|Friday, 28 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-12-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 6, 2002
 Premier calls for speedy utilization of third community framework funds
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)''The effectiveness in implementing the third community support framework funds will judge the totality of our efforts, since the progress of projects has very significant effects on the income of citizens,'' Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Thursday at the cabinet meeting he chaired, according to government spokesman Christos Protopapas.
''The third community support framework funds is the base for the increase in the prosperity of the Greek people and the preconditions for that are very good,'' he added, following the proposals tabled by Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis, and Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas.
The premier underlined that there should be a full equalization of the central urban areas with those of the regions, adding that this should become apparent not only in indexes but also in the public feeling of citizens.
Speaking on the problems of bureaucracy, an issue tabled by several ministers, the premier said bureaucracy should be confronted and so there should be predetermined quantitative targets, deadlines and flexibility in the ability to issue tenders for projects in other agents when there are delays.
The premier also noted that the ministries should submit the detailed programs of advertising to the press and media ministry so as to achieve cohesiveness in messages that are broadcast and so to have a better result.
He added that a relevant decree in 1997 regulated the percentages of promotion and allocated portions for the local media, adding that many ministries did not follow the regulated percentages and thus caused reactions.
Simitis also spoke of the government's program, which includes the taxation system and social insurance system reforms, the country's entry in the Eurozone and the high rates of the GDP's increase, stressing, however, that the upcoming months will be difficult and great care is necessary.
''We will deal with the national issues, with issues of international relations, with the economic and social convergence,'' he said, adding that since during the Greek EU presidency the government members will have to travel a great deal around the EU, special attention should be paid to domestic affairs.
He asked of ministers to predetermine the targets they can achieve over the next six months and to identify issues, where the participation of society is necessary, so as to ask of the ruling PASOK party to mobilize citizens.
Summing up, the premier said that from now until the elections ''we have several months to prove and capitalize on our work'' and called on all to focus on the effort that is underway ''with certainty and self-confidence''.
Greece on "good path" to absorb third community support fund moneys: ''We are on a good path, we should speed up more to absorb the third community support framework fund moneys,'' Christos Protopapas said on Thursday, providing the central message of the cabinet meeting that preceded his statements.
In providing details, Protopapas said that the cabinet decided to set up a committee composed of general secretaries of ministries, which will examine the possibilities for decreasing the number of certificates and other bureaucratic affidavits necessary for the implementation of investments.
Also, speaking of the lifting of inequalities between the center and the regions, as well as the development of the government's policy, he said that the cabinet decided to plan meetings with Parliament deputies.
Gov't aims to speed up regional alignment using EU funds: The government plans to accelerate regional alignment by reducing imbalances in growth through funds from the European Union's Third Community Support Framework (CSF) package, Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Thursday.
''This is so that the inhabitants of one region do not feel that they are lagging those in another,'' Christodoulakis told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
''In order to achieve this we are using social policy, pensions and incomes policy for farmers, tax policy and the EU's Third CSF package,'' he said.
Funds had been allocated so that the regions received an equivalent of 2.0 or 2.5 times per inhabitant more the residents of Attica. In coming years, the total would work out at 2,000 euros per inhabitant in Attica and 4,200 in the country's regions.
The regions had been given priority for projects funded under the third CSF in education, the environment, agricultural development, and training in new technology, the minister added.
Deputy Finance Minister Christos Pachtas quoted EU statistics as showing that seven member states out of 15 had absorbed less than 10 percent of funds from the Community budget by the end of June, while Greece had absorbed 14 percent, which had since risen to 17 percent.
 Athens accuses Denktash of not wanting Cyprus solution
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)The delay by Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in giving an answer to the United Nations regarding the blueprint Cyprus solution showed his deep denial of the attempted solution to the Cyprus problem, the Greek government said on Thursday.
Government spokesman Christos Protopapas dismissed Denktash's reasons for the delay on Wednesday night as laughable, saying that his actions caused hilarity and had exposed him completely. The stance of the Turkish-Cypriot side was a "serious problem" and the international community should not accept its stalling, he added.
