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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-11-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Opposition statements on cabinet meeting
  • [02] Dep. FM cites volition to boost cooperation, econ ties with African states
  • [03] Need for structural adjustments
  • [04] Cypriot FM meets Papoulias
  • [05] Gerekou on Parthenon Marbles
  • [06] Fine for Citibank
  • [07] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Opposition statements on cabinet meeting

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party deputy and former interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, referring on Wednesday to the legislative initiative titled "Reshaping of system for hirings and their total subjection to the full control of ASEP", ratified earlier in the day by the cabinet, said that "today's cabinet meeting constitutes a characteristic example of the continuation of the tactic of distortion of reality and blatant hypocrisy, which the PASOK governments always follow, proving in the long run that they do not change no matter what lion's skin of 'modernisation' they may put on temporarily."

    Pavlopoulos accused the previous PASOK governments of establishing "lawlessness, inequality, injustice and subsequently clientele relations particularly in the sector of hirings."

    The former minister further said that with its legislative initiative the government "is coming in essence to reopen the wounds that it had created itself."

    Referring to the same issue, the Political Secretariat of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) stressed in an announceent that "today's decision by the cabinet to dismiss in essence project contract workers and those working with stage and to hire in their place much fewer contract workers for a specific period and indeed to cover fixed and continuous needs leads thousands of working people to unemployment," adding that the government is creating a new generation of contract workers and is leading public services and organisations to inadequate functioning and to dissolution.

    [02] Dep. FM cites volition to boost cooperation, econ ties with African states

    Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis underlined on Wednesday that greater economic and developmental cooperation with African states along with utilisation of ethnic Greek and African communities in Africa and Greece, respectively, will be top priorities of Athens' economic diplomacy.

    Addressing roughly 40 Greek entrepreneurs and top diplomats of eight African countries with representations in Greece, Kouvelis said cooperation between the eastern Mediterranean country and African countries currently falls well short of its full potential, with growth so far achieved primarily through the efforts of individual Greek businesspeople.

    Kouvelis also referred to the major role of the Greek Diaspora in Africa and stressed that the creative spirit of expatriate African communities in Greece should be utilised," he said, speaking during a luncheon hosted by the Hellenic African Chamber of Commerce and Development (HACCD).

    Envoys from Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Angola, Ethiopia and Algeria attended the event.

    [03] Need for structural adjustments

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni) -- Greece did not take the necessary measures to cut its fiscal deficit, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia reiterated on Wednesday, while calling on Athens to proceed with major structural adjustments.

    Speaking to reporters on the European Commission's decisions for countries with excessive fiscal deficits, Almunia said the Commission will unveil, after January, a timetable for Greece to bring its public finances in order, and after the country has submitted an updated stability programme.

    "Today we announce the view of the Commission, with the consent of the Greek government, that no effective action has been adopted to cut the fiscal deficit," Almunia said, adding that the Commission will propose a deficit deadline for Greece in the next two or three months.

    "Greece needs strong structural adjustments. Greece needs a very ambitious and determined fiscal consolidation strategy over the medium-term and very crucial institution reforms to be able to deliver structural and fiscal adjustments," he said.

    Caption: ANA-MPA/EPA file photo of EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia/OLIVIER HOSLET

    [04] Cypriot FM meets Papoulias

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received visiting Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou, with the former referring to what he called a "mobilisation" currently witnessed in the Cyprus issue.

    The Cypriot minister, on his part, reminded that this is an important period in view of the European Council meeting in December.

    The Greek president also expressed interest in the contacts Cyprus President Demetris Christofias will have in London and referred to a British proposal reintroduced on Tuesday, suggesting that 50 pct of the territory now occupied by permanent British military bases on Cyprus be given up after a solution is reached in the long-standing Cyprus problem.

    Kyprianou responded that it constitutes a re-introduction of an older proposal and stated that is being considered by Nicosia.

    Meetings with Papandreou, Karamanlis

    Kyprianou was later received by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou. No comments were made afterwards.

    The latest developments in the Cyprus issue in view of the crucial European Council meeting in December and Turkey's European course were the focus of a meeting with main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis.

    Kyprianou briefed Karamanlis on the Cypriot positions and the British proposal.

    Alternate FM

    Following subsequent talks, Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas emphasised that a Cyprus solution should be based on UN decisions and EU treaties and principles, while fully adhering to the European acquis. He underlined that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should "be free to discuss their common future without factitious timetables and threats that warn of an alleged last chance, deemed as both counterproductive and unacceptable."

    "A difficult milestone lies ahead. Turkey will undergo a strict EU evaluation in December based on its actions and without shortcuts as regards the fulfillment of the obligations it has undertaken toward the EU and its members," Droutsas underlined.

