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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 10-02-11
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Minimum Retirement Age for Men and Women as of 2013Thursday, 11 February 2010 10:36
Greece was given until 28 March to reply to the EU court's ruling whereby retirement age for both men and women working in the public sector should be the same. The Greek Finance Minister said that the government is to submit a draft-bill providing for a minimum retirement age for men and women as of 2013. Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos rest everyone assured that there will be no change in the mature pension rights.
Commenting on the draft-bill Greece is working on, Finance Minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou said that Greece has to commit itself to the European court's ruling. He added, though, that Greece will fight for a period of grace, so that the change in the retirement age comes in force as of 2013.
The ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions) head called for a five-month dialogue.
Opposition Parties React to Measures
In the meantime, the opposition parties are lashing out at the government's measures on economy.
The measures will dry out the market and deliver a blow to the low-income earners, noted the Conservative party of ND (New Democracy).
Aleka Papariga, KKE (Greek Communist Party) head, called on the working class to resist lest the worse should come. Giorgos Karatzaferis, LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) President, asked for tax incentives to allow foreign capital influx. Finally, Alexis Tsipras of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), dismissed the government's policy as socially unfair and ineffective. News item: 33170
 Promachonas Roadblock RemainsThursday, 11 February 2010 09:08
Protesting farmers blocking the Promachonas border post, at midnight Thursday allowed for a few hours the passage of trucks to and from Bulgaria. The subzero temperatures and the continuous rainfall in the area were instrumental in the farmers' to temporarily open the roadblock to allow the truck drivers, who had been waiting for over three days, to cross the border.
The border was afterwards closed again to all vehicles by the farmers, who warned that they will harden their stance.
Promachonas border post is the last remaining farmers' roadblock in Greece, and was in place on Thursday for the 24th consecutive day.
Source: ANA/MPA News item: 33167
 EU Deal on Greek Debt CrisisThursday, 11 February 2010 08:43
Without elaborating on whether there will be a direct aid to Greece, Herman Van Rompuy offered the EU's fully backing to the Greek government's determination to do whatever it takes, including adopting additional measures, to make sure that the ambition goals of the Greek bailout plan are met and its budget gets in line.
"We call on the Greek government to implement all these measures in a rigorous and effective manner," Mr. Van Rompuy said. He then went on to urge the ECOFIN Council to adopt at its sitting on 16 February the conclusions on Greece based upon the European Commission's recommendations and the additional measures Greece took.
The European Commission will be closely monitoring the implementation of the recommendations, while it will be authorized to suggest any necessary additional measures based on the International Monetary Fund's knowhow.
"The euro-zone countries will provide determined and coordinated action if needed to preserve stability in the currency union. Greece did not ask for any financial support," commented Herman Van Rompuy.
In the meantime, in his interview with Le Monde, Greek Premier George Papandreou made it clear that Greece will not ask for aid, stressing that the country needs Europe's psychological and political support.
He then defended the credibility of Greece's fiscal plan. With regard to the profiteering attacks on the markets, Papandreou underlined that should they carry on, they will bring problems in the rest of Europe, as well.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, called on the euro-zone nations to be on alert to safeguard fiscal stability which is threatened by the Greek situation.
At a meeting with the EU President Herman Van Rompuy and Eurogroup President Jean Claude Junker, prior to the summit of the EU leaders, Jose Manuel Barroso said that Greece should be politically supported, further suggesting that this support should be translated into specific measures by the Ecofin council.
"We Won't Let Greece Be Alone" Says Angela Merkel
Being on the same page, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the European union will not let Greece be alone, further adding that Athens has to commit itself to the common rules concerning deficits.
Portugal Offers Its Solidarity
The Portuguese Prime Minister gave a confidence vote to the Greek government, which is laboring to cut its spending, and called on the European Union to do its best to help Greece overcome its fiscal crisis.
Source: NET 105.8, ANA/MPA News item: 33163
 Nasty Weather on Ash MondayThursday, 11 February 2010 17:14
The heavy showers and storms that hit Greece caused serious damage to several areas of northern and central Greece. Schools were damaged and roads flooded in the prefecture of Halkidiki, northern Greece. More showers and snowfalls are expected in the coming hours, while whether on Ash Monday will be rather nasty.
News item: 33206