The Greek side was approaching the plan presented by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in good faith, he stressed.
If a solution was not achieved, Greece should be able to prove that the Turkish side was responsible for the failure, he added.
"In all major issues everything is taken into account and the stance we have shown is a weapon in our hands," the spokesman noted.
Responding to questions about statements by Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Protopapas said that Greece appreciated the positive messages coming out of Turkey but wanted tangible proof of its good intentions on the Cyprus issue and the Euroforce.
 Ankara to await more details on Greek FM's Cyprus proposal
ISTANBUL 06/12/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ankara will await more details about the proposal tabled by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on the commitment of all sides to continue efforts for a solution to the Cyprus issue, even if this is not possible before the European Union's Copenhagen summit.
''The idea for a draft plan was proposed by the Greek foreign minister, but we do not have full information yet,'' Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said before departing for Brussels to attend the Assembly on the future of Europe.
''We called on the Greek side to send us a text and we stressed that we shall reply after being relevantly informed,'' Yakis added.
He reiterated that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's reply to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is ready and ''it will be delivered to the UN from moment to moment.''
Papandreou's proposal was accepted with great reservations by the conservative diplomatic bureaucracy which believes that whatever commitment will facilitate Cyprus' accession to the EU and will weaken Turkey's ''pressure'' to secure a date for the beginning of accession negotiations.
Opposition leader Deniz Baykal, who echoes the ''concerns'' of bureaucracy said ''it is possible for a new framework to be proposed before the Copenhagen summit and a call to be made for it to be either accepted or rejected. There is such a scenario and, according to the acceptance or rejection of this framework, decisions to be taken in Copenhagen will be shaped. Pressures have been intensified and efforts are being made for specific decisions to be taken on the Cyprus issue and for commitments to be made in advance in exchange for Turkey's accession to the EU.''
 Greek EU presidency to have a positive stance toward Turkey
BRUSSELS 06/12/2002 (ANA - A. Simatos)Greece will have a positive stance in light of its EU presidency in relation to the European prospects of Turkey, Ambassador Aristides Agathoklis, head of the Permanent Representation of Greece to the European Union, said here on Thursday.
Speaking at an event organized by the European Policy Center, Agathoklis presented issues included in the Greek EU presidential agenda.
He said that the priorities of the Greek EU presidency can be surmised in the signing of the accession of the candidate member states thus moving ahead with the first wave of the EU's enlargement; the institutional reform of the EU based on the proposals of the conference for the Future of Europe; the social and economic convergence based on the decisions of Lisbon and the development of the EU as an area of freedom, justice and security.
The Greek ambassador also said that the Greek EU presidency will aim at further promoting bilateral relations between third countries, such as the United States, Canada and Russia, as well as with countries of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Caucasus.
 German and French FMs examine Turkey's accession date talks
BERLIN 06/12/2002 (ANA - P. Stangos)Turkey's request for a specific date for the beginning of accession negotiations with the European Union appears capable of being satisfied with two milestones halfway through 2004, as a limit for the European Commission's final proposal on the fulfillment of the Copenhagen criteria, and July 1, 2005 as the actual date for the commencement of the accession talks.
Fears expressed on ''uncontrolled automation'' leading Turkey to the EU, in the event the upcoming summit provides a specific date, have also been taken into consideration.
According to press reports, coincidence was reached on this formula, which is a variation of the ''date for a date'' formula being discussed, by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin during Wednesday night's Franco-German summit at Storko in Brandenburg and which they have undertaken to ''process'' with their colleagues in light of the Copenhagen summit next week.
This information was circulated in Berlin following a ''confidential'' briefing at the foreign ministry. However, it has not been confirmed by any side so far.
 Turkish FM refers to European views on Cyprus
BRUSSELS 06/12/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said here on Thursday European friends say that the Cyprus issue and Turkey's accession to the European Union are not directly linked, but also say that if the Cyprus issue is resolved it will have a positive effect on how Turkish accession is seen.
