertheless, Roussopoulos again stressed the Karamanlis government's unwavering target of drastically dealing with debt-plagued carrier.

    "It's the desire of all Greek citizens to stop paying half a billion drachmas (roughly 1.5 million euros) per day for this (OA) loss-making company to continue to operate in the manner that it operates; a company that became loss-making due to past policies, ones that led to today's decisions. This is what the Greek people demand," Roussopoulos said, continuing the scathing criticism aimed at a handful of previous PASOK governments long vilified by ruling ND as responsible for OA's mismanagement.

    The Commission on Wednesday is expected to rule on whether OA received, directly and indirectly, tens of millions of euros in illegal government subsidies over the past decade.

    [02] Ecumenical Patriarch begins tour of northern Greece

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos began a four-day visit of northern Greece on Tuesday with his arrival in Thessaloniki, the first stop of his tour. The Patriarch was greeted at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, who headed a large delegation of high-ranking Orthodox Church clerics. Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsonis represented the government while several other local and regional officials were on hand. Vartholomeos is expected to visit a handful of bishoprics in northern Greece.

    [03] Gov't cannot afford to offer financial relief for heating oil, FinMin says

    The government cannot afford to offer a financial relief to consumers for the purchase of heating oil this winter, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, after an inner cabinet meeting, Alogoskoufis said that the government made every effort to find ways to offer financial relief to consumers but stressed that such a move could not be made on borrowed money. "There are no funds to offer a financial relief for heating oil," the Greek minister said.

    Commenting on the future of Olympic Airways, Alogoskoufis said the government was awaiting European Commission's decision and reiterated the Prime Minister's pledge that national carrier's workers would not be harmed. The Greek minister said the government was examining ways to support lower incomes in the context of next year's budget.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said declining oil prices in international markets started to affect domestic retail prices and expressed the hope that this trend would continue. Commenting on a draft legislation on reforming the operation of Greek chambers, Sioufas said the new bill would introduce a general commerce register and would help to promote transparency and improved operations in the country's chambers.

    [04] PM Karamanlis departs Tuesday for UN summits, to meet with UN chief Annan

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis is due to meet with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan shortly after midnight Tuesday (Greek time) in New York, where the premier was due to arrive two hours earlier to attend a UN General Assembly summit that opens the following day and Wednesday's UN Security Council summit. Karamanlis, who is accompanied by foreign minister Petros Molyviatis, deputy foreign ministers Yannis Valynakis and Evripides Stylianidis, deputy government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros and other officials, was due to discuss with Annan a series of matters related to the international community, given that Greece holds a non-permanent member seat on the UN Security Council for the two-year term 2005-2006.

    The two men were also expected to discuss the Cyprus issue, as well as the UN's mediation efforts in the FYROM name issue.

    After the meeting with Annan, Karamanlis was scheduled to attend a reception hosted by US president George Bush in honour of the more than 180 foreign heads of state and government that are in New York for the September 14-16 UN General Assembly world summit.

    On Wednesday, Karamanlis will take part in the UN Security Council summit meeting.

    The Greek premier was due to address the UN General Assembly summit on Friday at 5:45 p.m. (Greek time), while he would also take part on Thursday in a round-table discussion on reforms to the Security Council, an international conference on financing for development, and an informal meeting of the Francophone countries, and hold bilateral sideline meetings with many of the attending heads of state and government,

    [05] Public order minister warns of severe sanctions for schoolbus safety violators

    Public order minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday warned that severe sanctions would be imposed on violators of schoolbus safety rules, as police services mounted a massive spot inspections operation on streets throughout the country. Voulgarakis said that severe sanctions would be imposed on violators, and warned the schoolbus owners that the inspections would continue all year round. He further called on parents and pupils to immediately report any problems or irregularities they ascertained in the transportation services. Voulgarakis added that the first results of the inspections conducted by police services gave rise to strong concern, given that many of the school buses inspected did not fulfill the relevant safety regulations.

    The minister was speaking to reporters amid inspections being conducted throughout Attica prefecture, and immediately departed for the western port city of Patras, where he would later make statements on the data collected from the inspections on the local school buses.

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