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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 'More effective EU strategy' for regions
  • [02] PASOK on social insurance issue
  • [03] Greek firms urged to do business in Latin America

  • [01] 'More effective EU strategy' for regions

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis called on the European Commission to exercise a 'more effective strategy' and suggested that an EU directive be created to reinforce Greek regions that are at a disadvantage, in comments he made during the 2006 Subsidiarity Conference held by the Austrian EU Presidency in St. Polten on Tuesday.

    The conference, which will conclude on Wednesday, is titled "Europe begins at home," and its focus is on the transfer of power from Brussels and national governments to regions and local authorities.

    "Greek regions are no longer a passive audience to developments, but rather co-participants in shaping the new, national development policy," Valinakis told the ANA-MPA after the conference.

    He said that for years regional problems remained unresolved, leading to a build-up of unfulfilled promises for development.

    The result was problems in absorbing EU funds, in capitalising on local potential, in investment and employment, Valinakis added.

    "With comprehensive developmental interventions, decisiveness in reform and social consensus, we are breathing new life into Greek regions," Valinakis said, also making a reference to the 20.1 billion euros Greece secured from the Fourth Community Support Framework for the 2007-2013 period.

    According to Austria's leadership, Austria as EU President, will do everything possible to promote dialogue on the principle of subsidiarity and reinforcing this mindset in member states as well.

    Conference attendees included representatives from EU member states, the European Commission, European Parliament and national parliaments.

    Representing Greek Parliament was President of the European Affairs Committee Sotiris Hatzigakis, while main opposition PASOK MP Akis Tsohatzopoulos was expected to arrive later on Tuesday.

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

    [02] PASOK on social insurance issue

    Main opposition PASOK party employment, social policy and health official Evangelos Venizelos said on Tuesday, in relation to statements made by the labour minister on the social insurance issue, that "the government with generalities, vagueness, subterfuge and proposals of a procedural nature, which it changes every month, is attempting to appear as a Pontius Pilate, referring all crucial decisions to the next government."

    Labour Minister Savvas Tsitouridis said earlier on Tuesday that a debate on the pension system will begin in parliament after the Easter holidays.

    Speaking to reporters, Tsitouridis said the debate would focus on examining the dimensions of the problem and dealing with pending issues from implementing a current legislation.

    Venizelos further said that "with continuous intentional leaks and danger talk it is systematically cultivating the impression that the social insurance system is collapsing and that the cause of the collapse are the 'excessive' and 'disproportionate' social insurance rights of working people and pensioners and, therefore, the only 'compulsory' solution is a cutback of these rights."

    He also said that "the government is refusing to implement existing legislation and it is refusing to respect its enacted obligations towards the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA) and the other social insurance funds.

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

    [03] Greek firms urged to do business in Latin America

    Greek firms should turn their sights on Latin America, a market of about 300 million consumers who are seeking to improve their standard of living, the head of the Federation of Greek Industry (SEB), Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, said on Tuesday.

    "The aim would be to increase the few Greek investments in Latin American countries and evolve alliances in sectors such as telecoms, construction, minerals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, farm products, the defence industry, shipping and tourism," Kyriakopoulos told a round-table debate.

    The event to promote Greek exports and investment in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Chile was arranged by SEB and the Greek-Latin America Business Council.

    "Greek firms need to expand their business horizons in new, emerging markets, overcoming obstacles such as distance, red tape, a lack of information or opportunities, and global competition," he noted.

    In addition, trade with Latin American countries remained low, with the deficit on the Greek side.

    A pact had been signed with Mexico on avoidance of double taxation, a move that should be extended to other countries, Kyriakopoulos added.

    Speaking for the Greek-Latin American council, Marcia Covarrubias underlined that geographical distance had less importance in an era of technology and rapid data transmission.

    Greece's secretary general for international economic relations, Theodoros Skylakakis, stated that the foreign ministry intended to strengthen the legal framework for cooperation with Latin American countries and help Greek companies to expand there.

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

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