Yakis said in the event the ''15'' make such a link ''we reverse the question and reply to them if you give us a date for the beginning of accession negotiations it will be easier for us to show flexibility on the Cyprus issue.''
Referring to Cyprus' accession to the EU, Yakis said ''if Cyprus is accepted partitioned without the consent of the Turkish side then it will be a sick baby being born in the hands of the EU," adding that the ''15'' ''will be accepting something which is not healthy in their ranks and which shall create problems in the future.''
 Euro-Parliament President Cox in Athens next week
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)European Parliament President Pat Cox arrives in Athens early next week for talks with Greece’s leadership, expected to focus directly on upcoming EU expansion only days before the landmark Copenhagen Summit witnesses the final list of new EU member-states.
Cox is expected to meet with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, the parliament president and the leaders of the other political parties, including ND leader Costas Karamanlis.
Cox will return to Athens on Dec. 19 to meet with Greek leadership concerning issues involving Athens’ rotating EU presidency, which begins on Jan. 1, 2003.
 PM accepts minister's proposal on Institutions Committee
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis accepted during Thursday's cabinet meeting a proposal by Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis for the convening of the Interministerial Institutions Committee in early January for a discussion on wider issues regarding administrative reform.
He also ordered the Committee's activation at secretary general level, and with the participation of other officials as well, to monitor the implementation of policies for regions.
Skandalidis underlined certain sectors concerning regional development, including that of employment and the materialization of relevant programs.
The projects and development of regional programs have been registered in each prefecture, and in accordance with the jurisdiction of each ministry, since the beginning of the summer and ministries are expected now to determine their priorities for the next year for each regional program in each region and prefecture, based on national policies.
The target of the government, as well as of the ministry, is to have absorption of 3rd community support framework funds for regional projects to have been completed by 2006.
 Greek FM meets with EU's envoy to FYROM
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday met with European Union Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Alexis Brouhns and discussed the latest developments in the Balkan landlocked state.
They also discussed the priorities of the Greek EU presidency and focused on the formulation of conditions in FYROM and the efforts toward stability and reconstruction in the country.
 PASOK deputy tables rider to allow cameras in courts
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)A top ruling PASOK deputy on Thursday filed a “rider” to a tabled bill in a last-minute bid to ensure that upcoming trials of several suspected “November 17” terrorists are open to television cameras or at least videotaped.
In his proposal, former minister Miltiades Papaioannou noted that “... a fair solution, as well as citizens’ visual briefing (of court proceedings)” necessitates a decision by a relevant criminal, civil or administrative court to “allow the full or partial broadcast by television or the videotaping of the trial in cases where this serves public interest … In every instance, beforehand, the litigants should also state their opinion, and in the case of a felony trial, the relevant prosecutor as well...” Papaioannou’s proposal reads.
He stressed that the proposed amendment would shift responsibility for allowing TV cameras into the courtroom to the presiding panel of judges, as long as public interest is affected.
Papaioannou added that if the broadcast of videotaping is allowed, a fixed point in the courtroom should be shown, while other details should be permanently ironed out by the quasi-state-controlled National Radio-Television Council (ERS) before subsequent publication in the Government Gazette.
The proposal comes in opposition to the justice ministry’s recently stated view, expounded in legislation, banning cameras and broadcast coverage of trials.
 Culture minister holds meetings with New York's leadership
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York State Governor George Pataki and Archbishop of America Dimitrios.
During his meeting with Bloomberg, Venizelos discussed the city's candidacy for the 2012 Olympic Games. The meeting included an exchange of experiences on the subject and the Greek minister briefed Bloomberg and the officials responsible for New York's bid on the preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
 Albanian PM Nano, Berisha receive Greek-American author Gage
TIRANA 06/12/2002 (ANA – I. Patso)Noted Greek-American author and journalist Nicholas Gage was received here by Prime Minister Fatos Nano and main opposition leader Sali Berisha this week, meetings that garnered media attention and generated reactions amongst certain political circles.
