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Greek Economy to begin Recovering by end 2009

papaecon(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Greek economy will begin recovering by the end of 2009 and will return timely to positive growth rates in 2010, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou estimated on Thursday. Addressing a Hellenic Federation of Enterprises Euro-Mediterranean Business Forum in Athens, Papathanasiou said Greece along with Cyprus were the only Eurozone member-states to maintain a slight positive growth rate in the first quarter of 2009. However, he added that following a general phenomenon in the EU, the Greek economy’s slowdown was greater compared with initial forecasts and noted that this trend would continue for the rest of the year with growth rates around zero. This performance, he stressed, although better compared with the EU’s average rate, would be markedly lower from an 1.1 pct growth envisaged in the country’s updated stability and growth program. He expressed optimism that the Greek economy would begin recovering by the end of 2009.  Greece actively participates in all stages of creating a Union for the Mediterranean, focusing on the East Mediterranean region, Papathanasiou stressed. Greece has gained representation in the Union’s secretariat and has submitted specific proposals regarding cooperation in solar energy, water management and creating sea routes with the interconnection of ports in South-eastern Mediterranean, he added. Hellenic Federation of Enterprises: “Bridging the Mediterranean – Athens Business Forum”  Ministry of Economy and Finance: www.mnec.gr; www.investingreece.gov.gr

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Greek FINMIN in Brussels

papathanasiouECOFIN1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The explosion of the unemployment rate in the European Union is the biggest social problem facing EU member-states, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said on Tuesday, adding that employment in Greece remained at better levels compared with other EU states. Speaking an Economy and Financial Affairs Council meeting, the Greek minister said the government was determined to combating unemployment with specific measures, such as programs for the construction sector.  Papathanasiou said the Council meeting also discussed changes in the taxation of tobacco products. “Our interest is to support Greek production, the Greek tobacco industry and job positions,” he said, adding that the Council leaned towards a compromise proposal in favour of Greek interests, although it failed to reach a decision. An increasing number of EU member states entering into excessive deficit procedures facilitates Greece task in requesting a one year extension to 2011, if necessary, to bring the deficit down to 3%. Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Latvia and Rumania join the list of countries with excessive deficits (France, Greece, Spain, Ireland, UK) as of today, while another 9 countries including Italy and Germany are to join the list in November.  Greek News Agenda: Tax Package to Curb Budget Deficit

ECOFIN Discusses European Economies

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Efforts to restore the operation of the banking system in Europe and the implementation of an updated Stability and Growth Pact were the main focus of the Ecofin meeting in Brussels on February 10 Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said, speaking to reporters after the meeting. The minister underlined the need to respect the rules, as laid out in the Stability and Growth Pact and added that the updated Greek version submitted to the European Commission pledged to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit below 3% of the GDP by 2011. Asked whether there is a need of revising a 28-bln-euro plan to prop up liquidity in the Greek banking system, Papathanasiou said that there is no such need because Greek banks have had minimum exposure to the so-called “toxic” assets.

Greek PM: Talking for International Crisis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said on Thursday that the government has a clear plan to handle the international economic crisis which, as he stressed, is more intense now than in the past and is on Greece’s doorstep. The premier spoke following Finance and Economy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou’s presentation of the stability and growth programme, and noted that the government’s responsible and stable policy guarantees a better future for all citizens. He said that government policy is based on three targets: ensuring growth, reducing waste and supporting the poor. Karamanlis emphasised that with the new stability and growth programme, following the revision of evaluations of all the international organisations as well, “the government is taking all factors into consideration with a new policy. No country and no society can handle the international crisis by itself. However, we can, with a specific programme, prevent the grave repercussions with realism and with a stable policy.”

New website for the Greek National Strategic Reference Framework

espaThe new website of the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) 2007-2013 is now accessible at www.espa.gr. This new website provides users with access to overall information regarding the co-financed programmes for the actions of the new Programming Period 2007-2013. More specifically, this website provides information regarding the objectives, actions, institutional framework and the course of implementation of the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA 2007-2013), as well as information on sector programmes and operational programmes per se. Special sections have been created for private persons, businesses and bodies, in order to increase the usability of the website. Furthermore, a chat facility and forum have been added, enhancing the interactional potential of the website. Users can also subscribe to the ESPA 2007-2013 electronic newsletter, which regularly monitors events related to the programmes, while the electronic archive provides access to useful documents and sources. A special section has been created for children with games and educational material, so that children may learn about Europe and have fun at the same time. According to the Deputy Minister for Economy and Finance, Mr. Yianni Papathanasiou, “ESPA 2007-2013 has been designed in order to bring about developments for the country and the quality of life for all citizens, without any exclusion. The internet gives us the opportunity to disseminate this message to Greek society, in an effort to reinforce a climate of transparency and offer beneficiaries a chance to get to know and benefit from the actions of the new programming period.” Links: ESPA 2007-2013 http://www.espa.gr/