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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't focusing on country's future, FinMin says after meeting PM
  • [02] FinMin meets Emporiki Bank's new chiefs
  • [03] Gov't adamant over 'name issue' with FYROM
  • [04] PASOK leader meets farmers' union

  • [01] Gov't focusing on country's future, FinMin says after meeting PM

    The government is focusing on the country's future and implements specific policies to deal with past problems, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the presidency of the Federation of Northern Greece Industries, Alogoskoufis said the country's producer and social partners were acknowledging progress made in economic reforms and the economy and added "many still have to be done". Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, speaking to reporters, said a meeting with the Central Union of Chambers of Greece and Northern Greece Industries were fruitful since both meeting confirmed that the government and its social partners "have common goals".

    The government wants northern Greece to become a center for Southeastern Europe , adding that all policies aimed at boosting regional growth.

    George Mylonas, president of the federation, stressed that the business community has expectations and demands from the government to support growth in the region and to establish Thessaloniki as a trade fair center.

    The premier will continue his round of meetings with representatives of the producer classes and trade unions on Thursday. He will meet with the leadership of the General Conference of Manufacturers and Traders and the presidency of ADEDY, civil servants' union.

    (ANA-MPA photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday)

    [02] FinMin meets Emporiki Bank's new chiefs

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday met with Emporiki Bank's new management, chairman Jean Frederic De Leusse and chief executive Christian Jacques. The two bankers briefed the Greek minister over their plans to strengthen Emporiki Bank's activities and praised Alogoskoufis for the good cooperation between the two sides.

    Alogoskoufis expressed a hope that the new management, appointed by Emporiki's new owners, Credit Agricole, would contribute in strengthening competition in the domestic banking sector to the benefit of enterprises, households and the Greek economy in general.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis)

    [03] Gov't adamant over 'name issue' with FYROM

    The "name issue" separating Athens and Skopje re-emerged on the "political radar" this week following a series of mostly inflexible statements by FYROM's new leadership, and expected reactions by Greece's foreign ministry. Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Wednesday was the latest top Greek official to comment on the long-standing difference.

    He clarified that a solution to the 16-year-old dispute absolutely does not revolve around the name that Greece will use in bilateral relations - a leitmotif of previous FYROM governments repeatedly cited by the Skopje over the past few days.

    "If the stated goal was to decide how Greece will refer to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) then UN Security Council resolutions would not be necessary, nor would negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations secretary general be necessary," Valinakis said when asked about comments by FYROM PM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who heads a new coalition government in Skopje that was installed on Monday.

    "These negotiations, which as we all know have been conducted between Greece and FYROM for a very long time, deal with the international name of the neighboring country. This is the objective of the negotiations and not the manner in which Greece will refer to FYROM on a bilateral level," Valinakis said, adding that he hopes the "new FYROM government will display the necessary spirit of cooperation to find a mutually acceptable solution".

    "Any other approach impugns and in the end undermines the essence and meaning of the procedure that has commenced under the aegis of the United Nations, and one that is not compatible with Skopje's European prospects and the relevant obligations that the latter has assumed," he concluded.

    On Tuesday, Gruevski reiterated, during a radio interview, that he will not change the country's "constitutional name", i.e. "Republic of Macedonia" - "The climate that exists in the country does not favor changes to the constitutional name, and no government has the right to resist citizens' will," he was quoted as saying.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis)

    [04] PASOK leader meets farmers' union

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday discussed the agricultural sector's problems with the presidium of the PASEGES Panhellenic Confederation of Farming Cooperative Unions, as part of a series of contacts Papandreou is holding with representatives of the producer classes ahead of his address at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) next month.

    The main problem was the reduction in farming incomes in both 2004 and 2005, PASEGES president Tzanetos Karamichas told reporters after the meeting, adding that PASEGES requested of Papandreou -- saying it would do so also of prime minister Costas Karamanlis at their next meeting -- a strong social package, particularly for the low-income farmers, and chiefly for the pensioners so that the OGA farmers' social insurance fund minimum pension would rise to 500 euros per individual.

    He said this should not be introduced over a period of 4-6 years, but was a policy that needed to be implemented in the next 2-3 years.

    To a press comment that since Papandreou had spoken of a pension of 800 euros per farming couple, he had committed himself to that, Karamichas said that Papandreou's proposal was much better than the current proposal being implemented by the government, but added that the Papandreou proposal too fell short of ensuring a minimum dignified life for the farming pensioners.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK leader George Papandreou)

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