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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-09-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis addresses rally in Egaleo
  • [02] Papandreou chairs PASOK nat'l council meeting
  • [03] Tsipras on election, positions
  • [04] Schools to open on schedule
  • [05] Stocks end 0.95% down

  • [01] Karamanlis addresses rally in Egaleo

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing an audience of young people in an indoor stadium in the west Athens district of Egaleo on Wednesday evening, reiterated the dilemmas raised in the upcoming elections between "responsibility and bold decisions" and the "irresponsibility and the well-wishing of PASOK."

    Karamanlis said that he took the decision for early elections with the criterion of the national interest, adding that he chose to start the election campaign by meeting young men and women first and called on them not to abstain from the October 4 elections.

    The prime minister further said that he himself described the difficult situation to the citizens, far from beautifications and illusions, stressing that difficult years lie ahead and noted that for this reason he announced specific and difficult measures in Thessaloniki.

    "Our policy is necessary. It is not pleasant. In difficult times, responsibility with necessary decisions must prevail. It is here that our difference from (the main opposition) PASOK lies," he said.

    Karamanlis went on to say that PASOK "proposes pleasant measures only and gives promises. It has no economic policy. Irresponsibility and well-wishing do not constitute policy, it is demagoguery and lead only to deadlock."

    The prime minister also referred to the economic crisis in Europe and to its repercussions in other countries and said that our country stands at better levels than other countries, stressing that the reformist strategy followed by his New Democracy (ND) party was in the right direction.

    "We are obliged to curb expenditures, to win the war with tax evasion and to carry out structural changes," he said and reiterated that he aimed at exhausting the four-year tenure and implementing his programme, but a mild political and social climate was necessary and accused the opposition of showing barren opposition and superficial populism.

    Karamanlis referred to the measures that he has taken for the crisis until now and said that the Greeks have both memory and judgement.

    "We are not promising miracles for unemployment, but we know who are they who took it from 3 percent and led it to 11 percent. We achieved a decrease and stabilisation, we created thousands of jobs," the prime minister said and added that reforms are necessary to tackle unemployment, deep reforms, the opening of closed professions that are crucial for the economy, simplification in establishing businesses, etc.

    Karamanlis underlined that easy and pleasant solutions to major problems have been found nowhere and that whoever is interested in the country's problems takes difficult decisions.

    Appealing to those who abstained from the Euroelections or who cast a vote of discontent against the ND party, he called on them to think soberly and to choose on the basis of the national interest.

    "I shall only give one promise. I am and shall be in the front line of the struggle to fight for your expectations, to struggle for our common visions," the prime minister concluded and urged young people to "show them how battles are waged and how they are won."

    [02] Papandreou chairs PASOK nat'l council meeting

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou chaired a meeting of his party's National Council on Thursday, during which he described the upcoming October 4 general elections as "the most critical battle", adding that "the battle of our lives for the country begins, the people willing, on Oct. 5".

    He said that the responsibility for a new course for Greece "is immense", and called on the Greek people to give him the opportunity to assume that responsibility, stressing that he has never been fearful in times of difficulty, and has never fled in the face of problems.

    Papandreou accused the New Democracy government of having betrayed the people's confidence twice, wasting the public wealth in favor of the few, meting out privileges and imposing an extraordinary contribution on salary earners and professionals.

    He also said that, in his imminent address and press conference at the 74th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), he will unveil PASOK's "integrated plan" for Greece, how the country will exit the crisis and PASOK's vision for the future. The plan, the main opposition leader noted, was based on the five national targets he had outlined recently, according to which PASOK will guarantee a dynamic foreign policy, a free and high-quality public education for all, a "just redistribution of wealth", a state that operates in favor of the citizens and a new developmental model for the country.

    [03] Tsipras on election, positions

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Alexis Tsipras on Thursday spoke from Thessaloniki, where he commented on behalf of the Parliament-represented Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), of which Synaspismos is the biggest partner in the leftist bloc.

    Tsipras, who did not serve as an MP in the outgoing Parliament plenum, charged that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has attempted to identify himself with the "good", saying however, that the measures announced by the premier from the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) last week are aimed at "big economic interests".

    In terms of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Tsipras claimed that the former foreign minister is using "flowery language" in all of his public appearances of late, at the same time circulating "non papers" for his (Papandreou) upcoming address at TIF, an address that does not include "any vision, nor a detailed plan, nor anything that we can all get behind, just generalities."

    Tsipras, who earlier toured the 74th TIF in the northern Greek city, also said there was a huge gap between PASOK and SYRIZA's positions, when asked about the likelihood of cooperation between the two parties. Among others, he said PASOK should now propose common policies and planks instead of after the elections.

    Finally, asked about the leftist grouping's target for the Oct. 4 election, he provided a slogan: "We want 3 percent plus your vote", a reference to the 3-percent ceiling a party must exceed to elect candidates to Parliament.

    [04] Schools to open on schedule

    "Schools will open in Greece on Friday according to schedule, but we should be ready to close them if it is deemed necessary," Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos stated on Thursday after a relevant national committee convened to examine the issue.

    The minister pointed out that based on the experience so far with daycare nurseries for preschool children the situation is under control.

    The ministry's special scientific committee will decide on whether individual classes or entire schools will be closed based on the number of flu incidents recorded in each of the schools. However, schools for children with disabilities, both private and state-operated, will be shut down even after a single incident is recorded and the rest of the children will receive anti-viral medication.

    The decision to open schools was based on developments in the United States and Australia, and is justified by the characterisation of "light pandemic", which is widely used to describe the current state of the specific influenza outbreak.

    The confirmed novel influenza cases rose to 2,101, after 105 new cases were confirmed in the last week, slightly reduced compared to the week before, according to the local Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

    [05] Stocks end 0.95% down

    Greek stocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday as investors took profits after a three-day rally on the market. The composite index fell 0.95 pct to end at 2,510.56 points, with turnover soaring to 500.8 million euros, boosted by Eurobank‚s private placement.

    Most sectors moved lower, with the Travel (4.0 pct), Chemicals (2.70 pct) and Food/Beverage (1.96 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Media (9.18 pct), Constructions (0.37 pct) and Telecommunications (0.17 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 0.97 pct, the FTSE 40 index eased 0.19 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 0.82 pct down. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 128 to 77 with another 54 issues unchanged.

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