According to a government press release, the veteran Albanian leader and Gage discussed Greek-Albanian ties as well as Tirana’s policies vis-a-vis the ethnic Greek minority in the country’s south.
The same press release noted that the Albanian premier briefed Gage – best known for his non-fiction, Greek Civil War-era work “Eleni” – on Tirana’s efforts to guarantee minority rights based on international models and Council of Europe (CoE) standards. Media attention also focused on a meeting between former Albanian president Berisha and Gage, a long-time advocate of the Greek minority’s rights, especially in light of the fact that the former declared the Greek-American journalist a ''persona non grata'' in 1994.
In comments to a private television station in the Albanian capital on Wednesday, Gage said “past misunderstandings” with Berisha have been resolved.
Certain local politicians, conversely, claimed that Gage’s past positions were chauvinistic and behind movements to separate the northern Epirus region – where most ethnic Greeks live -- from Albania.
 MRB poll gives main opposition 6.1 per cent lead over PASOK
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)The main opposition New Democracy party leads ruling PASOK by 6.1 percent in an MRB opinion poll released on Thursday evening, while ND leader Costas Karamanlis appears to be slightly ahead of Prime Minister Costas Simitis with a 0.4 percent lead on who would make best premier.
Analytically, 38.5 percent of respondents said they would vote for ND in the next elections, 32.4 percent for PASOK, 5.3 percent for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 3.5 percent for the Coalition of the Left and Progress, 2.2 percent for the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) and 2.3 for the newly formed party LA.O.S. headed by Parliament deputy George Karatzaferis, while 15.8 percent answered don't know/won't say.
In the question on who was most suitable for prime minister, Karamanlis came first with 39.5 percent and Simitis second with 39.1 percent. In an MRB poll last September Karamanlis' lead was 2.9 percent, while in a similar poll in July it was 3.5 percent. The main opposition leader also swept ahead in popularity, garnering 44.2 percent in positive opinions compared to 36.3 percent for Simitis.
ND also leads on the question of which party was most likely to win an election if one was held immediately - regardless of what respondents would themselves vote for - with 59.1 percent predicting an ND victory and 27.8 percent expecting victory for PASOK.
The developments of the Cyprus issue occupied a large portion of the opinion poll, showing 28.1 percent of respondents as optimistic regarding the U.N plan for the resolution of the Cyprus problem, 31.9 percent noted their neutrality toward the plan and 27.5 percent said they were pessimistic.
A 35.1 percent considered the submitting of the plan a positive development, 27.5 percent was neutral to the affair and 22.9 percent considered it a negative development.
Furthermore, 50.4 percent believed that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots could live together, while 39.5 percent believed that such a development could not be possible.
The same poll showed that 24.2 percent believed the resolution of the Cyprus problem is possible before the Copenhagen Summit, while 62.7 percent held the opposite view. The poll respondents also evaluated the government's handling of the issue, approving it by 41.1 percent, while the approval rate for ND was 36.3 percent.
Finally, PASOK's approval ratings in relation to the Olympic Games organizing effort rose to 53.9 percent of respondents, up by 12.8 points.
 Minister briefs Archbishop of America on political situation
NEW YORK 06/12/2002 (ANA)Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos met Archbishop of America Dimitrios on Thursday and briefed him on the political situation in Greece, the Cyprus issue and the way with which the Greek government is handling the UN secretary general's initiative and preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The Archbishop said ''it was a cordial and substantive meeting'', adding that issues of a cultural nature, both for Greece and the United States, were discussed, as well as the Olympic Games and the Cyprus issue.
 EU commissioner inaugurates anti-Semitism events
BRUSSELS 06/12/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)European Union Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou inaugurated a series of events against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia here on Thursday, stressing the need of promoting intercultural dialogue.
The Greek commissioner's initiative stems from the ascertainment of an increase in anti-Semitic and xenophobic attacks after September 11, 2001, and the second ''Intifada'' and constitutes, as it was pointed out, the tangible continuation of her recent visit to Israel and Palestinian territory.
