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by Euro Reporter
2010-02-12 07:30:25
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PM talks tough but EU may offer help

PM George Papandreou committed his government to taking any measures necessary to fix Greece’s public finances, after being buoyed by the support he received from French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a meeting in Paris. As talk grew yesterday of the European Union, or at least some of its members, stepping in to provide Greece with some form of assistance in its efforts to rein in its towering public debt and deficit, Papandreou flew to France for talks with Sarkozy, who has been supportive of Greece on a range of issues in the past.

“We are ready to take any measures in order to make this sure and guaranteed that we reach this goal,” he said, speaking from the courtyard of the Elysee Palace. The prime minister said he had discussed an array of issues with Sarkozy, although talks focused mostly on economic matters, and reiterated that he was determined to cut the public deficit to 8.7 percent of GDP in 2010 from 12.7 percent in 2009 and to meet the commitments the government has undertaken in its Stability and Growth Program. “We are absolutely determined to make sure it is implemented in every detail,” he said.

Government sources said that Papandreou was very pleased with the backing that he received from Sarkozy, who apparently spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel shortly before meeting with the Greek premier. It is thought this conversation is likely to play a crucial role in whether Greece will receive assistance from the EU’s big players, although Papandreou told journalists that Athens has not requested any help. Sarkozy did not make any immediate public comments after his meeting with Papandreou but French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that he was optimistic that Greece would soon win back the confidence of the markets by getting its finances under control.

“This is an issue of concern for all members of the eurozone,” said Fillon, noting that the European Commission had adopted a series of recommendations to put Greece on the path toward healthy public finances. “We have confidence that the Greek authorities will follow these recommendations and quickly win back the confidence of the markets,” he said.

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Bid to socially integrate migrants


Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday heralded a pilot program for schools that have a large population of second- and first-generation immigrants with the aim of teaching these children their parents’ mother tongue. The aim would be to introduce language lessons to the syllabus of these schools from the coming academic year, Diamantopoulou told an international conference on immigration and economic and social policy in Athens.

The conference, which was attended by government officials, unionists and academics from Greece and other European countries, broached a range of issues relating to the integration of Greece’s immigrant population – a point of discussion since last week when the government submitted to Parliament a bill aimed at granting the children of immigrants in Greece greater rights. One proposal embraced by most of those in attendance regards adult migrants taking Greek-language courses. It was suggested that universities and colleges offering these courses should henceforth be obliged to grant certificates to immigrants who successfully complete their studies.

Another measure, proposed by Labor and Social Insurance Minister Yiannis Loverdos, aims to boost the social integration of thousands of migrants currently lacking residence permits while also boosting state coffers by getting them to pay social security contributions. “Our basic aim is to legalize between 100,000 and 150,000 illegal immigrants who are currently working,” Loverdos said. “It is important that we bestow legitimacy on something that is already happening,” the minister added.

Pedro Almeida Freire, the head of Portugal’s Confederation of Commerce and Services, who was also at the meeting, noted that legalizing immigrants in his country had brought positive results. “The legalization of migrants and granting of citizenship in Portugal was a very good move. Lots of problems disappeared,” he said.

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Anarchist and fugitive discussed books in jail


A self-styled anarchist accused of being a member of the gang that kidnapped industrialist Giorgos Mylonas for 13 days in June 2008, told a Thessaloniki court yesterday about how he met the group’s alleged mastermind and current fugitive, Vassilis Palaiocostas, in prison where the pair discussed the works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Polykarpos Georgiadis said that he met Palaiocostas in Korydallos Prison in 2004 and was impressed by the convict’s collection of books. Georgiadis had been jailed for attempted arson. He said that Palaiocostas contacted him following his first escape from Korydallos. Georgiadis said that he agreed to run errands for the convicted robber. Georgiadis and another anarchist, Vangelis Chrysochoidis, said they brought things to the house where Mylonas was held but did not take part in the abduction.



        
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Emanuel Paparella2010-02-12 09:31:19
"French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that he was optimistic that Greece would soon win back the confidence of the markets by getting its finances under control."

It would appear that it not man who makes the market but the market that, as a sort of demiurge, makes man. The market has confidence in man. Great example, if we needed one, of putting the cart before the horse. Socrates must be turning in his grave.


Emanuel Paparella2010-02-12 09:32:48
Errata: it is not man...


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