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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-11-18

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 1043), November 18, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Polytechnic uprising commemorated in relative calm
  • [02] Tributes
  • [03] In Brief
  • [04] Macedonia-Thrace minister on official visit to Canada
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos reiterates Turkey's destabilizing role through its policies in Cyprus, Aegean
  • [06] Budget expected to be tabled soon
  • [07] Conference focuses on human rights policies in EU
  • [08] Event focuses on Greece's trade relations with Germany, Austria, Switzerland
  • [09] Papadopoulos announces civil servants' code changes
  • [10] Gov't economic measures will be definitely implemented, interior under-secretary notes
  • [11] Christodoulakis cites attainment of Maastricht criteria as basic aim of 1997 budget
  • [12] ND political council to cover contentious issues this week
  • [13] Athens' candidacy file for 2004 Olympic Games garners widespread praise

  • [01] Polytechnic uprising commemorated in relative calm

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    The 23rd anniversary of a 1973 student uprising in the Athens Polytechnic against the military junta then ruling Greece took place yesterday with the traditional march to the US embassy. Only minor incidents had been reported by press-time.

    The incidents took place in the vicinity of the Polytechnic after groups of youths attempted to break through the gates of the institution at about 5 p.m. They were pushed back by students guarding the premises, reports state.

    Police who had cordoned-off the area later dispersed several of stone-throwing youths about one hour later.

    Meanwhile, the anniversary march was attended by a few thousand people, although it was generally subdued compared to past years. It was estimated that increased vigilance on the part of authorities and students contributed to the peaceful march.

    Some 5,000 police officers were on duty and another 10,000 on stand-by to prevent a re-occurrence of violence, which has marred anniversary events over the past years. According to reports, all roads surrounding the march route were cordoned off by police.

    After the end of the march, a considerable number of students returned to the Polytechnic to reinforce the groups still guarding the central Athens institution.

    People of all ages flocked to the cite for the third consecutive day yesterday to pay tribute to those who struggled against the military junta, while the gates closed at 3 p.m.

    On Saturday, police had evacuated the adjacent Archaeological Museum and cordoned off the surrounding area after an anonymous caller claimed a bomb had been planted in the museum.

    Bomb disposal experts and police searched the museum and the nearby vicinity but found nothing.

    [02] Tributes

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    After laying a wreath at the Polytechnic on Saturday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said democracy must be broadened and become the property of each and every citizen.

    "This is why the struggle of the students on Nov. 17, 1973 is a struggle which must be waged continuously. Only if we try, shall we have a state which respects the citizen and a society of citizens with social sensitivity and social responsibility. These are our targets," Mr. Simitis said.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Simitis said the government had taken all the necessary security measures to maintain order during the anniversary events.

    In its message, PASOK's executive committee said "the Polytechnic continues even today to affect the conscience of all Greeks."

    Speaking in Kavala, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga noted that the "Polytechnic is threatened by propaganda aimed at abandoning it as a memory and as a current struggle by those not benefiting from people remembering and for youth to be taught."

    In its announcement, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party said that "despite the passage of time and the attempts to exploit it, the Polytechnic always maintains its liberating, fighting and radical message."

    Synaspismos called on citizens to participate in the events so that the anniversary can be transformed into "a great peaceful celebration of youth and democracy", and to stop "the vicious circle of attrition, exploitation and violence, and to essentially protect the institution of university asylum."

    The Communist Party of the Interior - Renovative Left criticized all those who "are attempting to permanently bury the Polytechnic's fighting messages," and concentrated its criticism on "the government with its 'modernizing' policy, the mass media, which makes a spectacle of the events, organizations and parties which do not intervene in the process of corroding the memory of the Polytechnic and all types of provocators."

    In its message, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) said the Polytechnic's messages of unity and struggle inspire and lead workers today in a critical period in Greece's political history.

    GSEE "supports the radical youth demands for the upgrading and democratic modernization of education," the confederation said.

    The media union representatives' executive council said the uprising of students and Greek youth against the junta "continues to be a message of responsibility, virtue and vigilance for peace and democracy."

