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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-31

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Light industry entrepreneurs present proposals to PM Karamanlis
  • [02] Discussion on corruption, tax evasion
  • [03] FM meets senior Iranian official
  • [04] PASOK leader meets contractors' association
  • [05] Artifacts returned from Getty Museum

  • [01] Light industry entrepreneurs present proposals to PM Karamanlis

    Representatives of the General Confederation of Light Industry and Commerce of Greece (GSEBEE), headed by confederation president Dimitris Assimakopoulos, on Thursday submitted GSEBEE's proposals for small and medium size enterprises during a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Assimakopoulos told reporters after the meeting that the GSEBEE delegation had briefed the prime minister on the confederation's proposals with respect to issues of financing and subsidisation of the SMEs and combatting unemployment. He said that GSEBEE was not opposed to reforms and changes, but only to "reforms that create benefits for only a few interests". Assimakopoulos said that the country had no general strategic framework for SMEs, and called on the prime minister to take part in a meeting of the GSEBEE board of directors.

    Replying to questions, Assimakopoulos said that the issue of corruption in the public sector had only been briefly touched on, in passing, adding that much discussion had taken place on this matter in the past, but it was not being confronted.

    Assimakopoulos said that the prime minister told the GSEBEE delegation that this was an immense problem, and that great efforts were being made to tackle it.

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

    [02] Discussion on corruption, tax evasion

    All producer and social groups are responsible for dealing with the twin scourges of corruption and tax-evasion facing the country, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday. He was speaking to reporters after a meeting between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and representatives of producer classes and the civil servants' union ADEDY.

    The minister said the problem was equally important for business groups and civil servants, urging both sides to mobilize their members.

    Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said a draft legislation recently tabled in parliament would contribute more to efforts at combating corruption, while he reiterated the government's position to show no tolerance to corruption. He stressed that a new civil servants code was promoting meritocracy and that a new office hours schedule would better facilitate citizens' transactions with the public sector.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said the government has introduced more than 30 measures to support small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    ADEDY, civil servants' union, presented its demands to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyros said the union's demands reflected the needs of ordinary people.

    Papaspyros asked for a minimum monthly income of 800 euros and for the introduction of a minimum salary of 1,250 for new employees in the public sector. He also said the two sides disagreed on education and healthcare issues and on issues related with a review of the Constitution.

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

    [03] FM meets senior Iranian official

    Developments concerning Iran's nuclear programme were at the centre of talks held in Athens on Thursday between Greece's Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) deputy secretary Dr. Mohammad Nahavandian, which took place at the initiaitve of the Iranian side.

    Bakoyannis was briefed in detail on Tehran's positions on the nuclear programme issue, in view of Greece's assumption on Friday of the rotating UN Security Council presidency for the month of September.

    The discussion, which lasted for more than an hour, was substantive and concerned the proposal put forward by the European Union aimed at lifting the current impasse.

    After the meeting, Nahavandian told reporters that Iran saw the EU proposal, which gives incentives for Iran to halt its uranium enrichment programme, in a positive, and saw it as a basis for commencing negotiations and cooperation in various sectors.

    "Instead of displaying such great sensitivity to strict timetables and deadlines, let us focus on the essence. Very good prospects may arise from a constructive negotiation. Iran is prepared for an immediate commencement of a consensus cooperation, anywhere," Nahavandian said, stressing that the discussions could also include Iran's nuclear programme.

    Nahavandian also praised the level of bilateral Greece-Iran relations, adding that he also exchanged views with Bakoyannis on regional issues of interest to both countries.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis)

    [04] PASOK leader meets contractors' association

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Thursday continued his meetings with representatives of producer and social groups ahead of next month's Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), the venue from where the country's political leaders detail their political and economic policies for the coming year.

    On Thursday, Papandreou met with the leadership of the Association of Technical Companies (contractors) of the Highest Classes (STEAT), a closely watched meeting following a verbal exchange between Papandreou and Public Works Minister George Souflias earlier this week, with the latter at one point calling the PASOK leader's statement regarding the reformed procedures awarding major public works contracts "foolish".

    In a reaction a couple of days later, PASOK's shadow head for public works, Yiannis Tsaklidis, used the same language, saying that the issue at hand revolves around the inordinately excessive discounts now being submitted for contracts, leading to bids below the real costs for a given project, which means either unfinished projects or shoddy quality, as he claimed.

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

    [05] Artifacts returned from Getty Museum

    Two ancient artifacts arrived in Greece from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles on Thursday and were taken to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The artifacts were presented to Greek and foreign journalists by Culture Minister George Voulgarakis.

    The minister revealed that negotiations with the Getty Museum are continuing for two more ancient artifacts, while a high-ranking delegation from the Getty Museum will be arriving in Athens around the end of September to continue talks.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis)


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