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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] OA board vows to take 'all necessary measures to safeguard interests'
  • [02] Papandreou outlines differences with gov't, unveils policies in TIF address

  • [01] OA board vows to take 'all necessary measures to safeguard interests'

    State-owned Olympic Airway's board of directors on Saturday issued a laconic announcement noting that the ailing national carrier will "proceed with all necessary actions towards all directions in order to safeguard the company's intersts", a statement that hints at recourse to the European Court.

    The EU Commission on Wednesday approved a recommendation by Commissioner Jacques Barrot that OA return a still unspecified, but massive amount of money -- as much as 500 or more million euros -- to the Greek state.

    Saturday's announcement followed a briefing of OA's state-appointed board by the carrier's legal experts.

    Caption: A file photo dating from November 2003 includes the tail of an Olympic Airways (OA) passenger airliner in the background. Another plane's tail, belonging to OA's one-time charter subsidiary Macedonian Airlines is at centre, while the tail of a passenger jet of Greece's only private carrier, Aegean Airlines, is in the foreground. (ANA / P. Saitas)

    [02] Papandreou outlines differences with gov't, unveils policies in TIF address

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Saturday evening called for the creation of a new "social system" that emphasises the role and "contribution of the citizen in society", speaking in Thessaloniki on the last weekend of the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF). His address to business leaders, professional sectors' representatives, labour officials and party cadres came exactly a week after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis spoke from the same podium to inaugurate this year's trade exhibition.

    In touching, during his speech, on the most controversial topic of the month, namely, the fate of ailing state-owned national carrier Olympic Airways (OA), Papandreou cited three goals: that the company's unhindered and safe operation continue; that the Greek government take recourse to the European Court against last week's Commission ruling; and finally, that the government present a plan in coordination with the EU aimed at continuing and finalising procedures for OA's privatisation.

    Moreover, Papandreou said his party does not want a state monopoly in the domestic airline industry to be succeeded by a private monopoly, "but for competition to work". He pointed out that any new business scheme based on a sold-off OA should be viable and be based primarily on private capital, whereas jobs should be guaranteed.

    He acknowledged that PASOK bears responsibilities for the current sad state of affairs at OA, while nevertheless charging that the government was "provocatively absent" in the 18 months since it assumed power in March 2004.

    Turning to the foreign policy front, Papandreou, the former foreign minister in successive Simitis governments, stressed that it would be "a historic mistake" for Greece to agree to the start of Turkey's EU accession talks (set for Oct. 3) under the current conditions.

    "The continuing occupation of Cyprus and Turkey's claims in the Aegean cannot be grafted onto a European normality," Papandreou said, adding that such a prospect would be nothing more than a constant "time bomb".

    Caption: PASOK leader George Papandreou appears at a press conference on Sunday in Thessaloniki. (ANA / V. Vardoulakis)


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