    Meanwhile, a group of citizens were joined at the intersection of Alexandras and Patission avenues by roughly 2-3,000 people who participated in the march yesterday, demanding to be allowed a peaceful march to the gates of the Polytechnic, and for the institution itself to remain open throughout the night for those who wish to remember the 1973 uprising.

    The area in front of the Polytechnic had been cordoned-off by riot police.

    [03] In Brief

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    Late last night, authorities decided to leave the Polytechnic open to the public. About 700 students gathered outside the building subsequently dispersed peacefully.

    Public Order Minister George Romeos in a message to police forces, thanked them for their efforts at keeping order during events.

    [04] Macedonia-Thrace minister on official visit to Canada

    Toronto, 18/11/1996 (ANA/Y. Georgiou)

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos traveled to Canada on Saturday night, with his first stop in Ontario's capital.

    Toronto is home to roughly 120,000 Greek expatriates, half of whom hail from Macedonia and Thrace.

    Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Petsalnikos officially opened the Cultural Union of the Pan-Macedonian Union of Ontario, while he was due to make a speech there last night.

    The minister is scheduled to meet with Ontario Province Finance Minister David Johnson and expatriate Greek deputies today, while he is to leave for Montreal in the early afternoon.

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos reiterates Turkey's destabilizing role through its policies in Cyprus, Aegean

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Saturday that Ankara's attempts to unilaterally annul the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne - the basis of the status quo between the two countries today - through its policy in Cyprus and provocations in the Aegean, posed a problem not only for Greece but for all of Europe, as Turk ey is acting as a destabilizing force in the region. He made the statement during his address at a seminar organized by the Institute for Strategic and Developmental Studies and the Athens bureau of the Friedrich Ebert Institute.

    According to the minister, the European Union's Mediterranean policy faces two serious issues - the Palestinian and Cyprus problems. Regarding the former, he said the delay noted in the last few months must not be allowed to carry on, otherwise a historical opportunity will be lost.

    Concerning Cyprus, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that the problem was one of invasion and occupation by the Turkish army, and that the EU had set the start to negotiations for entry of Cyprus and Malta as members six months after the end of the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC).

    Regarding Ankara's accession, he referred to that country's well-documented problems in the realm of human rights, which the EU had to deal with, noting that there were many countries in Europe which did not want Ankara's entry.

    "The European Union must adopt a stand on this matter also, because Greece has been used as the naughty child for too long," he said.

    Foreign Under-secretary Christos Rozakis, who subsequently addressed the seminar, said there has never been an issue of half of Cyprus being admitted into the EU, but as a single entity whose part is under occupation.

    "The only problem is implementation of arrangements, but this is mainly a technical, not a political problem," he said.

    Questioned whether Cyprus should wait until eastern European countries were ready to join, Mr. Rozakis said there was no decision by the EU for creation of two tiers in the accession process and, expressing his personal opinion, said it was not a question of a race to join, noting that Cyprus already fulfilled the criteria set by the Maastricht Treaty.

    Regarding Turkish accession, he said the issue was not being discussed and has almost been ruled out.

    [06] Budget expected to be tabled soon

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    The PASOK government's economic policy is expected to be unveiled within the next few days by Prime Minister Costas Simitis with his administration's tabling in Parliament of the 1997 budget.

    Compilation of the 1997 budget was estimated as especially difficult for National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, given the dual considerations of meeting Maastricht Treaty criteria for European Monetary Union (EMU) and preserving the governing socialist party's "social profile."

    Along those lines, PASOK's central committee and its Parliamentary group will hold a joint meeting today to focus on the government's economic policy. On Tuesday, the Cabinet is expected to convene in order to approve the budget, with the premier to out line its basic points afterwards.

    [07] Conference focuses on human rights policies in EU

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    A two-day conference on the subject of "The European Union and External Views of Human Rights Policies" organized after an initiative by PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannis Roubatis, ended yesterday afternoon in Athens.

    The conference's conclusions, presented by the rector of the Academy of Lyon III, Christian Philip, included the need to broaden the existing legal basis for promotion of human rights in the EU.

