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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Tourist season off to strong start, tourism minister informs PM
  • [02] Papandreou again urges for early elections

  • [01] Tourist season off to strong start, tourism minister informs PM

    Tourist season off to strong start, tourism minister informs PM

    In a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday, Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia reported that this year's tourist season had kicked off earlier and more strongly than in previous years.

    "This means we have to stay alert and mobilise the entire state mechanism, but the prospects are very good for this year also. I think that this will be the third consecutive year that we will have increased traffic during the summer - and not only then - but also increased foreign exchange from tourism," she underlined.

    Pointing out that tourism contributed over one billion euros a month to the Greek economy, Petralia expressed certainty that this figure would be even greater in 2007.

    She noted that her ministry's coordination with other ministries, with local authorities and tourism bodies over the past months had yielded the sought-after results, leading to a collective, cooperative approach by all involved in generating Greece's tourist product.

    "Our message for this year's tourist season is: 'Safe, friendly, clean environment'. This means safety during one's stay, hospitality and quality services," Petralia stressed.

    Asked to comment on Greece's anticipated exit from the excessive deficit procedure, the minister underlined that this was very important for the country and a great success for the government but not necessarily linked to early elections.

    "I would say that it inspires us to work even harder until the time of the elections," she added.

    PM meets visiting Russian deputy premier, Cypriot House Speaker

    Before the meeting with Petralia, the prime minister received Russia's First Deputy Premier Sergey Ivanov and Cypriot House Speaker Demetris Christofias who is currently on a visit to Greece. Their talks focused on bilateral relations and current affairs in the surrounding region, but they also devoted some time to last night's Euroleague Basketball final, where Athens' Panathinaikos beat CSKA Moscow to earn the club's fourth Euroleague Final Four championship victory.

    In banter before the camera, Ivanov told the Greek premier that he had seen the game and noted that it had been very good.

    Karamanlis' talks with Christofias covered the Cyprus problem and EU related issues.

    No statements were made after either meeting.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Karamanlis.

    [02] Papandreou again urges for early elections

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou again issued his call for the government to declare early elections, this time speaking on Monday from the northeastern border city of Komotini during an address to supporters.

    In a speech to his party's affiliated youth group, PASP, Papandreou charged that the government is not capable of governing, while he expressed optimism that his party will win the next elections, which he called a "great democratic referendum".

    Among others, he also detailed what he said were the differences between the "progressive" and "conservative" schools of thought vis-?-vis, among others, globalization, dialogue between civilisations and restrictions to civil rights under the guise of dealing with terrorism.

    "We socialists are building bridges of life and understanding; we are in favor of pre-emptive diplomacy instead of pre-emptive war; in favor of dialogue instead of extremism..." he said.

    In returning to his criticism of the government, he said it has not pushed forth any reforms or substantive upgrading in any sector.

    Turning to education issues, he promised 5 percent of GDP for the education sector if PASOK is elected, as well as autonomy for Greece's numerous universities and tertiary technological institutes and an evaluation process for such schools.

    Finally, he again criticised the government and PM Costas Karamanlis personally over the ongoing bonds affair related to alleged mismanagement of various state-run pension funds' investments and reserves.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Papandreou.


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