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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou promises more funding for healthcare
  • [02] FM meets with Syria's al-Assad
  • [03] Greece to persist with UN talks on 'name issue'
  • [04] Greeks more positive towards bourse, survey

  • [01] Papandreou promises more funding for healthcare

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday promised "decent wages" for public hospital staff and an increase in funding for the National Health System equal to 1 percent of GDP, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday after a meeting with representatives of state hospitals' physicians and nurses unions.

    Meeting the leadership of their national unions, Papandreou also criticised the government for promising one thing and doing another in the sensitive sector of healthcare, as he said.

    "The government is choosing to hire rural police instead of staff for hospitals ... In this way, it is managing the money of the Greek people as a party affair," he said.

    Papandreou said his party made a commitment to create a new, modernised national healthcare system and guaranteed its upgrading. He also made promises to hire 3,000 nursing staff a year, over and above those job spots lost to retirement and attrition.

    [02] FM meets with Syria's al-Assad

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was received in Damascus on Tuesday by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, on the second leg of her tour of the Middle East.

    A 90-minute expanded meeting between the delegations of the two countries was followed by a half-hour private discussion between Bakoyannis and al-Assad.

    Briefing reporters afterwards, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, who is accompanying Bakoyannis, said the two sides had an overall discussion on the situation in the Middle East, with the focus on Lebanon, the Palestinian issue and Iraq.

    Meanwhile, Koumoutsakos declined comment over a front-page report in an Israeli newspaper that Bakoyannis was conveying a message to al-Assad from the Israeli prime minister, merely noting that "Greece does not function as an envoy of another country, but conveys its own message, which is a message of dialogue without exclusions".

    The spokesman described as "exceptionally constructive" a later meeting by Bakoyannis with Syria's deputy prime minister for economic affairs, adding that the two sides had agreed on the need for further development of bilateral economic cooperation, with emphasis on construction, shipping, transfer of know-how, energy, tourism and agriculture.

    The next step regarding economic cooperation will be a visit by Greek Deputy FM Evripides Stylianidis to Syria, heading up a business delegation in the near future, Koumoutsakos said.

    Bakoyannis was also due to have separate meetings later with Syrian vice-president Farouk al-Shara and with Foreign Minister Walid Mualem.

    In the afternoon, before departing for Amman, the capital of Jordan, Bakoyannis will also meet with Damascus-based Patriarch Ignatios of Antioch.

    Caption: Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad (L) greets Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Damascus on Tuesday, June 12, 2007. ANA-MPA / A. DOUKAS

    [03] Greece to persist with UN talks on 'name issue'

    The government on Tuesday said Athens would persist with efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution to its dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) -- over the latter's adopted name -- through ongoing United Nations mediation.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said the Greek side has come to this process in a very constructive way and expects the other side to reciprocate. "We are staying with this process," he told reporters during a regular press briefing on Tuesday.

    Antonaros made the statement in response to questions about whether Greece was considering the possibility of talks regarding the nagging issue on a bilateral level, a prospect occasionally cited by European and US diplomats.

    The spokesman also said he was unaware of any specific proposal for such bilateral talks made during a visit here this week by US Undersecretary of State for political affairs Nicholas Burns.

    [04] Greeks more positive towards bourse, survey

    More Greeks are holding a positive view of the Athens Stock Exchange, although a majority of people in the country still have a negative view, a survey conducted by Hellenic Exchanges showed on Tuesday.

    The survey showed that 42 pct of respondents have a positive view of the market, up from 33 pct in a similar survey in 2005, although 58 pct of respondents said they still had a negative view.

    A 76 pct acknowledged the significant contribution of the stock exchange in creating the country's economic environment, while a 68 pct also acknowledged efforts made in the last two years to improve operations and the role of the market. The survey said that 48 pct of respondents would not invest in the stock market, down from a 54 pct figure two years ago.

    The survey said that most Greeks had a negative view of the stock exchange not because they did not have enough money (2.0 pct), but mainly because they were still affected by a lack of credibility in the past (20 pct) or because they lost money in the past (19 pct).

    A 30 pct of respondents said they could invest in the stock market if the composite index continued going up, combined with the introduction of stricter measures to boost transparency and credibility, along with an influx of large enterprises in the market.

    A 66 pct said they blamed lack of state controls and the listing companies that failed to meet necessary preconditions in the Athens Stock Exchange for burst of the 1999 bubble in the market, while 85 pct said they needed more information.

    The survey was conducted by Tradelink in the April-May period in a sample of 800 persons.

    Hellenic Exchanges also unveiled its vision to create a large common trading platform "XNET" to bring together the platforms of various markets in Southeastern Europe and the Middle East, setting up a large virtual common market in the area.

    The Economy ministry is funding part of the project, budgeted at 3.7 million euros. The plan includes the participation of the stock markets from Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, FYROM, Jordan and Serbia.

    มอม-MPA file photo of the Athens Stock Exchange.

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