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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek PM vows reforms, says confident of success
  • [02] Alogoskoufis: Efforts to privatise OA will continue; alternative solutions also considered
  • [03] Nat'l council on foreign policy to meet September 29
  • [04] Deputy sports minister requests clarification of international sports administrations' legal relation

  • [01] Greek PM vows reforms, says confident of success

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday presented to a cabinet meeting the government's policy priorities, emphasizing on reforms and changes. The Greek PM stressed that "a round of changes and reforms is continuing in all sectors. We proceed based on a specific road plan". Karamanlis noted his government sought to promote changes based on dialogue, understanding and cooperation. "We cannot afford to lose any more time," he added. The Greek Prime Minister, speaking to cabinet ministers said his government would not compromise with the forces of inertia nor with pressures from vested interests. "Our responsibility is to promote changes and reforms included in our programme. We know where we stand, we know the hardships, what we have to do and that's exactly what we do".

    Karamanlis underlined that reforms and changes were an one-way road to build a dynamic and competitive economy. "This government wants to be useful in the long-term. We are open to any proposals by the opposition, if they are any. We have the society on our side because they acknowledge that we have a programme, goals and the determination. We have the society on our side and that's why we will succeed".

    Commenting on the issue of Olympic Airlines, Karamanlis said the problem must be resolved in the framework of the country's commitments and according to public interest, EU rules and the principles of new governance promoted by the government.

    "Our main goals are to ensure workers' rights, subsidised air flights to Greek islands, ensuring healthy competition and a viable solution for the company," Karamanlis said.

    Government sources said all scenarios were open for Olympic Airlines, including the partication of the State to any possible new company form. Karamanlis reiterated his policy priorities were re-investing the state and promoting growth based on the people. "Our choice is a strategy of changes and reforms," the PM noted.

    The Greek Prime Minister stressed the problems inherited by past governments, high public debt, fiscal deficit, unemployment, bureaucracy, corruption, and inefficient public sector, were many and complex, but underlined that efforts made by the government were additionally burdened by a sharp increase in international oil prices.

    All these create a great challenge for all of us and "demand determination, efficiency and social responsibility," he said, adding "that's why we chose policies that will tackle the problems at its roots, will not undermine the future of new generation but ensure an improve prospect for all, mainly for new generation and those in greater need".

    Karamanlis urged his ministers to contain consumer spending in the public sector adding "a lot has been made, and much more can be done. All ministries will continue interventions to combat bureaucracy, promote transparency, contain spending and improver services to citizens".

    The Greek Prime Minister reiterated his commitment to gradually cut income tax factors, to complete a regional restructuring of the country ahead of a Fourth Community Support Framework, restructure all public sector enterprises by introducing corporate governance principles and international accounting standards. He said that all new hirings in public sector enterprises would be based on a model by Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation. "We will not harm labour relations," Karamanlis said.

    The PM said the government has exceeded its goals for 2005 with revenues from privatisations totalling 2.1 billion euros, from 1.6 bln euros projected in the state budget. "We have prepared the ground for new privatisations (Athens International Airport, Post Savings Bank ports and selling more stakes in Emporiki Bank and Agricultural Bank).

    [02] Alogoskoufis: Efforts to privatise OA will continue; alternative solutions also considered

    The government, and specifically Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, reiterated on Monday that it will continue efforts at privatising ailing national carrier Olympic Airways (OA), although "alternative solutions" are available in case purchase offers fall through. Alogoskoufis said he will not rule out the prospect of joint private sector/state control of an OA successor. "Our goal is a robust (business) scheme that will guarantee flight safety and healthy competition in the air transport sector," he told reporters shortly after meeting with the leadership of Greece's largest trade umbrella union, GSEE.

    In terms of other issues, Alogoskoufis said the government does not intend to change the collective bargaining agreement regime, which he called successful.

    Additionally, the minister said 2006 will witness the commencement of a dialogue over long-term interventions in the country's social security system, as well as discussion over tax reforms for individual income tax rates.

    On his part, GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos called for a convergence agreement over wages, warning that the unions will demand pay hikes more than covering the inflation rate. Additionally, he called for a timetable to funnel state funding into the social security system, especially aimed at the after 2025 period.

    Finally, he again reiterated GSEE's call for a heating oil subsidy towards lower-income households during the upcoming winter season.

    Alogoskoufis was accompanied by Economy Deputy Ministers Christos Folias, Petros Doukas and Adam Regouzas.

    [03] Nat'l council on foreign policy to meet September 29

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis will be presiding over a meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy on September 29, the Foreign Ministry announced on Monday. The council will discuss the latest developments regarding Turkey's European Union accession talks, as well as the situation in the Balkans, inlcuding finding a mutually-acceptable solution to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia name controversy. The council will also be briefed on the conclusions drawn at the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations.

    [04] Deputy sports minister requests clarification of international sports administrations' legal relation

    LIVERPOOL (ANA - G. Dimitroglou) - Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos, speaking during the informal conference of European Union sports ministers here on Monday, stressed the need for the clarification of the legal relation between international sports federations, both in relation to member-states' law and that of the EU. On the occasion of the issue surfacing recently with FIFA, which is threatening the Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) with sanctions in the event of interference by the state, the deputy sports minister called on the conference to consider the problem of conflict between EU or national law with the regulations of FIFA and other international federations.

    "The international sports federations, due to the great publicity and commercialism acquired by sport, are now in a position to shape legal relations and situations which are alien to the competitive part of the sport they are promoting," he said.

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