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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-03
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM inaugurates 'Posidonia' maritime exhibitionPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis inaugurated the 21st "Posidonia" International Maritime Exhibition at the exhibition centre located at the former eastern Hellenikon airport on Monday afternoon, underlining the contribution of Greek shipping to the backing and strengthening of the economy.
The prime minister placed special emphasis on the government's policy on privatising the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
He said that the government's immediate aim is to develop strategic alliances with international managers to enable their dynamic upgrading and further utilisation.
"Offers by international managers who will assume, for a specific period of time, the managing of their container terminals are already at the stage of assessment. The aim is for us to attract private capital and modern know-how. The purpose is to make our ports transit centres in southeastern Europe. To make Greece a bridge between East and West, a modern transit centre, an international trade hub," the prime minister said.
Karamanlis referred to the present aggravated climate due to the international conjuncture and the energy and environmental challenge stressing that the rapid increase in prices of main farm products and consecutive upsurges in international oil prices are affecting the economies of the entire world, increasing the cost of production and transportation, fuelling inflation and compressing growth rates.
He praised the contribution of shipping which, together with tourism, are the most extroversive sectors of the Greek economy.
"They bring in exchange, they bridge the deficit in the trade balance, they create thousands of new jobs, they strengthen our economy and benefit society in its entirety," Karamanlis said.
He further mentioned that Greek shipping manages 17 percent of the international merchant fleet, 20 percent of the international fleet in transporting dry cargo and 23 percent of the international fleet of tankers.
Karamanlis also stressed that maritime exchange flowing into the country is increasing continuously and from 14 billion euros in 2006 it has reached 17 billion euros in 2007, while placing emphasis on the creation of new jobs.
 PASOK's political council convenesMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou chaired a meeting of the party's Political Council on Monday, that focused on the issues of education, high prices and the political situation in general.
Party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that the Political Council unanimously ratified a text "on the political situation and on the country's emergence from the crisis."
On his part, the party's responsible for dialogue with left wing parties Costas Skandalidis told journalists that his party was after "the greatest possible election victory and parliamentary majority while it seeks the the broadest political cooperation in order to yield a government of change which the country needs."
Papandreou sees major crisis for Greek universities
Greek universities are currently undergoing a major crisis, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Monday, blaming the government for "exiling state universities from its policies, its priorities and its funding". At the same time, "other minorities through their undemocratic behaviour were attempting to exile democracy from universities," Papandreou added.
The main opposition leader made the statements after a meeting with the three-member chair of the Rectors' Conference.
"PASOK wants universities to be free, democratic, self-governing and meritocratic. It wants state universities that are properly funded and give equal opportunities of access to all. Universities of values and ambition and, of course, universities that are open," Papandreou stressed.
He invited the academic community to preserve this vision for universities and fight for state universities in this form, pledging that PASOK would stand by their side in this struggle.
Commenting on the results of the meeting with Papandreou, meanwhile, the vice-rector of the Democritus University of Thrace Athanassios Karabinis described it as "exceptionally fruitful".
He said they had discussed possible initiatives that would give universities a way out of the current crisis and ways "to isolate the slender minorities whose practices were daily diminishing state universities and indirectly but clearly serving interests that were outside Greek education."
Technical University of Crete rector Ioakeim Gryspolakis was even more severe in his criticism of the groups responsible for the upheaval within Greek universities, comparing them to the colonels that had organized the military coup of 1967 and saying that universities had become "prey, at this moment, to the shock troops of the non-Parliamentary Left and not only them" that were trying to forcibly impose their views.
 New motorways in AtticaEnvironment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias announced on Monday the construction of a new network of motorways in the prefecture of Attica, having a total length of 55 kilometres and linking the Attica motorway with the coastal Posidonos motorway as well as, with a tunnel through Imittos, with the Mesogia region from Agia Marina to Rafina, including the airport.
The project, budgeted at 1.2 billion and be carried out with the method of assignment, will have a very important characteristic: The complete (up to 90 percent) length from Katechaki motorway in the region of Vyronas down to Posidonos motorway, having a total length of 14.5 kilometres, will be underground.
Souflias said that this option will increase the cost of the project considerably, but it will result in the slopes of Imittos in the direction of Vyronas, Ilioupoli, Argyroupoli and Elliniko remaining intact. The sections that will not be built underground will be at locations where overpasses will exist.
