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Greek Report Greek Report
by Euro Reporter
2007-12-01 10:24:06
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Pensions not under threat

People’s pensions will not be reduced as a result of the reforms the government wants to introduce; Employment and Social Security Minister Vassilis Magginas left open the possibility of changes to eligibility regulations. With a series of strikes set to start today as unions protest against plans to merge 155 pension funds into just five funds, the ruling conservatives are keen to emphasize that they believe the reforms will not be as disruptive as some people have argued.

“We are in the process of having a dialogue,” said Magginas. “In this framework, we are putting forward our plans, which aim to serve real interests and the majority of people, but with the certainty that the general retirement ages will not be touched and neither will the level of pension payouts or contributions.”

Greek men are eligible for retirement at the age of 65, women at 60. The minister indicated that these age limits would not be changed but his comment in relation to “general retirement ages” indicates that the government may look at tweaking rules that allow people from certain professions to claim early retirement after a certain number of years served.

Several unions have expressed fears that workers’ pensions could shrink over the years and a general strike has been organized for December 12 to protest the reforms. However, Magginas insisted that the level of retirement benefits would not be affected by any of the changes that have been proposed. “No pension will be reduced,” the minister said. “The way pensions are calculated will not change either.”

But how many times has the Greek conservative government done exactly the same over the last few years? In the beginning a minister assures everybody that nothing is going to change and in the end a new legislation arrives in the parliament that changes everything. The former Prime Minister K. Mitsotakis said last week in an interview that when we say something during the elections campaign doesn’t necessarily means that it is …going to happen!

The Greek pensions are definitely in danger but a big part of the responsibility lays on the government and wrong decisions of the past when ministers and managers decided to invest governmental money into …stock market shares ignoring the visual danger and just gambling with the people's money. The government, this government, which tries to find a way to pay the pensions is responsible for this unbelievable scandal and, at the same time, is not willing to punish those responsible… instead they expect the people to pay!

********************************

World Cup loves Greece

Greece, one of the leading seeds in the draw that determined groups leading to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, was rewarded with a place in what appears to be the European zone’s weakest group. The Greek national soccer team, which went into the draw as one of Europe’s top nine teams based on world rankings provided by FIFA, the sport’s international body, will face Israel, Switzerland, Moldova, Latvia and Luxembourg in Group B.

The top teams from the European zone’s nine groups qualify for the World Cup. Eight of the nine second-placed teams will meet in four home-and-away playoffs for an additional four berths. Qualifying competition begins on September 6. Coaches of the participating sides will soon meet to arrange fixtures. A date has not yet been set. “The draw may seem easy, but we need to be careful. If the team plays according to its ability, it stands a chance of qualifying,” said Greece coach Otto Rehhagel.

Greece has qualified for the World Cup finals once before, in 1994, but returned home from the USA as a humbled side after losing all three of its first-stage group games. The expectations for a second World Cup appearance by Greece, in Germany last year, ran high following the national team’s shock Euro 2004 victory in Portugal. But Greece failed in its attempt, depriving Rehhagel of leading his Greek team in his native Germany. The Greek soccer federation has made clear its interest in extending Rehhagel’s contract beyond next summer’s Euro 2008 finals, when his deal expires, with the 2010 World Cup in mind. Rehhagel, who recently became Greece’s longest serving coach, said he would deal with the issue following Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, where the national team will defend its European title

The amazing thing is that Greece took England’s place leading the group after England’s embarrassing loss in Wembley from Croatia.

********************************

 

Pensions not under threat

People’s pensions will not be reduced as a result of the reforms the government wants to introduce; Employment and Social Security Minister Vassilis Magginas left open the possibility of changes to eligibility regulations. With a series of strikes set to start today as unions protest against plans to merge 155 pension funds into just five funds, the ruling conservatives are keen to emphasize that they believe the reforms will not be as disruptive as some people have argued.

“We are in the process of having a dialogue,” said Magginas. “In this framework, we are putting forward our plans, which aim to serve real interests and the majority of people, but with the certainty that the general retirement ages will not be touched and neither will the level of pension payouts or contributions.”

Greek men are eligible for retirement at the age of 65, women at 60. The minister indicated that these age limits would not be changed but his comment in relation to “general retirement ages” indicates that the government may look at tweaking rules that allow people from certain professions to claim early retirement after a certain number of years served.

Several unions have expressed fears that workers’ pensions could shrink over the years and a general strike has been organized for December 12 to protest the reforms. However, Magginas insisted that the level of retirement benefits would not be affected by any of the changes that have been proposed. “No pension will be reduced,” the minister said. “The way pensions are calculated will not change either.”

But how many times has the Greek conservative government done exactly the same over the last few years? In the beginning a minister assures everybody that nothing is going to change and in the end a new legislation arrives in the parliament that changes everything. The former Prime Minister K. Mitsotakis said last week in an interview that when we say something during the elections campaign doesn’t necessarily means that it is …going to happen!

The Greek pensions are definitely in danger but a big part of the responsibility lays on the government and wrong decisions of the past when ministers and managers decided to invest governmental money into …stock market shares ignoring the visual danger and just gambling with the people's money. The government, this government, which tries to find a way to pay the pensions is responsible for this unbelievable scandal and, at the same time, is not willing to punish those responsible… instead they expect the people to pay!

********************************

World Cup loves Greece

Greece, one of the leading seeds in the draw that determined groups leading to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, was rewarded with a place in what appears to be the European zone’s weakest group. The Greek national soccer team, which went into the draw as one of Europe’s top nine teams based on world rankings provided by FIFA, the sport’s international body, will face Israel, Switzerland, Moldova, Latvia and Luxembourg in Group B.

The top teams from the European zone’s nine groups qualify for the World Cup. Eight of the nine second-placed teams will meet in four home-and-away playoffs for an additional four berths. Qualifying competition begins on September 6. Coaches of the participating sides will soon meet to arrange fixtures. A date has not yet been set. “The draw may seem easy, but we need to be careful. If the team plays according to its ability, it stands a chance of qualifying,” said Greece coach Otto Rehhagel.

Greece has qualified for the World Cup finals once before, in 1994, but returned home from the USA as a humbled side after losing all three of its first-stage group games. The expectations for a second World Cup appearance by Greece, in Germany last year, ran high following the national team’s shock Euro 2004 victory in Portugal. But Greece failed in its attempt, depriving Rehhagel of leading his Greek team in his native Germany. The Greek soccer federation has made clear its interest in extending Rehhagel’s contract beyond next summer’s Euro 2008 finals, when his deal expires, with the 2010 World Cup in mind. Rehhagel, who recently became Greece’s longest serving coach, said he would deal with the issue following Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, where the national team will defend its European title

The amazing thing is that Greece took England’s place leading the group after England’s embarrassing loss in Wembley from Croatia.

********************************

Thessaloniki International Film Festival

China’s Cai Shangjun receives the Golden Alexander for Red Awn at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. PVC-1, by Colombian-Greek Spyros Stathopoulos, won second prize. Estonian Veiko Ounpuu was named best director for Autumn Ball.

China’s Cai Shangjun receives the Golden Alexander for Red Awn at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. PVC-1, by Colombian-Greek Spyros Stathopoulos, won second prize. Estonian Veiko Ounpuu was named best director for Autumn Ball.


   
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