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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-11

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK unveils candidates for next elections
  • [02] Gov't issues demand for funds' annual results
  • [03] Greece's exit from deficit procedure proposed
  • [04] Culture ministry to sponsor new art shows

  • [01] PASOK unveils candidates for next elections

    The main opposition PASOK party on Friday announced a list of candidates that will stand for Parliament in the next general election. They included party members that were on its state deputy ticket, the European Parliament, the ISTAME institute and the Andreas Papandreou Foundation.

    PASOK leader George Papandreou told Friday's meeting of the party's Political Council that Anna Diamantopoulou would stand in the 1st Athens constituency, while Maria Damanaki and Mimis Androulakis will stand in the 2nd Athens constituency, along with PASOK's former National Council secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou.

    MEP Nikos Sifounakis will vie for a seat in the island constituency of Lesvos and MEP Panos Beglitis in Corinth.

    Current ISTAME president Costas Kartalis will be a candidate in Magnesia prefecture and the current director of the Andreas Papandreou Foundation Dimitris Halkiotis will run for election in Lesvos. Kartalis will be replaced at ISTAME by Marilena Koppa, a member of PASOK's Political Council, and Halkiotis by Dimitris Gemelos.

    PASOK state deputies Sokratis Kosmidis and Roza Vretou will not be standing for election.

    Announcing the list of candidates, PASOK spokesman Petros Efthymiou also responded to statements by Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis regarding the government's economic policy, dismissing them as pre-election promises that would not be fulfilled.

    In response to statements by ministers on the rate of inflation, meanwhile, he said that economic indicators under New Democracy "have a magical quality: they obey the objectives of ministers but not the needs of citizens".

    The spokesman also reiterated a call for the government to activate constitutional procedures to investigate allegations against Supreme Court President Romylos Kedikoglou, saying that the government bore heavy responsibility for backing him, and repeated accusation of a cover-up led by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis over the bonds affair.

    [02] Gov't issues demand for funds' annual results

    Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas on Friday issued an urgent call towards the boards of state-run pension funds to submit, as soon as possible, annual reports and 2006 financial results along with a detailed report of their real estate assets.

    The minister, in a letter sent to the boards of all social security agencies and funds, also demanded annual reports and financial results of previous years by May 25 at the latest, otherwise the economy and finance ministry may proceed to cut all state subsidies to any entity that failed to report their results in a timely manner.

    Magginas also annulled a tender to hire an auditing firm as an advisor to funds interested in purchasing structured bonds issued by the Greek state and banks, after only one firm expressed interest in the tender.

    The minister, who assumed the employment and social protection portfolio last week, said a new tender would be held under the same terms soon.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Magginas.

    [03] Greece's exit from deficit procedure proposed

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris) - Greece‚s fiscal deficit fell below the 3.0 pct of GDP limit ?in a credible and sustainable way?, the European Commission said in its recommendation proposal to ECOFIN to end an excessive fiscal deficit procedure against the country.

    The European Commission‚s agencies completed drafting of a recommendation proposal, which is expected to be adopted by the Community‚s executive arm in May 16 after a recommendation by EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

    The recommendation proposal asks the Council to annul its previous decision over an excessive fiscal deficit in Greece, after it concluded that the country‚s budget deficit fell to 7.9 pct of GDP in 2004 to 2.6 pct of GDP in 2006, mainly through measures of permanent nature and some temporary nature measures accounting for 0.6 pct of GDP. The Commission estimates that the deficit would fall by 0.25 pct of GDP this to 2.4 pct, while it underlined the need for alertness to maintain fiscal discipline in the future and stressed its preference to permanent nature measures in fiscal consolidation efforts.

    Referring to the country‚s public debt, the Commission said it was adequately reduced from 108.5 pct of GDP in 2004 to 104.5 pct in 2006 and was expected to fall to 97.5 pct in 2008.

    The EU‚s executive said that Greek statistics agency improved procedures of collecting and processing of statistical data, reducing statistical divergence and improving the quality of statistical figures and noted that following this development Eurostat withdrew all of its reservations over the quality of Greek statistical data.

    The Commission said its economic forecasts were based on existing financial figures and not on revised GDP figures submitted by Greek authorities, figures that revised upwards by 26 percent the country‚s GDP. It said that Eurostat was currently examining the revised figures and its recommendations were expected during the year.

    The Commission said that if Eurostat fully verified Greece‚s revised GDP figures, the country‚s fiscal deficit would fall below 2.0 pct of GDP.

    [04] Culture ministry to sponsor new art shows

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis has announced a series of new art shows designed to support contemporary Greek art and Greek artists, including the revival of the Panhellenic Painting Exhibition after 20 years. This is due to relaunch on April-May 2008 and will be held by the ministry every two years, with 600,000 euros in funds from the 4th Community Support Framework.

    In a press conference on Thursday, the minister said the new initiatives hoped to boost local art in Greece, which faced long-standing problems because of "the Greek economy lacks the depth that would allow the average citizen to come closer to the visual arts of the country or the international scene".

    The measures listed by Voulgarakis include a state-organised "Modern Art Biennale" in Thessaloniki that will open on May 21 and run until September 30 at the city's State Museum of Modern Art, featuring 167 artists from 37 countries.

    Starting this month and running until October 2007 is the 2nd International Sketching Competition entitled "Children of the Future" that will be funded with 200,000 euros and is organised by the culture ministry and Greekartoon.

    The ministry will also sponsor and give 200,000 euros to the exhibition Art Athina 2007 that will open at the end of May, with the participation of 80 Greek and foreign galleries.

    Another 200,000 euros will be given by the culture ministry to support the 1st Athens Biennale "Destroy Athens" that opens in Gazi on September 10 and will run until November 18.

    From March to May 2009, meanwhile, there are plans for the 1st Architectural Biennale in Athens that will explore modern trends in architecture and receive 800,000 euros from European joint-funding programmes.

    Other measures announced by Voulgarakis were the re-activation of a law requiring that 1 percent of the budget for public buildings be allocated to their artistic decoration, 400,000 euros to support the Visual Arts Observatory and an annual ministry budget of 500,000 euros for purchasing works of art.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Culture Minister George Voulgarakis.


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