    However, he added, this legal basis allows the community to act so long as there is necessary political will, such as an insistence of human rights charters in agreements between the EU and third countries being followed. Mr. Philip expressed the hope t hat these legal loopholes will be covered by the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who also spoke at the conference on Saturday, stressed the need for equal criteria with which the EU functions and noted weaknesses in the protection of human rights within the EU or in countries which blatantly viol ate these rights, such as Turkey.

    Replying to these statements, Mr. Philip stressed that such criticism should not be used as an alibi for inaction in the human rights sector.

    British Tory Eurodeputy Edward Macmillan Scott said conditions for the EU to act are an ability of prevention and analysis, an ability to intervene, promotion of financial reforms and ability to undertake the Community's military role.

    Cathrine Lalumiere, a French Eurodeputy and president of the European Radical Alliance, spoke of a need of basic co-operation between the United Nations, the OECD, the Council of Europe and the EU, concerning the issue of human rights.

    Ms. Lalumiere noted that the UN has reports and that the OECD is bound politically (e.g. through the Helsinki Act) on human rights, but control mechanisms they both possess are restricted.

    [08] Event focuses on Greece's trade relations with Germany, Austria, Switzerland

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    Greece's economic and trade ties with Germany, Austria and Switzerland were the subject of a one-day seminar yesterday on the sidelines of the weekend "Money Show '96" conference in Athens.

    The event was organized by the German-language weekly "Athener Zeitung," which is published in Athens and circulated throughout Greece and abroad.

    The national economy ministry's general director for foreign economic and trade relations, Theodoros Vlassopoulos, summarized Greece's economic relations with each of the three countries, stressing also the advantages Greece has as a trading partner with Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

    He said Greece's geographic location - in the crossroads of the Balkans, eastern Europe and the Middle East - is an ideal location from where joint enterprises can expand their activities in various regions.

    In a short address to kickoff the event, Athener Zeitung publisher and editor Costas Tsatsaronis discussed the significance of trade relations with the three central European nations, noting that more than one-fourth of Greece's foreign trade is conducted with Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He added that roughly 250 firms from those three countries operate in Greece, employing approximately 25,000 individuals.

    Additionally, Mr. Tsatsaronis said Greece is a tourist destination for some 2.5 million vacationers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland every year - about 30 per cent of the total number of tourist arrivals.

    [09] Papadopoulos announces civil servants' code changes

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Alekos Papadopoulos announced on Saturday a comprehensive change in the civil servants' code, mainly regarding disciplinary regulations.

    The minister made the announcement during the "Money Show '96" multi-conference being held in an Athens seaside resort.

    Mr. Papadopoulos added that qualities required for appointment of new civil servants will also change, with knowledge of foreign languages and computer skills becoming obligatory.

    Meanwhile, a draft bill for conversion of the country's 13 regions into autonomous administrative units will be submitted in Parliament in a few days, the minister said. Departments from ministries are to be transferred to these administrative units, thus allowing a restructuring of ministries.

    Mr. Papadopoulos said mergers between regions are necessary due to their large number, and also spoke of the need to reduce costs in the public sector with the merging of public organizations and businesses, which may be handled better by the private sector.

    [10] Gov't economic measures will be definitely implemented, interior under-secretary notes

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    The government is determined to implement economic measures without consideration of political cost, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Under-secretary Tassos Mantelis said on Saturday.

    He added that the government's 1997 measures for the public sector and the so-called privileged economic strata will be harsh.

    Replying to a question as to which taxpayers are considered as belonging to a "privileged category", Mr. Mantelis said he considers taxpayers whose income exceeds the average salary and pension levels to belong to such a category.

    The under-secretary said there is no possibility for the government to back down from the measures it has announced because of the pressures it is under. He said this program was known before the elections and was approved by a vote of the Greek people .

    Mr. Mantelis also referred to the energy sector, saying Crete could become an international prototype for the use of renewable energy resources.

    The under-secretary spoke during a conference examining results of the implementation of a law on renewable energy sources.

    Mr. Mantelis said the law had brought major changes to the country's energy situation and had mobilized social powers wishing to invest in renewable energy sources for the region's development.

    [11] Christodoulakis cites attainment of Maastricht criteria as basic aim of 1997 budget

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    Attainment of Maastricht Treaty criteria, modernization of the economy, effective functioning of the state as well as continuation of the Greek economy's developmental course constitute the basic goals of the new 1997 budget, Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis said on Saturday at the "Money Show '96" multi-conference.

