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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government sets up expert committee to discuss pension system's future
  • [02] Sioufas on a visit to Albania
  • [03] Greece donates shipping for Lebanon aid

  • [01] Government sets up expert committee to discuss pension system's future

    The government on Thursday announced that the members of an expert committee that will be set up to discuss the state of Greece's pension funds and their future, presenting its report in about a year's time.

    The decision was made during a meeting between Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis, who said that failure to begin dialogue and address the problems of Greece's ailing pension system might eventually affect the economy.

    The committee, made up chiefly of technocrats heading government economic services and representatives of industry, employers and trade unions, will convene for the first time within August and its aim is to carry out a technical overview of the current state of pension funds and their future prospects.

    The head of the Economic and Social Committee Nikos Analytis was appointed chairman and said the committee's membership may later be expanded to include representatives of the social partners and political parties that have chosen not to participate at this time.

    In statements to reporters, Alogoskoufis said there was already agreement between members of the committee and the government on certain points, such as the need to curb evasion of contributions payment, making better use of funds' assets and streamlining.

    Tsitouridis stressed that the current system was both chaotic, socially unfair and created inequity between successive generations.

    Ministers slam 'illicit' opposition tactics over Emporiki sale

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Thursday renewed accusations against "sections of the opposition" that they said were employing illicit tactics and methods, including intimidation, to persuade the social insurance funds not to participate in the sale of the state's shares in Emporiki Bank to France's Credit Agricole.

    According to Alogoskoufis, there had been "party interventions and threats against fund board members" to prevent the sale going ahead, while certain people had been forced to resign.

    "We have had complaints from board members at insurance funds that they came under pressure to not go ahead with the Emporiki issue," he said.

    The two ministers also stressed that the government had not given the funds any instruction apart from doing what was best for the interests of those insured with them.

    They made the claims following a meeting on Thursday, during which they decided on the composition of an expert committee that will discuss the problems facing Greece's ailing pension system and present its report in about a year.

    The committee, made up chiefly of government technocrats, will convene for the first time within August and its aim is to make a technical assessment of the situation concerning pension funds and their future prospects.

    [02] Sioufas on a visit to Albania

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, currently on a formal visit to Albania, underlined the contribution of the Greek investments and capital to the economic growth of Albania in the contacts he had in Tirana on Thursday.

    Sioufas met with Albanian Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy Genc Ruli and discussed prospects for the further improvement of Greek-Albanian cooperation on development and energy issues as well as on issues concerning the operation of the SE Europe Energy Community, a treaty on which was signed last October in Athens. Sioufas pointed out that over 21 billion euros will be invested in SE Europe in the following years.

    Referring to the ethnic Greek minority living in Albania and the Albanian immigrants in Greece, Sioufas stressed that they constitute ?a bridge on which our efforts and all our plans should be based? and reiterated Greeceās support to Tiranaās EU accession efforts.

    Greece is Albaniaās second largest trading partner with over 250 Greek companies active in strategic sectors of the Albanian economy such as, the banking sector and telecommunications.

    Earlier, on Thursday Sioufas met with Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and All Albania.

    [03] Greece donates shipping for Lebanon aid

    Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, responsible coordinator for humanitarian aid issues, stated that Greece informed its European partners that it is willing to donate the shipping to Lebanon of the humanitarian aid arriving in Larnaca, Cyprus from EU member states.

    The shipping will be conducted by a Greek Navy tank landing vessel and the Cyprus Republic will offer the Larnaca port accommodations, according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

    Hellenic Aid in cooperation with the European authorities attempts to play a coordinating role by utilizing its successful experience and technical potential provided by the Greek armed forces, said Stylianidis. He added that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has already briefed the European partners and the European Commission on the Greek offer, made in consultation with the Cyprus Republic, to ship the European partnersā humanitarian aid from Larnaca to Lebanon for free.

    Stylianidis stated that the second phase of the humanitarian aid to Lebanon is underway during which a fundraising will be held and the money raised will be offered to the affected area. On the first phase of the Hellenic Aid action, he said that Greece was the first to transport thousands of people from the war zone to Greece and also, the first to bring over 70 tons of medical and pharmaceutical aid to the victims of the war.

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