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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-09

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin says structural reforms, fiscal adaptation have shown positive results, during EU-Asia meeting in Vienna
  • [02] Papandreou addresses forum on EU Local Gov't

  • [01] FinMin says structural reforms, fiscal adaptation have shown positive results, during EU-Asia meeting in Vienna

    The Greek government's progamme on structural reforms and fiscal adaptation respects and takes into consideration the country's social abilities, national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis said Sunday in Vienna, following the completion of a week-long session of meetings of the EU economy and finance ministers with their counterparts of the Asian countries, organised by Austria, which currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency.

    Alogoskoufis said that Greece was successfully applying its own programme of structural reforms and fiscal adaptation, which he said has had very positive results, as the growth rate was substantially higher than the eurozone average, undemployment was declining, and exports had risen substantially, given that the programme was outward-oriented and respected and took into account the country's social abilities.

    Speaking at a presentation of the ascertainments of the Vienna Meeting, Alogoskoufis noted the common ascertainment that the "key" to the development of the global economy was confrontation of the fiscal imabalances and the advancement of structural reforms.

    He said that better coordination of the macroeconomic policies was necesssary, adding that cooperation between Europe and Asia was very important in this area, stressing that EU-Asia cooperation would continue, to the benefit of the global economy.

    Alogoskoufis said the Meeting included exchanges of views and experiences on structural reforms on both sides, and it had been ascertained that advancing strucutral reforms in all the member countries was very important.

    The Greek minister noted that the structural reforms should occupy each country itself, and that every country needed to apply its own set of structural reforms, given that the social and economic models could not be transposed as is from country to country, warning that this would create immense problems.

    It arose from the discussions, Alogoskoufis continued, that each country, in the framework of its own specific economic institutions and particularities, must apply a programme that is appropriate for its own conditions, but stressed that the programme needed to be applied with consistency and credibility.

    Alogoskoufis said the exchange of views at the Vienna Meeting had been "very interesting", and encompassed the state of the global economy and the developments that were required in the international institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in which representation of the countries, particularly the Asiatic countries, was not proportional.

    Also discussed were ways of combatting the problem of money laundering, ways of better distribution of the benefits from the development of the global economy and from the growth of the developing countries.

    Alogoskoufis said that the global economy, with respect to growth, had had a positive development also in 2005, with Asia and the US as the steam engines of that growth. He added this development was continuing, with substantial contribution also from the EU and Japan, where growth was substantial.

    Alogoskoufis, who also took part in the informal meeting of EU economy and finance ministers (ECOFIN) that was held in Vienna on Friday and Saturday, had the opportunity to confer with his Japanese counerpart, whom he invited to visit Greece, while he also discussed the outcome of prime minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to Beijing with his Chinese counterpart, and preparation for his own visit to the Chinese capital.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] Papandreou addresses forum on EU Local Gov't

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday outlined the differences in the models of governance and development backed by his party and the ruling New Democracy party, addressing the final session of a two-day event on local government in the European Union, organised in Athens by PASOK and the European Parliament's Socialist Group, and titled "European Local Government - Positive Practices and Innovative Policies".

    "In 1981, PASOK was elected (to government) with the slogan 'the people in power'. Today, we seek power with the slogan 'the power to the people'," Papandreou said, adding that his party was prepared to give the local communities the ability for a creative and two-way relationship with the centres of autority, and new prospects to local government.

    Papandreou said financial resources needed to be earmarked for the local governments so that they could assume such responsibilities as the local schools, health centres, environmental issues, spurring local development,training and orientation, and confronting unemployment.

    PASOK, he added, was "prepared to go to a new model of governance" on the morning after elections in the next national polls, adding that the model proposed by his party was that of a "decentralised society, and open society, and a determined government", which Papandreou said was the opposite of the New Democracy model of conservatism.

    At European level, Papandreou said that the periphery was arising from within the following needs: The need for a voice to be given to the citizen and the local community; the need for quick, effecient, democratic and consensus decisions; the need for preservation and utilisation of identity and culture; the need for a new perceptin of a viable, economic development with respect for the environment and quality of life; the need for seeking new comparative advantages; the need of new models of horizontal cooperation between the citizens and regions of the EU; and the need for the periphery to play an important role so that change may be effected with security, consensus, participation and protection of the citizen, without anyone being sidelined.

    Addressing the session on Saturday, secretary general of the EU's Council of the Regions Gerhard Stahl.

    Stahl stressed that, with EMU, many national means and tools had lost their significance, and cooperation was now necessary at all levels of local government on the local, regional and national level, given that "in the new Europe, governance is necessary at multiple levels". He added that new ways and means should be sought so that everyone could participate in the decision-taking process.

    Stahl said that in order for Europe to respond to globalisation, the local and regional bodies needed to particpate in the National Reform Programmes, as those programmes were the essence of policy, in which such matters as employment, growth and fiscal policy were discussed.

    He said that the EU member states were not yet prepared to include the local and regional bodies, adding that the challenge for the local and regional authorities was "first of all to give an answer to the burning problem of economic growth and employment, since economic growth must be linked with economic and social cohesion".

    Stahl further noted that it was ascertained at times that economic growth exists, but at the same time there was an increase in porverty, whereas the economic growth should be to the benefit and interests of all, and not only of the few.

    He said better operation of the European bodies was necessary, noting that this was linked with the European Constitutional Treaty that provides for the participation of the local and regional bodies in the decision-taking process.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.


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