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Greece: Economy & Finance

» BoG Governor on Budget Deficit

The strong parliamentary majority of the new government will enable it to move ahead with much needed reforms in the economy combined with a growth agenda, Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos said  October 6.  Speaking on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Istanbul, Provopoulos also warned that the budget deficit will be considerably higher than 6%, possibly reaching 10% of the GDP for 2009. Brussels is expected to publish its own estimates on the Greek budget and economy in the Commission’s fall report on November 3.  Kathimerini daily: Deficit seen above 10pct mark

» Investing in Gold

European Goldfields, a Canada-based resource company involved in the exploration, acquisition, mining, and development of mineral properties in Greece, Romania and South-East Europe, has won preliminary approval to develop two projects in the Olympias and Skouries mines, in northeastern Greece. It is expected that an output of 420,000 ounces of gold from 2012 onwards, will double current European gold production.  Kathimerini daily: Gold mine projects move ahead

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Greek Finance Minister at 10th Venture Capital Forum

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Economic growth will come from within business activation and through collaboration between public and private sector, economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said on Tuesday, addressing the 10th Venture Capital Forum organised in Athens by the Invest in Greece Agency in cooperation with the New Economy Fund (TANEO) and the PRAXIS network.  Papathanassiou also said that the government will continue to fulfil its duty with responsibility, adding that it was seeking consensus, unanimity and understanding at the national level.  In the framework of the country’s safe exit from the crisis, he said, businesses were called on to assume their significant role with new initiatives, a creative disposition, and investments in sectors on which growth in the new era will be founded. Ministry of Economy and Finance: Statement by Minister at 10th Venture Capital Forum (in Greek, 16.6.2009) 

Greek Finance Minister: Economic Prospects

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The next two years will be a period of intense reform, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said on Monday (25.5), addressing an Economist conference in Athens. He also stressed that the growth model that helped Greece enjoy strong rates so far, must be adjusted to modern demands and expressed the government’s determination to improve the country’s competitiveness by taking measures to support innovation, reduce bureaucracy, promote alternative energy sources, and attract big foreign investments. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published yesterday (25.5) its annual report on the Greek economy, according to which the economy is expected to shrink by up to 2% this year with recovery beginning late in 2010. The IMF also recommended sweeping changes to tax regulations, continuing wage moderation and social security reforms.  Commenting on the IMF report, Papathanassiou said that “the Government is studying and carefully evaluating all the reports by international organisations pertaining to our country, even when it happens to disagree with certain estimates and predictions. In any case, it is clear that the next two years will determine the outcome of many significant issues for Greece’s present and future.”  Ministry of Economy and Finance: Speech by minister Papathanassiou at the Economist conference (in Greek); Kathimerini daily: IMF sees better days in late 2010

Alternative Tourism in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)       Dancing at the Waterfalls
The city of Edessa has launched an alternative tourist campaign by commissioning the Greek painter Giorgos Stathopoulos to produce a work of art which will be projected at nights at the city’s famous waterfalls. “We do not want to be just another tourist destination; we wish to offer our visitors such an experience that would render Edessa unforgettable and will bring them back to the city” said mayor Yiannis Sontras. His idea was to spend money on acquiring the rights to use the painting as the city’s symbol, instead of producing conventional tourist brochures. National Tourism Organisation of Greece: Greece’s tourist campaign
EDEN Awards
A number of projects aiming to promote alternative tourism opportunities in Greece has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Amongst these are projects related to the restoration of medieval castles, the construction of trekking routes and agro-tourism complexes. The region of Grevena – in northern Greece – won one of the 20 “European Destination of Excellence” EDEN awards last year at the European Annual Tourism Forum, launched by the European Commission to promote the development of alternative tourism, while the region of Florina won in 2007 an EDEN award as one of the “Best Emerging European Rural Destinations of Excellence.”
Green Passport
The “Green Passport Campaign” launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) aims at raising tourists’ awareness of their potential to contribute to sustainable development by making responsible holiday choices. To assist them, an online guide has been produced offering tourists useful tips on how to minimize the impact of their journeys on the environment. The guide will soon be available in Greek as the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage has undertaken its translation, showing that Greece is following a worldwide trend of growing ‘green tourism’ at rates that treble those of conventional mass tourism.   

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)