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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-05-12

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] 'Strong push' for comprehensive deal by May 22 from G7, say Eurozone sources
  • [02] Pappas: Greece keen to expand ties with China in audiovisual, tech sectors
  • [03] Greece failing to realise its digital potential, Mitsotakis tells SEV conference

  • [01] 'Strong push' for comprehensive deal by May 22 from G7, say Eurozone sources

    BRUSSELS (ANA/M. Aroni, C. Vasilaki) – Discussions on Greece on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bankers in the Italian city of Bari on Friday concluded with a decision to give a "strong push" for a comprehensive agreement by May 22, when the Eurogroup will meet, that will include the debt issue, Eurozone officials told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

    According to one official, all sides involved have the political will to achieve a deal and in the coming days they will discuss the language that will be used to specify the medium-term measures for Greece's debt, based on the Eurogroup decision on May 2016.

    The same official said the aim is to strike the right balance that will abide by the IMF's requirements and will not cross Berlin's red line. The next step will be the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) meeting of 15 May, where alternative scenarios on measures to alleviate Greek debt will be discussed.

    According to other Eurozone source, during the Eurogroup of May 22, ministers are expected to discuss the implementation of the prior actions by the Greek government and decide on the completion of the second review, so that the next loan installment can be disbursed. The Eurozone countries and the IMF are expected to agree on the target for primary surpluses that Greece will have to achieve after 2018.

    Thirdly, concerning debt, the Eurogroup wants to reach a decision on concrete relief measures that will satisfy the IMF to such an extent that it will be able to announce the same day that it will ask its governing council to approve a new program for Greece.

    [02] Pappas: Greece keen to expand ties with China in audiovisual, tech sectors

    Greece is keen to expand strategic relations with China in the telecommunications, culture, cinema and the audiovisual cultural industry, as well as through economic cooperation and investments, Greek Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas said told senior officials in the Chinese broadcasting authority and Chinese industry and IT ministry on Friday.

    Pappas met Chinese Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Chen Zhaoxiong, noting that the strategic relationship between Greece and China is greatly supported by cooperation in new digital technologies and telecommunications. This was reflected, Pappas added, in the expanding activity of Chinese technology and telecommunications equipment firms, noting that this was more than a business collaboration but the result of a "strategic choice by Greece."

    Greece's geostrategic position offered Chinese firms greater access to many neighbouring markets and, as Greece emerged from the economic crisis, it could play an important role for China's connectivity and networks in its region, putting emphasis on related Chinese investments, he said.

    The expansion of such international cooperation, in addition to fiscal benefits, will also provide tangible benefits for consumers through the import of corresponding regulatory policies, while the promotion of related policies is supported by the political determination of governments in both countries, the Greek minister added. He also invited the Chinese minister to visit Athens.

    Chen Zhaoxiong referred to the great progress that China has made in the telecommunications, digital technology and IT sector in recent years, placing the country in the top positions for research, development and technological innovation worldwide. In terms of quantitative data of users and consumers of related services, China ranked first in the world, he noted.

    Highlighting the benefits of the "One Belt - One Road" policy, the Chinese official noted the common understanding between Greece and China regarding the opportunities offered by Greece's infrastructure and geographic position. He expressed his confidence in the prospects of expanding Greek-Chinese cooperation in the above areas and thanked Pappas for the Greek government's support of related Chinese investment programmes.

    Pappas also met the Deputy Director of China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Tong Gang, discussing the central role of cooperation in cinema, radio and television and their importance for promoting a good image of Greece and China. He also outlined the ministry's efforts to establish an innovative legislative framework that aims to bring foreign film productions to Greece.

    Among others, he referred to the momentum created by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' visit to Beijing and Shanghai last July, with the signature of a Memorandum of Cooperation between China's CCTV and the Greek state broadcaster ERT.

    Tong Gang accepted an invitation to visit Athens and further promote bilateral cooperation in these areas.

    [03] Greece failing to realise its digital potential, Mitsotakis tells SEV conference

    Greece needs to improve its performance in digital policy, where it was lagging behind even comparably crisis-hit Portugal, main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday.

    "We do not seem to be fully aware of our true digital potential," Mitsotakis said while speaking at the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) conference on "Greece's Digital Strategy: The Road to Growth" held at the Athens Concert Hall.

    ND's president said his party had a well-structured plan for improving the country's performance in this area, where it currently ranked in the lowest positions among European countries. He stressed the need to implement the right digital governance framework and to coordinate state initiatives, noting that neither the previous nor the current models were working.

    "The country needs a competent deputy minister that will report directly to the prime minister and will be responsible for the General Secretary for Digital Policy. This must be an extra-Parliamentary individual with a good sense of the market that will supervise a National Council on Digital Policy," he said.

    According to Mitsotakis, there had to be a restructuring of the government in order to bring together the currently scattered basic infrastructure, with a General Secretariat for Information Systems acting as a central structure. These were not partisan issues, he pointed out, but should form the basic framework of a national strategy.

    "We have not seen this. Nor have we seen a willingness for broader dialogue," he added, criticising the government's stance.

    Mitsotakis also noted the need to introduce a digital ID in Greece and highlighted the necessity for life-long learning to teach IT, from schools right up to adult education.


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