Environment minister briefs president, denies list of tax-evaders

Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou on Friday briefed President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias about the activities of his ministry, particularly the effort to attract investments in energy in order to boost growth.

    Papaconstantinou reported on his meeting earlier the same day with visiting German vice chancellor and economy & technology minister Philipp Roesler, during which they decided that a plan on how to proceed with the 'Helios' project for investment in solar energy will be finalised by the end of the year, in cooperation with the European Commission.

    The minister also referred to the ministry's efforts for energy conservation in buildings, simpler environmental permit procedures and an improved town-planning framework in order to facilitate investments, as well as plans relating to renewable energy sources, waste and water management.

    "The great advantage of foreign investments is that they can resolve the issue of funding. Because given the problems of the Greek banking system, this is a great help, creating jobs and wealth in Greece," Papaconstantinou noted.

    He stressed that the effort for fiscal adjustment had to be accompanied by dynamic initiatives to breath life back into the growth process.

    Replying to reporters, meanwhile, he denied a claim made by former deputy finance minister and current PASOK MP Dimitris Kouselas concerning a list with the names of 4,000 known tax evaders, saying that no such list existed.

    "There is, as we have repeatedly said, the obligation to publish a list of citizens with overdue debts and there is a process underway at the finance ministry by the [financial crimes unit SDOE] and relevant services for tax dodgers," he added.

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