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International Court of Justice Ruling on Distomo Case

In an announcement, issued on February 3, concerning an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling upholding Germany’s position, that it enjoys state immunity from being sued in foreign courts by victims of Nazi atrocities during World War II, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the Greek government will study this Judgement closely, in the light of its firm and longstanding position that the matter of German compensations remains open.
The judgement affects the case of the south-central Greek village of Distomo, where Nazi troops killed 214 civilians on June 10, 1944, one of the numerous instances of WWII atrocities in occupied Greece. The court case concerned the confiscation of German property on Italian soil for reparations to be paid to victims of Distomo.

  • MPs Raise War Reparations Issue

Meanwhile, in Athens, 28 MPs from PASOK, New Democracy (ND), Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) as well as independent deputies tabled a motion in Parliament requesting a discussion on issues concerning the so-called German occupation loan from Greece during WWII, as well as the issue of war reparations to victims of Nazi atrocities and stolen treasures from the country.
In a letter addressed to the presidents of competent parliamentary committees, the MPs called on Parliament to adopt a clear stance on this “crucial national issue.”
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Government announced austerity plan

» PM: “Sacrifices will Bear Fruits”

The government announced yesterday an additional set of measures bound to slash the double-digit public deficit.
Speaking yesterday at a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Papandreou said that the emphasis is now shifting to what the European Union will do. 
The new measures aim at bringing into public coffers some €4.8 billion, amount which corresponds to 2% of the country’s GDP.  

» Pay Cuts

In particular, the new measures include a 30% pay cut of public sector’s supplements allocated annually, and a 12% across the board cut of public servants’ benefits. Moreover, subsidies to public entities and their social security funds will be reduced by 10%.
Any additional remuneration in the public sector will be trimmed by 50%, and compensation for overtime work will shrink by 30%.

Executive bonuses in the public sector will be abolished and the Public Investment Budget will be curtailed by 5% (€500 million). As of 2011, the ratio for public sector hirings will be one for every five retirees.

» Taxation

VAT is expected to rise at all cases by an average 1% to 2% and an extra levy on fuel, cigarettes, liqueur and luxury products will be imposed.
A one-off tax of 1% on personal incomes above €100.000 will also be introduced, together with a 15% rise in taxation of offshore companies’ real estate property.
Kathimerini daily: Further Cuts and Tax Hikes Announced
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greece: Protecting Industrial Property

obi1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Hellenic Industrial Property Organisation (OBI) honoured distinguished Greek inventors for their contribution to the technological progress of the country, awarding them the “Inventors Awards,” an institution first launched in 2002. The Hellenic Industrial Property Organisation is the only legally qualified institution for the protection of inventions and industrial designs. It also provides technological information from worldwide patent databases. Additionally, OBI operates 3 regional electronic patent libraries (in Thessaloniki, Patra and Herakleion of Crete) disseminating information at a national level. National Documentation Centre: The Greek Website for Research, Technology and Innovation & Innovation, Research and Technology Magazine [January-February 2009]

Greece: On tourism and property

The need to upgrade tourism as a product and the search for efficient methods of tourist development will be at the very centre of the 2nd International Tourism and Property Show scheduled to take place in Athens, from February 22 to 24. Held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, the event will bring together firms from the construction and tourism sector as well as the insurance, real estate management, and architectural-engineering, decoration and equipment sectors along with public sector enterprises with the ulterior aim of becoming a frame of reference for Greek tourism and property businesses.