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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Inner cabinet approves two draft legislations
  • [02] Trade fair to focus on innovation
  • [03] Gov't unveils figures for social budget
  • [04] Liapis on visit to Singapore, China

  • [01] Inner cabinet approves two draft legislations

    An inner cabinet meeting on Tuesdsay, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, approved two draft legislations for the creation of an innovation zone in Thessaloniki and a National Public Administration Center in the country. Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the draft bill envisaged a regular inspection of source of wealth statements of all officials in the Finance ministry and Town Planning agencies by a Public Administration inspector. Pavlopoulos said this was a significant regulation to promoting transparency in the public sector. The Greek minister also said the draft bill envisaged the creation of a national commission on equality, based on the Libson strategy, and final regulations for the operation of a National Public Administration Center. The draft bill will be tabled to parliament on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said a draft bill on creating an innovation zone in Thessaloniki fulfilled a commitment taken by the Prime Minister and stressed that private and other investors would promote innovation and technology. Together with two more poles of innovation, created in central and western Macedonia, Northern Greece would become a center for the promotion of innovation and technology in the wider region, the Greek minister said.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis)

    [02] Trade fair to focus on innovation

    The 71st Thessaloniki International Trade Fair will focus on innovation and will have a stronger business and international nature. The trade fair will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday, Sept. 8 and will remain open to the public until Sept. 17. Helexpo, the organizer of the fair, plans a variety of parallel events aiming to establish TIF as a "festival for the city, the country, attracting the world and particularly young people".

    Presenting this year's programme, Helexpo president Aristotelis Thomopoulos said visitors would be able to visit the refurbished turning fourth floor of the telecommunications tower "a symbol of the city and of the trade fair". Helexpo has signed a lease contract with Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation and plans to launch a tender for the management of the tower.

    This year's theme is innovation with TIF - in cooperation with the general secretariat of Research and Technology - presenting a series of innovative products and services, such as hydrogen cars, subwater archaeology, renewable energy source technologies.

    Helexpo also plans to organize a 2nd Business Forum, focusing on innovation.

    OPAP, the state-run lottery and football pools organization, is the grand sponsor of this year's trade fair, which will include more than 1,009 exhibitors from Greece and other 32 countries. Helexpo said 14 percent of exhibitors were public agencies and 86 percent private companies.

    Karamanlis is expected to present the government's economic policy directions for next year during his traditional speech on Sept. 9, with all political party leaders expected to visit the trade fair in the following days.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Helexpo president Aristotelis Thomopoulos)

    [03] Gov't unveils figures for social budget

    The Greek government on Tuesday unveiled figures for its social budget with Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis expressing his satisfaction over the picture showed by the budget. Tsitouridis said employment was rising, unemployment falling and social cohesion strengthening in the country. Social protection spending totalled 43.3 billion euros this year.

    It was up 9.13 pct from 2005, or 22.28 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, up from 21.92 pct in the previous year.

    Spending on pensions totalled 24.5 billion euros, up 8.19 pct from last year, while spending on healthcare rose 10.37 pct to 18.8 billion euros.

    The number of insured people totalled 3,931,891, with people eligible for supplementary social insurance totalling 2,749,498 and a total of 5,923,338 for healthcare services.

    The ratio between insured people and pensioners was 1.77 this year, down from 1.79 in 2005, a decline of 1.12 pct, the Greek minister said. The report said that the balance of all social insurance funds showed a surplus this year, following a trend prevailing in the last decade, with revenues totalling 29.3 billion euros and expenses totalling 27.9 billion euros. Tsitouridis, noted, however, that the country's social insurance funds' balance was dramatic and urged for a more efficient management of funds.

    (ANA-MPA photo of Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis in Athens on Tuesday)

    [04] Liapis on visit to Singapore, China

    Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis will depart for Singapore and China on Wednesday. Specifically, Liapis is due to meet with Singapore Transport Minister Raymond Lim on Thursday. On Friday, Liapis will travel to Beijing, where he will be received by China's Minister for Communications Li Shenglin, among other top officials in the Chinese capital.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis)

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