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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-10

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Prime Minister Karamanlis briefed by justice minister
  • [02] Papandreou announces return of one-time top cadre
  • [03] Commission approves state aid to OTE

  • [01] Prime Minister Karamanlis briefed by justice minister

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis departs on Thursday for Zagreb, where he will attend the 10th summit of the South-east Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) group, a session expected to bring together most of the leaders of regional countries.

    Earlier, Karamanlis met with Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras, who told reporters afterwards that he briefed the premier on two basic issues, the first concerning the transfer of foreign inmates to their countries of origin, and the second concerning a new Bankruptcy Code.

    Papaligouras said there has already been partial success towards an agreement at the European Union and Council of Europe level on the transfer of inmates to their countries of origin.

    In a few months' time, he said, the relevant binding procedure will have been finalised by the EU, but aded that Greece was chiefly interested in advancement of a similar agreement at Council of Europe level give that "the overwhelming majority of foreign nationals incarcerated in Greek prisons are not EU citizens but citizens of Council of Europe member countries".

    The justice minister clarified that this decision did not concern illegal immigrants but foreign inmates who do have appeals trials pending.

    Papaligouras further stressed that, in a short time, the Bankruptcy Code would be completed and tabled in Parliament, noting that it provided a second chance for those who go bankrupt "in good faith".

    The minister also said that it was a matter of a few months "which can be counted on the fingers of one hand" for completion of the new Criminal Procedure Code and Penal Code.

    [02] Papandreou announces return of one-time top cadre

    Veteran politician Costas Laliotis, a high-profile "old guard" member of main opposition PASOK, will actively return to the party after a lengthy absence, according to an announcement by PASOK leader George Papandreou on Thursday.

    Papandreou also announced Laliotis' appointment as president of the Andreas Papandreou Institute, stressing that the former public works, town planning and environment minister in the previous Simitis governments would have a daily and active role in PASOK's political, communications and programme planning in the run up to the elections. Laliotis will also be a member of PASOK's national council.

    Papandreou pointed out that the former minister was a politician with "knowledge and experience", with whom he had worked together "over an entire lifetime" and who had lived through all the critical moments in the career of both the PASOK party and of its founder Andreas Papandreou, George Papandreou's father.

    Laliotis said he was deeply honoured by the proposal and that he had accepted it "since it was also an act of faith in my person".

    He stressed that the invitation to head the Institute was not a form of "honorary retirement" but a proposal for constant, honorary and symbolic enlistment. He expressed confidence in a favourable outcome for PASOK in the next elections, saying that a "new majority" was forming to add to the three million voters that had voted for PASOK in 2004.

    Concerning the present New Democracy government, Laliotis described it as "winded and faded" and said it had already given everything it had to give, so that its further stay in power would only accumulate dead-end problems.

    [03] Commission approves state aid to OTE

    The European Commission on Thursday said it has closed an in-depth investigation and concluding that the Greek government's planned contribution to the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's (OTE) voluntary early retirement scheme was compatible with community regulations on state aid.

    The Commission, in a statement, said the Greek government's transfer of 4.0 pct of its shares in OTE to the organisation's pension fund was aimed at relieving OTE from extra costs resulting mainly from the status of OTE's employees. The Commission's decision is based on the Greek government's explicit commitment that the value of the shares to be transferred to the pension fund will not exceed the extra costs of the programme, estimated at 390.4 million euros.

    Commenting on the decision, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "I am pleased to approve aid which should enable OTE to reduce its staff and become a leaner and more efficient company to the benefit of a healthier Greek communications market. The Commission is in favour of measures which help former monopolists adapt to a fully liberalised market environment provided that they comply with the state aid rules".

    Caption: A view of OTE's headquarters in the northern Athens district of Maroussi. ANA-MPA / P. SAITAS


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