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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-16

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM receives Agriculture, Merchant Marine Min.
  • [02] PASOK: Scandals pervade political life
  • [03] FinMin optimistic on economy

  • [01] PM receives Agriculture, Merchant Marine Min.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with Agricultural Development Minister Alekos Kontos at the Maximos Mansion. Later, Karamanlis will have a meeting with Merchant Marine Minister George Voulgarakis and at noon the Prime Minister will attend the 6th conference of the board of directors of the Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarism and Democracy.

    On Tuesday, issues pertaining to the education ministry were discussed during an Inner Cabinet meeting chaired by Karamanlis.

    After the meeting, Education Minister Evripides Stylianidis told reporters that he briefed the Inner Cabinet on strategy for the education sector, in which the top priority was a comprehensive plan for developing "smart schools" in the period 2008-2012.

    He said the funds for the construction of 1,233 schools throughout the country have already been planned and secured, while priority was also on completing or upgrading existing school buildings and their equipment.

    Stylianidis announced that he had presented to the Inner Cabinet an innovative policy platform entitled "The Greek, a citizen of Europe - The Greek, a citizen of the world".

    He explained that the policy was founded on five collections of measures for human-centred, environmental education, multilingualism, knowledge of the Greek language, digital convergence, education, culture and sports.

    Each one of those actions was accompanied by a comprehensive study carried out by relevant institutions, and contained specific targets, the minister. Referring to human-centred education as an example, he explained that it contained interventions for persons with special needs and the socially sensitive groups, while environmental education aimed at sustainable development and instilling an environmental conscience in the younger generation.

    Stylianidis further said that the advancement of the Greek language, and multilingualism among Greeks, was the third target area, while the fourth concerned digital convergence, which aimed at eliminating "digital illiteracy", and promoting the use of new technologies in the education system.

    He also said that culture and sports were elements intertwined with the identity of the modern-day Greek and needed to be cultivated by the education system.

    Development minister Christos Folias said, in turn, that he discussed progress regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project with the prime minister, adding that the agreement on establishing the international company for the project would possibly be signed by the end of the week in Sofia, so that the project could begin.

    All the procedures have been completed, and the road was opening up for the project, Folias said.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis

    [02] PASOK: Scandals pervade political life

    Main opposition PASOK on Tuesday insisted that the revelations concerning former culture ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos had a strongly political hue and could not be dismissed as a sex scandal.

    "PASOK told the Greek people frankly from the first that the Zachopoulos affair was a deeply political affair, a [New Democracy] affair and not a [sex scandal]. From the first moment we have asked the prime minister and the government to tell the whole truth," PASOK spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis said.

    He also stressed that the latest round of, as yet unconfirmed, revelations concerning the head of the Special Audit Service (former economic crimes unit SDOE) Spyros Kladas and a ruling party MP demanded that the government state its position. Pointing out that Kladas had so far failed to make an official denial of the allegations, Ragoussis added that these would be a "foremost issue" if proved true.

    "The country can no longer wallow in this mire, which for Greece's poor fortune is linked to the inner core of the prime minister's [circle]," he said, adding that PASOK MPs intended to table a question in Parliament on this issue later on Tuesday.

    Asked if PASOK agreed with the allegations made by TV journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos about Kladas, Ragoussis said the main opposition demanded that the government state its own position first and would then unveil its position depending on developments.

    Government's reply

    Responding to PASOK's spokesman, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos denied suggestions that the government had engaged in suspect deals.

    "Contrary to the practice of PASOK governments, the present government does not enter into transactions with anyone. The laws are upheld and no one is above the law," he stressed.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou

    [03] FinMin optimistic on economy

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis appeared optimistic in Parliament on Tuesday regarding the Greek economy by the year 2010, while briefing the Finance Committee on the updated Stability and Growth Programme covering the 2007-2010 period.

    According to the minister, what will be taking place by the year 2010 will be an increase in real incomes, an increase in employment by 1.8 percent (and a decrease in unemployment to 6 percent), a decrease in inflation and in tax burdens.

    The widening of the tax base and the crackdown on tax evasion is expected to more than cover the losses from the decrease in tax rates for private individuals, resulting in general governance revenues increasing by 2.4 percent, while a decrease in state expenditures will also be taking place, with the exception of those concerning social policy, where there will be an increase of 2 percent of GDP.

    The above, combined with an increase in exports, will create the preconditions for enabling the growth rate to reach 4 percent by the year 2010, the minister said.

    "The inflow of investments, either direct, or through portfolio, has a permant character in our country for a number of reasons (business climate, international developments, great development in shipping). It is not possible for us to have a big surplus in the capital balance and it be a short-term and profiteering one," the minister further said.

    Caption: Finance and Economy minister George Alogoskoufis (ANA-MPA/S. Pantzartzi).


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