    Mr. Christodoulakis underlined that a series of institutional interventions, designed to rationalize expenses and save resources for productive investments, were required to attain convergence targets.

    SEB president Iason Stratos said in his address that Greece's equal participation in the European Union was an utmost national priority - shared by the vast majority of Greek businesses - and stressed that the budget currently being drafted had to provide answers in fulfilling this pursuit.

    The event was organized by the Association of Greek Industries (SEB) at the Astir Vouliagmeni resort.

    Mr. Stratos reiterated his support for the gradual privatization of state-controlled banks, or at least, reduction of state control in their operation, calling for tax credits to firms achieving their financing through other sources and without resorting to borrowing. He also insisted that for reasons of fairness, state securities, such as treasury bills, should be taxed on an equal basis, with privately issued bonds. He added that the government should not artificially prop up ailing enterprises, which increases the burden on banks, forcing them in turn to maintain lending rates at high levels.

    On his part, Bank of Greece deputy governor Panayiotis Thomopoulos said there were outdated provisions preventing the central monetary authority from exercising the necessary control over the banking system. He stressed that state banks had expanded into sectors of high credit risk due to their inadequacy in an appropriate system of internal auditing and risk management.

    Bundesbank Vice-President Johann Wilhelm Gaddum, who spoke at the conference and gave a press conference on the topic of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), was mostly reassuring in his comments about Greece's prospects of participation, saying that the question of when a country would be integrated in EMU was not significant and that there would not be a lessening of Community solidarity for those countries left in a "second speed".

    Former OECD secretary general and a current member of the French Council of State, Jean-Claud Paye, also addressed the conference, saying he did not rule out the possibility that pressures would be exercised to various member-states from below for adopt ion of protectionist measures, which he described as potentially "catastrophic".

    He insisted on the need for the European Union to maintain social solidarity - "so that society does not collapse" - describing it as also important for Greece.

    [12] ND political council to cover contentious issues this week

    Athens, 18/11/1996 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party's political council will convene on Wednesday or Thursday in order to discuss a proposal by ND Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis on the manner in which next year's party congress will be held.

    Mr. Varvitsiotis said he hoped that roughly 3,200 party members participate at the congress, while ND honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis said he would like to see more than 4,000 members attend.

    Apart from the different methods for holding the congress, another three differences are expected to cause tension during the political council meeting.

    ND leader Miltiades Evert's rivals insist on regional organization representatives being elected by ND's grass roots, while some deputies have suggested as an intermediary solution for

    representatives to be elected by seven-member local committee administrations and not by the three members foreseen by the party charter.

    The composition of the congress' organizing committee is also a contentious issue, although Mr. Evert has said he is open to suggestions on this matter.

    Mr. Evert said he is determined to exercise all his rights as party leader, although he had earlier told associates he is prepared to allow his rivals to participate equally in pre-congress procedures and to limit his appearances to party bodies in order to avoid problems.

    Another point of friction is expected to be discussion over the causes of ND's electoral defeat in September, during a joint meeting of the Parliamentary group and ND's central committee.

    [13] Athens' candidacy file for 2004 Olympic Games garners widespread praise

    Cancun, Mexico 18/11/1996 (ANA/AFP)

    Observers at the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) general assembly session here have described Athens' candidacy for the 2004 Olympic Games as the best of all 11 cities contesting the world's largest sporting event, followed by those of Istanbul and Seville.

    The Lille candidacy was described as a pleasant surprise, as was that of Buenos Aires, while those of Rio de Janeiro and Stockholm were described as "without mistakes".

    By contrast, the presentations of St. Petersburg, San Juan, and especially Rome, which is considered one of the favorites, were viewed as disappointing, while that of Cape Town was considered to have excessively relied on the personality of South African President Nelson Mandela.

    It was also announced that the 11 cities will have a second chance to present their candidacies at an IOC hearing in Lausanne on March 5 and 6.

    Members of the 197 national delegations present in this Mexican resort drew attention to the fact that the winning candidate city will not essentially be chosen by them, as they wield only one vote each, but by the permanent IOC members.

    End of English language section.

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