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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-05-10

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] German businesses planning investments in Greece which could create 50,000 jobs, says Fuchtel
  • [02] Greece, Turkey army chiefs exchange views on region at Balkan military meeting
  • [03] Universities do most research, but with limited impact on Greece's economy
  • [04] Bids in Greek T-bill auction exceed asked sum 1.61 times, setting new record
  • [05] Court of Audit's opinion on public sector pensions is 'purely consultative' -gov't sources

  • [01] German businesses planning investments in Greece which could create 50,000 jobs, says Fuchtel

    German businesses are planning important investments in Greece, such as the creation of a logistics center in Alexandroupolis and investments in tourism, which could create up to 50,000 new jobs, especially for younger Greeks, Germany's Deputy Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, said on Wednesday, during a meeting with the head of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Konstadinos Michalos.

    Fuchtel said that local chambers will play an important role in the cooperation between Greek and German businesses on a local level, because they know best about the possibilities and opportunities in their region. He also noted the importance of internship programs implemented by the chambers.

    Michalos spoke to Fuchtel about the improvement of the Greece's economy and invited German businesspeople to invest in Greece, noting the chambers will be their allies in this effort.

    [02] Greece, Turkey army chiefs exchange views on region at Balkan military meeting

    The heads of the Greek and Turkish armed forces exchanged views on the situation in the Balkans on Wednesday at the annual meeting of Balkan chiefs of defence and general staff (11th Balkan Countries CHODs Conference), held in Athens.

    The conference brings together the chiefs of defence/general staff of Greece, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Romania, Serbia and Turkey, as well as the heads of NATO and EU's military committees and the commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

    Concerning Turkey, sources said it is a positive development that channels of communication remain open as this alone creates a level of security, adding that the heads of the two armed forces discussed developments in the region.

    Discussing the situation in Balkan countries, participants noted Greece's role as a pillar of stability and security in the region.

    [03] Universities do most research, but with limited impact on Greece's economy

    Greece's universities and other tertiary education institutes generate the most original research in the country, according to a report by the National Documentation Centre (EKT) released on Wednesday.

    Even though their share of total R&D activity exceeds 35 pct, making it one of the highest in the EU, their contribution to innovation and the national economy is still limited, however. There is also a high degree of dependence on state funding, though they are increasingly seeking funds from alternative sources and reviewing financing strategies.

    The report also noted that national spending on R&D has increased in recent years, in spite of falling macroeconomic indices in many areas. This is mainly through the absorption of National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds, even though Greece continues to rank low among EU member-states. Based on the most recent statistics available (for 2015) the rate of R&D spending was 0.96 pct of GDP.

    Of the domestic businesses that innovate with respect to products or procedures, 10.5 pct have entered into some form of cooperation with a Greek university or research foundation.

    The number of Greeks with doctorates has also increased since the mid-2000s, with Greece ranking among the top 10 countries for the number of PhD holders per 1,000 population.

    The so-called 'European Paradox' - namely a discontinuity between the generation of high-level research results and the ability to exploit these commercially - appears to be even more evident in Greece, while the contribution of Greek businesses to total national R&D spending is markedly lower than in other countries (0.28 pct of GDP, compared to a European average of 1.3 pct of GDP). This indicates an ineffective use of research results by the real economy and production.

    This is also reflected in the low number of patent applications submitted by Greek businesses to the EU, which account for only 0.1 pct.

    [04] Bids in Greek T-bill auction exceed asked sum 1.61 times, setting new record

    Greece on Wednesday successfully auctioned a three-month Treasury bill issue raising 1.138 billion euros from the market. The interest rate of the issue was set at 2.70 pct, unchanged from the previous auction of same issues last month. Bids submitted were 1.61 times more than the asked sum, surpassing an 1.3 times record in the previous actions. This positive development reflects a significant improvement in the Greek state bond market following an agreement reached between the Greek government and its creditors on concluding a second review of the Greek bailout program.

    [05] Court of Audit's opinion on public sector pensions is 'purely consultative' -gov't sources

    The Court of Audit's competence regarding bills relating to public-sector pensions is "purely consultative," government sources said on Wednesday, adding that the provisions on which the court has weighed in are only part of the bill that will be tabled in parliament.

    According to press reports, the plenary of the court ruled on Tuesday that the 18 percent cuts to main and supplementary pensions as of 2019 may be contrary to the first additional protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights.

    The government sources said the draft bill will be accompanied by a justification report for all the provisions included, while the court's opinion will be "taken into account" and amendments will be made "wherever necessary."

    "The bill will include a set of positive measures of social support that will minimize the burdens, leading to a zero impact on the budget," they said, adding that the report will clarify the reasons why these provisions were chosen.


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