Caption: Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias announces the construction of new motorways on Monday in Athens. ANA-MPA/MARIA MAROYANNI
 Price cuts agreedSuper market representatives conveyed to Development Minister Christos Folias their intention to proceed with price decreases, responding on Monday to his appeal to display a sense of social responsibility.
Every business, however, will follow its own policy concerning the products whose prices it will reduce, as well as the extent of the decreases.
The president of the Metro firm, P. Panteliadis told reporters after the meeting with the minister that super market businesses declared their intention to cooperate in connection with the ministry's appeal, although they noted that their profit percentages range between 1 percent and 1.5 percent, while in a few cases they reach 2 percent. However, they promised to pass on all the industries' decreases to the retail prices.
"We shall see what we can do," Panteliadis said, adding that one must consider what is the cause of high prices, "apart fron increases in grain and oil" and pondering the role of industry in price increases.
Super market administrations are expected to notify the ministry, within a period of 48 hours, for which products they will be decreasing prices and to what extent.
Folias also held a meeting with representatives of milk industries, again on the issue of prices.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Development Minister Christos Folias
 Doukas in MoscowThe signing of agreements in the energy sector by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Vladimir Putin, extensive reconstruction taking place in Russia, great investments opportunities presenting themselves with the assumption by Sochi of the Winter Olympics in 2014 and the rapidly increasing purchasing capacity of the Russian market are creating the preconditions for greater activation in Russia by Greek businesses, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas and Russian Agricultural Development Minister Andrey Gordeev, who are co-chairing the Greek-Russian business conference taking place in Moscow.
The Greek delegation includes over 230 businessmen, who represent a wide range of the economy and people from the sectors of literature and art, with the purpose of seeking the best associates possible from the Russian side for investments in the two markets, as well as in third countries, and the further development of commercial transactions, Doukas said from the conference's podium.
Doukas also spoke of the huge cooperation potential in the tourism sector with the development of investments activities by both sides and with the encouragement of Russian tourism in Greece.
In order to achieve the latter, the deputy foreign minister revealed that the General Consulate in Moscow is holding consultations with a private company regarding the creation of a Centre for receiving applications, within the next few weeks, to speed up the process of issuing visas with processes required by the Schengen Treaty.
Meanwhile, in the sector of tourism, a Russian company has bought out the former Club Mediteranee on the island of Corfu, while the half Greek Atlantica Hotels and Resorts and the Russian Nataly Tours tourist agency have announced a joint investments plan amounting to 1.2 billion euros for the creation of 20 hotels in Greece over the next five years.
Th Russian investments presence in Greece concerns the sector of energy with the Prometheus Gaz, that belongs by 50 percent to the Kopelouzos group and to Gazprom, telecommunications through the subsidiaries of Sistema Holding and the sector of weaponry systems, in which Rosoboronexport, with exclusive rights to export Russian weaponry systems, has established a subsidiary in Greece. Interest in cooperation in this sector is being shown on the Greek side by EAB, which is present in the Greek delegation with its president Filipakos.
The first Russian bank, Bank Kedr, has been operating in Greece since 2007, while Greek banks, having a considerable presence in the Balkans and in Russia are still on hold. The Bank of Piraeus recently established a Representation Office in Russia, while the National Bank is also showing interest and whose alternate managing director Yiannis Pechlivanidis is participating in the business delegation.
The Greek businessmen are scheduled to hold meetings on Tuesday with Russian colleagues, seeking the best partner for cooperation, while Doukas was holding meetings in the afternoon at the foreign ministry with Alternate Foreign Minister Denisov and Deputy Foreign Minister Titov.
A business meeting will be held at the Town Hall in Moscow on Tuesday and a meeting will follow between businessmen and the President of the Chamber of Trade and Industry Primakov.
Eight Greek deputies are participating in the delegation, who will be holding contacts with Russian counterparts in the framework of the Greek-Russian friendship Parliamentary group and the presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation that Greece is holding.
Caption: Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas(R) and Russian Agriculture Minister Agricultural Development Minister Andrey Gordeev(L) in Moscow on Monday 2 June 2008. ANA-MPA/Vassilis Tsapatsaris
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