''European society cannot tolerate national or religious discriminations,'' she said, adding that ''physical or verbal attacks emanating from long-term racial or religious hatred constitute an affront for the handling of which all political leaders are responsible.''
Phenomena of anti-Semitism observed in certain EU member-states were analyzed during the first event held on Thursday, while an analysis was also made of the meaning of the term in modern society.
The next event, concerning the issue of Islamophobia, will be held in February, 2003, while intercultural dialogue will be discussed in March.
 Former monarch gives interview on European court's decision
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)Former king Constantine gave an interview in London on Thursday concerning the decision of the European Court of Human Rights on the so-called royal properties.
The former monarch claimed that on no occasion had he sought money, while he described as just the Court's ruling that the properties were his.
He added however that the decision had a ''political connotation'' with regard the compensation, due to the Greek government, which, he said, showed "great intransigence for an understanding to be reached".
The ex-king said he intended to use the money from the compensation to establish a charity foundation which will bear the name of his wife Anna-Maria.
Referring to statements by Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis in Parliament, who accused him of illegally taking antiquities from Greece, Constantine said he has proof from all the archaeological and Byzantine departments on the things he took out of Greece.
Greece was ordered to pay 13.7 million euros on November 28 by the European Court of Human Rights as compensation to the country's former monarch and two of his relatives for property seized under a 1994 law, a judgment substantially lower than what the plaintiffs originally demanded and one that satisfied Athens.
A referendum in December 1974 abolished the monarchy by a 2 to 1 margin, paving the way for the establishment of a Parliamentary republic.
Two years ago, the 62-year-old Constantine claimed that an international firm had assessed the value of the contested properties at 180 billion drachmas ($450 million).
In its initial ruling two years ago the ECHR court of justices ruled by a 15-2 margin that Athens had violated Article I of the first protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the right of property.
Constantine and two relatives at one point demanded 168 billion drachmas (493 million euros) in compensation for the three contested properties, namely, the Tatoi country estate north of Athens; the Mon Repos summer resort on the Ionian island of Corfu and the Polidendri forest estate in the foothills south of Mount Olympus, central Greece.
 Parl't Committee passes Greece-US technical agreement (CTA)
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)Parliament's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday ratified the Comprehensive Technical Agreement (CTA) between the United States and Greece, in spite of objections from four ruling PASOK MPs and the smaller opposition parties.
The agreement had been signed between US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on June 13, 2001.
It consolidates a number of provisions regarding the status of U.S. forces in Greece, currently contained in numerous bilateral agreements supplementary to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed in 1951, and incorporates counterpart SOFA provisions that deal with the status of Greek forces in the United States. The Greek CTA was envisioned as the final piece of three major agreements regulating the defense relationship with Greece. The other two major agreements already in force are the NATO SOFA and the 1990 Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA), which updated US basing arrangements in Greece and established the requirement to negotiate and sign the CTA. The counterpart SOFA provisions, incorporated in Part II of the agreement, deal with the status of Greek forces in the United States.
Deputy FM defends Greek-U.S. CTA agreement: Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Thursday clarified issues pertaining to the Comprehensive Technical Agreement (CTA) between the United States and Greece, which was ratified by Parliament's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee earlier in the day.
''It is a 'comprehensive' text, instead of many strewn ones, a text that is the legal base for all technical cooperation,'' he said, adding that this agreement is comparable with those struck between the U.S. and other European countries, while in many points Greece's agreement is better than that of other countries.
He also said that this agreement was split in two portions, one governing the operations of U.S. forces in Greece and the second governing the Greek forces in the U.S., which are there for training purposes.
''This is an achievement since it is being done for the first time, while similar regulations existed only between Spain and the U.S. in the past,'' the minister stressed.
 Greece in talks with Azerbaijan on natgas purchase
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)The president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, Natik Aliev, is to hold talks in Athens from December 8-11 on the sale to Greece of Azerbaijan gas from the Shah-Deniz deposit on the Caspian shelf, Itar-Tass reported from Baku on Thursday.
