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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM requests discussion on global economic situation at EU Summit
  • [02] PASOK on high cost of living
  • [03] Alogoskoufis at ECOFIN meeting

  • [01] PM requests discussion on global economic situation at EU Summit

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday addressed a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso requesting the inclusion of the current international economic situation in the agenda of an upcoming Summit on June 19-20.

    Moreover, the Greek premier recommends a more effective pan-European policy to deal with the repercussions of rising prices on European citizens, particularly.

    "The international economy is facing a series of major and extended crises related to the price of oil, basic goods and foodstuffs. According to IMF estimates, real international prices for foodstuffs have increased by 47.3 percent during the past two years. The increase in prices for minerals and oil has reached 39.7 percent and 46.8 percent, respectively. These external repercussions are common for all our economies and threaten the stability of prices, growth and progress in the sectors of employment and social cohesion," Karamanlis' letter states.

    The Greek prime minister also emphasised that spiraling prices disproportionately harm lower-income levels of society, while European leaders must focus on what measures they will take to relieve the negative consequences from the current crisis.

    Karamanlis called for further improvement in the level of competition and efficiency in the European Union's markets, along with targeted social benefits to sensitive segments of the population and improved global coordination with the Union's trade partners to combat the root causes behind the rise in international inflation pressures.

    "Our citizens rightly expect from us to arrive at an effective answer during this difficult juncture. I hope that the next European Council will provide the opportunity for us to agree on the general principles that comprise such an answer."

    [02] PASOK on high cost of living

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday referred to the high cost of living in Greece, noting that poverty in the country is a phenomenon which is intensifying, citing as examples social groups, which, he said, seek a second job, either economize on food or find it difficult to pay off credit cards and loans.

    Papaconstatinou said that ?there is no policy to tackle these phenomena.?

    He added that even the Fund against poverty "is not operating".

    He called on the government to give a briefing on the exact situation of the country and whether there was a case of Greece again entering EU supervision.

    On the Public Power Corporation (PPC), Papaconstantinou said that the corporation lacks orientation and a sustained course.

    He stressed that the PPC many times has called for an increase in the price of electricity, "as it is used to dump all the cost on the consumer".

    Papaconstantinou described the "selling off to private interests of local ports and airports as a world prototype.?

    [03] Alogoskoufis at ECOFIN meeting

    A Eurogroup and an ECOFIN council meeting, on Monday and Tuesday, highlighted high uncertainties over the global and European economies, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after an ECOFIN meeting in Luxembourg, the Greek minister stressed that the European economy was feeling the impact of global developments, such as a credit crisis and higher prices in raw materials, food and oil, developments with great impact on the EU inflation.

    Alogoskoufis said Europe had three options in dealing with higher inflationary pressures: first, intensifying efforts to boost competition in the food market, consumer goods and oil, second, government actions to support low income households within limitation of fiscal goals. Particularly, for Greece, Alogoskoufis said the set up of a fund to combat poverty preceded the current crisis and will help social policy in the country. He stressed that the fund was scheduled to begin operating in the second half of 2008 but current developments called for more rapid start. Third, Europe should use all its weight in international for and in consultations with its international trade partners to promote interventions aimed to boost production and for a more efficient management of raw material markets.

    The ECOFIN meeting decided to end procedures against the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal and Slovakia over their excessive fiscal deficits in the past.

    The European Investment Bank approved the appointment of Plutarhos Sakellaris as vice-president of the Bank, from August 1st with a four-year term.

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