|Friday, 16 April 2021|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 02-02-28
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 NEWS IN ENGLISHTHE VOICE OF GREECE
28/2/2002 12:24:00 μμ
- The government' s plans on various issues
- The government plans to fight corruption
- Bill on business activities
- Planned reforms in taxation and social security
- Last day of the drachma
- Conference on news bulletins
- Airlines fly normally today
- Th. Weston' s statements on the Cyprus issue
- Athens bourse
 The government' s plans on various issuesPrime Minister Kostas Simitis stated that the government is determined to materialize all major structural changes, privatizations and reforms in the social security and taxation systems.
Addressing the Greek-American Chamber yesterday, Mr. Simitis pointed out that all the talk about a crisis in the country is simply tales coming from people who want to stop the country' s course and create privileges. He then stressed that shadow power centers cannot shake the governments efforts. Greece' s modernization, he added, is not reversible, is not prevented and is not cancelled.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of the ruling PASOK executive office yesterday, the Prime Minister appeared determined to bring to an end the struggle and be present in developments, as this is imposed by the sense of responsibility towards Greece and the Greek society.
In addition, Prime Minister Simitis reiterated that the government' s goals for the next few years, are: the economic convergence, to resolve national issues, Cyprus' accession course to the EU, the successful organization of the 2004 Olympic Games and the promotion of the European idea.
 The government plans to fight corruptionCompetent Ministers met at the Interior Ministry yesterday and outlined the issue of corruption in the bid to fight it more easily.
All the Ministers will draw up a list of corruption sources in areas of their responsibility and will hand over the relative reports by next Monday to Interior Minister Kostas Skandalidis.
Immediate intervention will focus on the fields of Revenue Offices, Urban Planning Offices, hospitals, Social Security Funds and also economic crimes.
 Bill on business activitiesA bill on boosting business activities of the Ministry of Finance was passed by majority in parliament yesterday.
Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said the market should stay away from any sort of rivalry.
 Planned reforms in taxation and social securityIssues pertaining to taxation and social security reforms will be brought up at the table of the social dialogue due to take place towards the end of March.
In view of the dialogue the government is studying the additional role of private companies in the management of the Funds' reserve funds, according to the European standards.
Press spokesman Christos Protopapas and Development Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos stated that the private insurance functions as a supplement to the social security, while the president of insurance companies said that "insurance companies will be handling private and not state capitals. However, the president of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) Christos Polyzogopoulos strongly objects to the announcements regarding the social security issue.
For his part, the leader of SYN ( the Coalition of the Left-wing and Progress) party Nikos Konstantopoulos, said that the decision for the entry of private insurance companies in the social security system symbolizes the neo-liberal character of PASOK's policy.
 Last day of the drachmaIt is the last day the drachma circulates today. Europe's most ancient currency, 26 centuries old, gives its place to the euro and goes down in history. From now on, it can only be found in the reserves of ODDY (Public Material Management Organization).
Other states of the euro-zone also bid farewell to their national currencies today.
 Conference on news bulletinsThe two day conference on the upgrading of news bulletins continues in the Zappion mansion in Athens today.
The general directors of (ERT) Greek State Radio and Television and other radio and TV channels stated their views on the issue at the conference yesterday.
The president of the Radio and Television Council Vasilis Lambridis spoke of "extremely inferior quality in television news bulletins".
The views of the Speaker of the Greek Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis where similar on the issue, stressing that the complete trivialization of a public function such as the media has gone over the limits of tolerance.
Meanwhile, government spokesman Christos Protopapas called for "Legality, Transparency and Quality", while the spokesman of the New Democracy (ND) party Theodoros Rousopoulos said "televised journalism should come back to the concepts that prevailed during its first steps".
In a relative development, a two day conference on training issues of the European Network of Greek Journalists opens today.
Ministers, scholars, journalists and EU officials will participate in the conference and will speak on current European matters.
 Airlines fly normally todayThe flights of all air carriers will be effected normally today, as a work stoppage planned by air traffic controllers was finally suspended.
 Th. Westons statements on the Cyprus issueThe American State Department's special envoy Thomas Weston met in Athens yesterday with the Greek foreign Minister George Papandreou.
After the meeting, Mr. Weston reiterated the US's firm stand on a Cyprus settlement on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
 Athens bourseLosses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The general index dropped by 1.12%, closing at 2,379.95 points, while the volume of transactions was at 99.17 million Euro or 33.79 billion drachmas. Of the stocks trading yesterday, 282 recorded losses and 52 had gains, while the value of 23 stocks remained unchanged.