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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-05-15

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece plays a strategic role in new Silk Road
  • [02] Gov't sources: 7.5 bln euro positive measures in 2021

  • [01] Greece plays a strategic role in new Silk Road

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a speech during a roundtable discussion referred to the Belt and Road initiative saying that Greece has a strategic role in this.

    Tsipras referred to the Silk Road reminding that hundreds of years ago, in 550 A.D., the Byzantine Emperor Justinian sent Christian monks to the East in order to discover the secrets of the development of Silk.

    "Apparently, after many adventures, they returned to modern day Thrace with silkworm cocoons hidden in their staffs, introducing silk to Europe for the first time.

    If we were to retell, today, the history of the Silk Road, we would not only retell an economic history of cooperation and competition between great-powers, religions, nations and commercial interests, but a history of people, their contact and communication.

    We would not only see how the Silk Road developed from the top-down, but also from the bottom-up.

    The commercial and cultural contacts of the Greek and Chinese people stretch back thousands of years.

    They have traded, worked with each other, travelled to each others' lands and inspired each other with their struggles.

    But the real acceleration of economic, cultural, educational, research exchanges and tourism, has taken place only in the last few years, with the development of our bilateral strategic partnership and then the development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

    This Initiative is based on the development of Infrastructure and Connectivity projects bringing Europe and Asia, as well as other parts of the world, closer together.

    But if it remains only a series of projects, it will not fulfill the vision on which it is based. It will not be a vibrant Silk Road of the 21st Century.

    The Belt and Road Initiative gives us a remarkable platform with which to connect initiatives enhancing people-to-people contact and I believe we should make full use of it.

    A few days ago with the close cooperation of China, we hosted the "First Forum of Ancient Civilizations" in Athens, highlighting the importance that this form of dialogue has for global and regional cooperation and development.

    2017 will be the Greek-Chinese year of cultural exchanges with many events planned in museum cooperation and exchange of artefacts and exhibitions, translations of literature works, co-production of films and book fairs.

    Furthermore, we are working very closely in order to enhance educational and academic exchanges and of course tourism.

    Particularly in tourism, but also in culture, we are exploring the possibility of cooperating further with China, through our bilateral and triangular cooperation with other countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.

    In general, I believe strongly that the Belt and Road Initiative needs a strong dimension of people-to-people projects to fulfill its vision.

    A vision that- as we engineers say- needs deep foundations so it can be supported from the bottom-up."

    [02] Gov't sources: 7.5 bln euro positive measures in 2021

    Main opposition New Democracy is consciously lying and trying to persuade everyone that the new omnibus bill will bring 4.2 billion euro measures by 2021 without any offset measures, according to government sources.

    "They are consciously lying," the government sources said adding that the medium term plan includes positive measures of 7.559 billion euros in 2021.

    Essentially," the sources say, "the government's policy is creating an additional budget space of about 2 billion euros!"

    It appears that "the primary surplus is attained for the next two years and shows significant overperfomance from 2019 onwards, reaching 5.50 pct of GDP in 2021". They point out that these high surpluses, in the baseline scenario, show the government's predictions that have incorporated the performance of the measures (not offset measures) already passed. They also reiterate that the "institutions always underestimate the performance of measures, as it was the case in 2016, which the government had predicted and proved to be right."

    With additional interventions, in addition to the offset measures, surpluses are reduced compared to the basic scenario, because since the government considers that a large fiscal space is being created, the medium-term provides for other positive measures:

    - 660 million euros in additional social protection expenditure in 2019

    - 1.5 billion euro in tax reductions in 2020

    - 3.5 billion euro tax cuts in 2021

    "In total, in 2021, along with positive measures from the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Labour, we have a set of 7.559 billion euro positive measures," they stressed.


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