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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-10

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis arrives in India for 3-day official visit
  • [02] FinMin on eco outlook
  • [03] Greek inflation at 3.9% in Dec
  • [04] Caryatids at new museum

  • [01] PM Karamanlis arrives in India for 3-day official visit

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon for the start of a three-day official visit to India. The prime minister is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, the head of his press office Yiannis Andrianou and Greek Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos.

    The aim of Karamanlis' visit is to further expand economic relations between Greece and India, which is considered a country with strong growth prospects in the region. Greece seeks to further improve cooperation in trade but also in the high technology sector.

    The official reception ceremony for the Greek premier will take place on Friday, after which there will be a series of official meetings between Karamanlis and India's state and political leadership.

    The Greek premier is scheduled to meet Indian President Pratibha Patil, the country's vice-president Hamid Ansari, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the head of the main opposition party Sonia Gandhi and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

    The agenda for Karamanlis' visit includes the laying of a wreath at the Gandhi Monument and a trip to Aggra and the Taj Mahal, after which the prime minister's party will spend the night in Jaipur.

    CAPTION: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis greeting the media upon his arrival at the New Delhi airport, India on Thursday, 10 January 2008. (EPA)

    [02] FinMin on eco outlook

    The impact on the Greek economy from turmoil in international financial markets and rising oil prices, which affect purchasing power throughout the world, will be limited because reforms taken by the government in previous years are now maturing, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters to present the country's updated Stability and Growth Programme 2007-2010, Alogoskoufis said the impact on the economy will be limited because of the existence of a wide-ranging Public Investments Programme (worth 9.3 billion euros), high private investments totalling 8.0 billion euros, the launch of a 4th Community Support Framework package (worth 24.3 billion euros) and the launch of a series of private/public joint ventures worth three billion euros.

    The Greek minister underlined that strong growth in southeastern Europe will boost demand and noted that 2008 will be a year of implementing reforms aimed at reducing deficits and combating tax evasion.

    The government aims to reduce its fiscal deficit from an estimated 1.6 pct of GDP In 2008 to 0.8 pct in 2009 and to presenting a balanced budget in 2010. Economic growth is also expected to be around 4.0 pct in the next three years, while unemployment is projected to drop to 6.0 pct of the workforce by 2010.

    Greek economic growth was based mainly on exports and private investments in the past years. "The Greek economy has strong foundations," the minister said.

    Finance Deputy Minister Nikos Legas said the fiscal deficit will remain below 3 percent in 2007, while Economy Deputy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said the government's aim was not to lose even one euro from a 3rd Community Support Framework package.

    Finance Deputy Minister Antonis Bezas said the ministry was launching a third phase of a tax reform programme aimed to combat tax evasion in the country.

    Greece's updated Stability and Growth Program 2007-2010 is based on the scenario that global oil prices will stabilize and that the impact from a turmoil in financial markets won't be widely spread.

    The country's real Gross Domestic Product is projected to grow by 4.0 pct annually during the three-year period, despite high oil prices and a strong euro currency rate.

    Private consumption is expected to continue its strong advance (an average 3.4 pct during the three-year period), while real wages are expected to grow by an average of 2.4 pct over the same period. Employment is expected to grow by an average of 1.8 pct and the unemployment rate to fall to 6.0 pct in 2010.

    The programmee also projects strong Greek exports and a slight reduction of the country's current accounts deficit, while inflation is expected to remain under control.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis.

    [03] Greek inflation at 3.9% in Dec

    Greece's annual inflation rate rose to 3.9 percent in December, compared with the same month in 2006, the National Statistical Service said on Thursday.

    The service, in a monthly report, said the inflation rate - measured by the consumer's price index - rose 0.4 pct in December from November 2007.

    NSS attributed the 3.9-pct increase of the inflation rate to a 4.8-pct increase in the food and beverage prices index, a 3.1-pct rise in clothing and footwear, a 8.7-pct increase in housing prices, a 4.7-pct rise in transportation prices, a 4.6-pct increase in education prices, a 4.4-pct rise in cafe/restaurant prices and a 2.5-pct increase in other goods and services.

    Greece's harmonised inflation rate also rose to 3.9 pct in December.

    Manolis Kontopyrakis, NSS' secretary-general, added that any forecast over the course of the inflation rate in 2008 would be groundless due to volatility in international oil prices.

    [04] Caryatids at new museum

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday paid a visit to the new Acropolis Museum, accompanied by Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis.

    The president was given a tour of the museum by the head of the Organisation for the Building of the New Museum of the Acropolis, Dimitris Pantermalis, and Acropolis curator Alexandros Mantis. Afterward, he said that the new museum for Greece's most famous archaeological landmark was a symbol of Greece's culture and history. In a clear reference to Greece's bid for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, Papoulias also stressed that the museum was "a sign for some people that do not wish to understand that some things must return to their historic base".

    The museum's management presented the president with two symbolic gifts, a small jar of olives harvested from the trees on the slopes below the Acropolis, which are not normally culled, and a copy of one the Acropolis' friezes currently displayed at the British Museum in London.

    The transfer by crane-relay of the remaining antiquities at the old Acropolis museum is expected to be completed by the end of this month, when the sixth and final caryatid will take up its position in the interior balcony on the new museum's first level. Once in place, all six caryatids - one of which is a copy - will be cleaned of the residues of atmospheric pollution and humidity using laser beam treatment.

    Caption: A view of the Caryatids at the new Acropolis Museum in Athens on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008. ANA-MPA / SIMELA PANTZARTZI.


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