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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-11-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government tables 2011 budget
  • [02] Droutsas meets Bulgarian FM
  • [03] State Department report
  • [04] SEB calls Memorandum revision

  • [01] Government tables 2011 budget

    ANA_MPA/Greece's new budget for 2011 was tabled in parliament on Thursday, envisaging a reduction of the deficit to 7.4 percent next year from 9.4 percent in 2010, which will result from cutbacks in expenditures and an increase in revenues totaling 14.3 billion euros.

    The 2011 state budget was tabled in parliament at noon on Thursday by Finance minister George Papaconstantinou after it was approved at a Cabinet meeting.

    The savings in state spending will result from measures of a structural nature that will save money and curb wasteful spending in the DEKO (public utilities and organisations), reduce spending in the health sector, clamp down on tax evasion and exploit the state's real properties.ANa-MPA

    The new budget also raises the average VAT rate from the present 11 percent to 13 percent, while the lowest VAT rate, currently 5.5 percent, will increase to 6.5 percent and will now also apply to hotels and medicines.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [02] Droutsas meets Bulgarian FM

    Sofia (ANA-MPA/S. Papadopoulou) -- Issues of bilateral, regional and European interest were the focus of talks between Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas and his Bulgarian counterpart Nikolai Mladenov in Sofia on Wednesday evening.

    Droutsas, who was accompanying President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on a state visit to Bulgaria, reiterated Greece's support for Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen Area.

    According to a Bulgarian foreign ministry announcement, the two ministers discussed proposals for changes to the EU Treaty, and the creation of a support mechanism for the EU member countries facing fiscal and economic problems.

    The second joint meeting of the Greek and Bulgarian governments (Greece-Bulgaria High Level Cooperation Council) is slated to take place in Greece in 2011.

    The inaugural meeting of the Council was held in Sofia in July, presided by the Greek and Bulgarian prime ministers, George Papandreou and Boiko Borisov respectively.

    The announcement also noted that Droutsas thanked Bulgaria for its participation in the European FRONTEX Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABITs) patrolling Greece's river border with Turkey in Evros to stem the flow of illegal migrants.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] State Department report

    Washington (ANA-MPA) -- The US State Department on Wednesday released its Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, a comprehensive review of the status of religious freedom in countries and territories around the world.

    The country chapter on Greece notes that the Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion. The Constitution establishes the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ (Greek Orthodox Church) as the prevailing religion, but also provides for the right of all citizens to practice the religion of their choice.

    It said that there was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government, which generally respected religious freedom in practice, but noted that some religious groups faced administrative restrictions, such as permits for the establishment or operation of places of worship.-PA

    It also said there were multiple reports in the media of societal discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief or practice, and noted the arson attack against the Toxotes mosque in Thrace in September 2009, which Greek government officials condemned and installed new security cameras afterward, and vandalism of the Sunni Mosque in Xanthi with graffiti in December 2009, and of tombstones in the Muslim cemetery in Komotini in February 2010, and also two arson attacks on the Jewish Synagogue, in Chania, Crete. It further noted a demonstration in May 2009 of approximately 1,000 Muslim migrants in Athens, protesting an incident in which a police officer allegedly damaged a copy of the Qur'an while performing an identity check.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [04] SEB calls Memorandum revision

    ANA-MPa/The Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB), Greece's largest employers' union, on Thursday asked for a revision of the Memorandum signed with the troika, through the introduction of 15 shock measures, warning that excessive tax burdens and delays in implementing structural reforms were undermining the country's outlook.

    The SEB proposals were submitted to EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting with the Commissioner in Brussels, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation, said "a faster implementation of structural reforms could justify any complacency in diversification from fiscal goals of 2010 and 2011 as the society cannot afford any additional tax burden or income cuts".ANA-MPa

    "It is my belief that our partners have the will and the intention to facilitate even further the country in completing this painful effort of economic restructuring," Daskalopoulos said.

    The proposals will be submitted to the Greek government and troika officials also.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

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