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Greece Answer to the International Finance Crisis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Hellenic Parliament yesterday voted in favour of the €28 billion support package to shield the Greek banking sector. The concept behind government’s actions was to enhance the liquidity of the economy in response to the impact of the international financial crisis, using the banking system as a means to this end. Through the new law, funding is provided for economic growth, for boosting employment, small- and medium-sized enterprises and housing loans. Last week the European Union gave its approval, confirming the conformity of the draft with the respective European policy. After the European Commission’s green light, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis carried out limited corrective changes to the bill, so as not to stir illicit competition between the banks of different countries. These changes are: Public guarantees can only last up to three years instead of five; the same reduction will be applied to public sector bonds. In addition, banks included in the €5 billion capital base support package will not be entitled to distribute dividends to their stockholders for as long as they partake in the plan. Ministry of Economy and Finance: The plan for enhancing liquidity in the Greek economy & The Draft Law & The Greek Economy at a glance ; Hellenic Bank Association: www.hba.gr European Commission: A quick guide to the EU’s response to the financial crisis 

Greek PM: Growth Secured

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Attending the extraordinary summit of Euro zone leaders yesterday in Paris, called by EU’s French presidency, Karamanlis hailed the EU leaders’ decision to give full support over a coordinated response to the economic slowdown. Speaking to the press, Karamanlis reaffirmed Greece’s immediate response to the financial turmoil which managed to “exhibit reflexes that were much better than many other countries around the world.” Moreover, Karamanlis appeared reassuring, noting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continues to foresee growth in Greece at 2%, when zero growth is projected for the rest of the Euro zone countries. At the World Bank Group and IMF’s annual meeting, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis is expected to address the organisation’s plenary session. Alogoskoufis has already met during the weekend with World Bank officials as well as senior executives of international financial institutions. Athens News Agency: FinMin in Washington & PM satisfied with Eurozone summit European Commission: Economic & Monetary Union & Stability and Growth Pact; International Monetary Fund: IMF Welcomes Euro Zone Plan to Combat Crisis & World Economic Outlook, (October 2008); Ministry of Economy and Finance: The Greek Economy at a Glance (October 2008); Greek News Agenda: Bank of Greece: Banking System Safe

Greek Finance Minister at IMF: Restoring Trust

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Thanks to its relatively solid banking system, Greece is ‘insulated’ enough against the clogged financial system that has been inflicting the global economy; however, the necessity to fortify financial policy and cohere with fiscal principles is urgent. The remarks belong to Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis speaking to the press in Washington on the occasion of his address at the International Monetary Fund annual meeting’s plenary session. Alogoskoufis noted that IMF has projected a prolonged crisis which will last through 2009. The conclusions drawn at IMF coincide with the ones of G7 and Ecofin and call for action to assure liquidity, remove toxic assets from banks’ balance-sheets, consolidate capitals and provide guarantees to rebuild credit trust. As for Greece’s stance on the matter, the minister reiterated that bank deposits are now guaranteed by law and that the comparatively high growth rates and the ongoing decrease in unemployment signal a lighter disturbance by the latest financial turbulence. Ministry of Economy and Finance: Speech by Giorgos Alogoskoufis & The Greek economy at a glance (October 2008); Greek News Agenda: PM: Growth Secured & Special Issue-The Greek Economy  International Monetary Fund: IMF Welcomes Euro Zone Plan to Combat Crisis & World Economic Outlook, (October 2008)

Greece: “Fibre to the Home” Technology

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Transport and Communication Minister Kostas Hatzidakis discussed on July 30 the basic guidelines regarding the access of two million households and businesses to “Fibre to the Home” (FTTH) technology. FTTH is a network architecture that uses optical fibres to replace all or part of the usual copper local loop used for telecommunications. Past technologies, in order of an increasingly longer fibre loop, are fibre to the neighbourhood and to the building. The project is incorporated in the framework of the “Digital Strategy 2006-2013” and will help extend already existing digital structures and broadband network. On February 5, Hatzidakis said that Greece will invest €2.5 billion in fibre-networks, while the project will be implemented through the Public and Private Partnership. Fibre to the Home Council Europe: www.ftthcouncil.eu; see also: 3rd International Conference on Broadband Internet; Secretariat General for Information: About Brand Greece, Public and Private Partnerships in Greece 

Deutsche Telekom Back acquired 20% of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) shares

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    On March 17, Deutsche Telekom – Europe’s biggest telephone company – acquired 20% of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) shares from Marfin Investment Group (MIG) for €2.5 billion. The acquisition rendered the German giant the biggest stakeholder in the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, after the Greek state, with 28%. Four days later, Minister of Finance Alogoskoufis announced the government’s intention to sell up to 8% of the Greek state’s 28% share to the German buyer in the context of its decision to secure the German provider as a strategic partner. Greece has long sought a strategic investor for OTE, in order to secure a form of shared management without ceding management control, but has not yet settled on the form it may take. Reuters.com: Greece willing to share management of OTE with DT; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece-Telecommunications