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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-01-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] The omens for Greece's EU presidency are good, Venizelos says
  • [02] PM Samaras chairs meeting on tourism
  • [03] Public Order minister meets Greek president on terrorism
  • [04] FinMin sets fines for outstanding debts by taxpayers, companies

  • [01] The omens for Greece's EU presidency are good, Venizelos says

    The importance of the first half of 2014 for both Europe and Greece was underlined by government vice-president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday.

    "The first half of 2014 is extremely crucial for Europe ahead of the European elections in May and it is extremely crucial for Greece as it is the final turn to exit the crisis and the memorandum," Venizelos noted following his visit at Zappeion, where a series of events with the participation of the European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will be held on Wednesday.

    "The omens are very good for an EU presidency that can leave its mark and will also show that Greece in crisis can overcome the crisis with dignity and appear as an institutionally equal, proud and dignified country which claims its position in Europe and in the world," he added.

    [02] PM Samaras chairs meeting on tourism

    ANA-MPA--- 2013 was a very good year for Greek tourism, Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said on Tuesday, during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at Maximos Mansion.

    Kefalogianni noted that the first signs for 2014 were positive and encouraging, boding well for more revenues and jobs that would breath life to the economy. She characterized 2014 a year of responsibility and called workers in the private tourism sector to take their own responsibilities.

    "We should respect the law, fight undeclared labor and trust Greek workers", Kefalogianni said, noting that Greece can have a stable upward trend in tourism.

    The head of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) Andreas Andreadis, who participated in the meeting, said that in 2013 there were 17.8 million arrivals and 12.5 million euros in direct revenues, noting that "in 2014, provided there is political stability, we will have new records in tourism". He said the target for 2021 is 24 million arrivals, 48 billion total revenues and 300,000 jobs. For 2014 in particular, he estimated that arrivals would exceed 18.5 million, direct revenues would reach 13 billion while total revenues would be more than 35 billion, and about 50,000 new jobs would be created.

    Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, who participated in the meeting, said that the increase in tourism in 2014 would contribute in the deceleration of unemployment for the first time, while Culture Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos announced that the Ministry is considering extending the opening hours of the country's 30 most popular archaeological sites and museums from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening.

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis also took part in the meeting. Asked on the postponement of the visit by troika representatives, Stournaras said he has no information on this. "We've sent the responses to their questions and we expect them to come, perhaps next week", he noted.

    Regarding 2014, he said if the past is a gauge for the future, then "2013 was a very good year, so will 2014".

    [03] Public Order minister meets Greek president on terrorism

    Domestic terrorism is a major issue for Greece, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday, during a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias at the Presidential Hall.

    "The country faces a problem of terrorism. And unfortunately, it does not only face a problem of imported terrorism, like other countries, it also has a major problem of domestic terrorism", Dendias said, adding that this year was off to a bad start, with the disappearance on Tuesday of November 17 convict Christodoulos Xiros after being granted leave from prison.

    "Today, we have this unfortunate incident", noting that the Greek Police are doing a very good job. "During the past few years, police have brought dozens of terrorists to justice. Unfortunately, I have to say, many of them are free men as we speak. And today, we have this unfortunate incident with the convicted terrorist who was granted a leave. Honestly, it is particularly upsetting", he stressed.

    The Minister appeared confident that terrorism issues can be dealt with, if the Greek society is united and if the State's institutions do a proper job.

    The Greek president noted that a sense of security is crucial and agreed with Dendias that "terrorists' bullets actually aim at the unemployed, and they harm the unemployed more than anything else". Papoulias added that "The effort should focus on that. Fight unemployment, fight all those things that have led to the crisis. If there is terrorism, then we are weak".

    Nov. 17 convict's disappearance 'consistent with his views', his attorney says

    Christodoulos Xiros' decision not to present himself at a police station during his nine-day leave from prison is "a political escape" consistent with his political activities and his views on freedom, his attorney Fragiskos Ragoussis said on Tuesday in an interview at private TV station Skai.

    He stressed, however, that he has not contacted his client and that he had not been aware of his intentions.

    Christodoulos was one of three brothers arrested in 2002 for their participation in the terrorist group November 17. He was given permission to leave Korydallos prison in Piraeus on New Year's day and was supposed to report daily to the police of Nea Kallikratia, on the Halkidiki peninsula, near the northern city of Thessaloniki. But he failed to show up, leading police to launch a search for him in Halkidiki and Thessaloniki.

    Reffering to the same issue, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou in an interview on Tuesday stressed the need for changes to the leave system for certain prisoners.

    [04] FinMin sets fines for outstanding debts by taxpayers, companies

    An annual interest rate of 8.76 percent will be imposed on tax arrears to the state, according to a decision by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday.

    Tax refunds delayed for more than 90 days will have a 6.0 percent interest rate, according to the same decision.

    As for large companies facing charges of tax evasion, they will not be allowed to transfer assets, while 50 percent of their bank deposits and of cash held in safety deposit boxes will be frozen.

    According to a circular issued by the Public Revenues secretariat, in case of tax evasion authorities should freeze half of the deposits found in any kind of accounts, held by businesses and individuals and the whole of non-financial content in safety deposit boxes.


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