    He reiterated that the obligations in question concern good-neighborly relations, respect of territorial integrity and of human and minority rights, protection of religious freedoms, implementation of the Ankara Protocol and normalisation of Turkey's relations with the Republic of Cyprus.

    On his part, FM Kyprianou referred to the "very close cooperation" with Greece in all levels and stressed that Cyprus and Greece share the same views both on the Cyprus problem and procedural issues.

    "Tight timetables and arbitration should be avoided because back in 2004 they led to failure," the Cypriot minister stated.

    He underlined the importance of a "viable solution to the Cyprus issue" and rejected tight timetables in order to be in a position "to ensure the approval of the Cypriot people at a later time."

    Kyprianou referred to the role Turkey has played, underlining that it "created the problem and for this reason tangible gestures are needed on its part and not mere intentions."

    "We want tangible compliance on behalf of Turkey. This is what we are discussing with the partners; otherwise there will be repercussions," he stated, adding that Cyprus "supports Turkey's EU accession potential. It wants a European Turkey that will think European and won't be an EU guest. This should be the message," he stressed.

    Responding to questions made by reporters, Kyprianou stated that the talks on the Cyprus issue and Turkey's accession are parallel processes, adding that a strict EU evaluation of Turkey will not have any consequences on the talks.

    "If Turkey wishes to make it easy on itself as regards the EU accession it should contribute positively to the solution of the Cyprus problem, but so far it hasn't adopted a constructive stance. The talks are held within the UN framework. The international organization provides facilitations but is not mediating. Turkey is the one that should make a positive contribution," he stressed.

    Kyprianou left all options open responding to a question on the consequences in case Turkey does not comply. "At this hour we do not consider 'freezing' the funds that concern Turkey's EU accession. We will opt for the most appropriate solution. We are studying alternative scenarios and we will choose the most suitable in case Turkey does not comply like the rest of the candidate-states. There will be consequences," he stressed.

    Caption: President of Republic Karolos Papoulias (R) receives Foreign Ministry of Cyprus Markos Kyprianou (L) on Wednesday 11 November 2009 at the presidential mansion in Athens./ ANA-MPA / Alexandros Beltes

    [05] Gerekou on Parthenon Marbles

    Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Angela Gerekou continued her contacts in London on Wednesday within the framework of the World Travel Market (WTM) international travel trade show.

    Gerekou briefed local and international media and met with British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles honorary secretary Eleni Cubitt.

    The Greek minister reiterated that the new Acropolis Museum provided a new prospect to the city of Athens and Greece, adding that the demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles is universal and not just Greek.

    [06] Fine for Citibank

    The Capital Market Committee has fined Citibank International PLC 300,000 euros for violating behaviour rules during the provision of investments advice regarding investments products that had been issued by the Lehman Brothers investments firm.

    Specifically, shortcomings were ascertained in the questionnaire on the assessment of the suitability of advice provided for investors and also that reference to the coverage of investments services provided by the UK's Monetary Services Insurance System took place in a way that could lead to a misunderstanding as to its precise content.

    CAPTION: ANA-MPA/EPA file photo /Justin Lane

    [07] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    EU intentions to place Greece under excessive deficit procedures in accordance with Article 104 of the Maastricht Treaty, the government's new taxation system, the new bill on hiring in the public sector and the campaigning ahead of the election for a new main opposition New Democracy leader, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Everything changing in public sector hiring".

    APOGEVMATINI: "EU demands change in pension rights and new taxes".

    AVGHI: "Retirement at a very old age - EU recommends raise in retirement age and cutbacks in pensions".

    AVRIANI: "European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia demands cutbacks in civil servants' salaries".

    ELEFTHEROS: "All the changes on hirings".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "New measures a trap - End to tax reliefs for those who declare incomes of over 30,000 euros".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Everyone on the hook - FinMin George Papaconstantinou announced changes for more just taxation".

    ESTIA: "Surveillance is necessary for our own good - We should welcome it".

    ETHNOS: "Game of favouritism is over - Hirings in public sector and Public Utility Organisations only via ASEP (public sector hiring examinations board) procedures".

    IMERISSIA: "The deficit has a 'name."

    KATHIMERINI: "Actions under EU pressure - Social security issue opens again".

    LOGOS: "Hirings in public sector only via ASEP".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Champions in the EU 'black list' of deficits".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government and EU sending collective labor agreements and social security rights to the guillotine".

    TA NEA: "The five keys to opening the public sector's doors - All hirings via the ASEP".

    TO VIMA: "Europe demands harsh measures, government is hesitant".

    VRADYNI: "National humiliation - Almunia expressed his disdain for Greece".

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