The negotiations are important for the planned development of the Shah-Deniz pool on purchase-sale lines, the news agency quoted Aliev as saying on Wednesday.
As much as 6.6 billion cubic meters of gas are to be annually delivered to Turkey during the first stage of the deposit's development.
Azerbaijan needs new markets to carry out the second stage of the development of the Shah-Deniz deposit, Aliev said.
Greece offered to hold talks on purchases of Azerbaijan gas.
Aliev did not rule out also the possibility of Azeri gas being sold to Italy and to some other European countries.
Starting from 2006, Azerbaijan gas will be delivered to Europe via the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum pipeline, which is expected eventually to link up with that of Greece via the Turkish gas system.
President of the British Petroleum-Azerbaijan Company, David Woodword, has said that work to build the Baku-TbilisI-Erzrum line, the estimated cost of which is approximately one billion U.S. dollars, was to begin after the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline early in 2005.
 Unemployment falls to 9.5 pct in third quarter
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)Unemployment fell to 9.5 percent in the third quarter of 2002, down from 9.6 percent in the second quarter of the year, the Greek National Statistics Service said on Thursday.
Employment in the third quarter rose by 1.3 percent against the same period of 2001, the highest rise since 1998, the GNSS said in a statement.
Part-time work remained low, but rose slightly to 4.5 percent in the third quarter of 2002 from 3.9 percent in the same period a year earlier, the statement said.
Of the country's total of 419,300 jobless, 155,500 are only seeking full-time work, while 54 percent of the total would consider either full- or part-time employment, the GNSS added.
 Last-minute air traffic controllers' strike cancels numerous flights
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)A large portion of the public sector around Greece shut down on Thursday due to a 24-hour strike called by the civil servants’ labor grouping (ADEDY), with travelers at the Athens airport also affected after air traffic controllers decided to join the industrial action at the last moment.
The controllers’ decision was taken at 11 p.m. on Tuesday and implemented at midnight, leaving airlines at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport with practically no notice to reschedule flights.
Several domestic and international flights were reportedly cancelled on Wednesday, including a flight to Thessaloniki scheduled to transport Town Planning and Public Works Vasso Papandreou to the northern Greek port city for her tour of several regional road works.
 Greek fisheries violations account for 4.0 pct of EU total
BRUSSELS 06/12/2002 (ANA/B.Demiris)Greece perpetrated 364 violations of fisheries regulations in 2001 out of a total of 8,139 in the European Union, representing 4.0 percent of the total, the EU's executive Commission said in a report on Thursday.
The biggest transgressor in the 15-nation bloc was Spain, responsible for 46 percent of the total, followed by Italy at 20 percent, and Portugal at 14 percent, the report said.
 EU concern over standard of safety control systems for foodstuff in Greece
BRUSSELS 06/12/2002 (ANA - A. Simatos)European Commisioner for Health and Consumer Protection David Byrne on Thursday expressed the Commission's concern over the ''disadvantages'' of the safety control systems for foodstuff in Greece.
Byrne was replying to a question by main opposition New Democracy party Eurodeputy Stavros Xarhakos.
According to an announcement by Xarhakos, Commissioner Byrne confirmed that in two cases of checks conducted by the European Commission's Food and Veterinary Office in 2001 and concerned meat and dairy products in Greece, ''disadvantages'' were ascertained in the safety control systems for foodstuff.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop in glum trade
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)The Athens bourse finished lower on Thursday in gloomy trade despite a drop in European Central Bank rates and a rise in European markets. Smaller capitalization stocks again were the hardest hit.
The general share index shed 0.78 percent to end at 1,844.75 points. Turnover was 85.5 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.64 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.99 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities finished 1.97 percent down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 287 to 25 with 51 issues remaining unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Cosmote, HBC Coca Cola, Intralot, and Football Pools Organization.
Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Thursday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
• Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring March 2012 (345 mln euros)
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 65.6 mln euros Thursday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 65.6 mln euros
 PM due to decide on cost revision for Athens Olympics Tuesday
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to meet on Tuesday with ministers and other key officials involved in preparing the Athens 2004 Olympics in order to decide on a cost revision for the global event, government sources said.
The sources said on Thursday that among officials to take part in the session on additional infrastructure were the ministers of culture and public works, and the president of the games' national organizers, Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki.
Due for debate are the projects involved and whether the government or the organizing committee will foot the bill for any changes, the sources said.
 Deputy minister says Olympic Games projects satisfactory
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)The progress of projects linked to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games is satisfactory and at the moment timetables are being observed, relevant Deputy Minister Nasos Alevras told reporters on Thursday.
Referring to the 18 projects falling under the jurisdiction of the culture ministry, he said that 16 are in a construction phase.
The two culture ministry projects not in a construction phase are that of space around the Athens Olympic stadium and of Olympic Games training facilities for which, however, studies are being completed, Alevras clarified.
 Four overseas women to be honored for their contribution
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)Four Greek women living abroad will be honored by the foreign affairs and interior ministries, the Overseas Hellenism General Secretariat, the Equality General Secretariat and the Overseas Hellenism Council for their contribution to overseas Hellenism and the promotion of Greek culture.
The women are Eleni Bakopanou, a deputy of Canada's federal government, Anastasia Krystallidou, manager of a model school in Johannesburg, Theodosia Antoniadou Tziveli, a business-woman and member of UNESCO's Italian industrialists' Federation of businesswomen of Europe and Maria Vamvakinou, a deputy of Australia.
The four women will be honored in the framework of the conference titled ''The overseas Greek woman'', due to begin in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis said ''we symbolically selected one woman from each continent in the name of all overseas women'' and referred in particular to the role of overseas Greek women regarding the strengthening of their children's Greek spirit.
 International ecological conference in Sofia in June
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)An international conference entitled ''Ecological Protection of the Planet Earth, bio-environment, bio-civilization'' will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria in June, organized by the Polytechnic University of Sofia, the Greek International Foundation of Studies, the Democretion University of Thrace and the International Organization of Bio-politics.
This will be the second conference, as the first of its kind took place in Thrace, Greece.
The conference was announced in Athens at the European Parliament office.
 Event on 'The future of Europe is the future of children' to be held in Athens
Athens, 06/12/2002 (ANA)The prospects created by the institutionalization by Parliament of ''The Ombudsman for the Child'' and the possibilities offered in the relevant bill for the better protection of the rights of children, will be presented at an event in Athens on December 9 on the theme ''The future of Europe is the future of children''.
Taking part in the events will be pupils, students, politicians and university professors.
The event is organized by ruling PASOK Eurodeputy Myrsini Zorba, in cooperation with the Culture Ministry and the Circle of the Greek Children's Book.
Taking part in the discussion will be, among others, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Ombudsman for the Citizen Nikolaos Diamantouros and PASOK Eurodeputies Myrsini Zorba and Dimitris Tsatsos.
 Greek Cypriot side hands letter to
UN NICOSIA 06/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros on Thursday night handed to the UN the reply of the Greek Cypriot side to a letter sent by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last week requesting the points it wished changed in a Cyprus solution plan submitted by the UN chief on November 11.
Kouros presented the letter on Thursday night to a representative of the UN chief's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, at the Presidential Palace.
UNFICYP spokesman Brian Kelly told CNA the UN was studying the replies of both sides. ''We have them and we are studying them,'' he said.
Speaking to the press after the handover of the reply, Kouros expressed the belief that the UN would study the replies and then send to each side the reply of the other side.
Answering a question regarding the content of the Greek Cypriot side's reply, Kouros said he did not want to reveal anything but noted that the document handed to the UN was the one prepared by Attorney General Alecos Markides after discussions held by the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus question). He also said that a letter is attached to the document.
The Undersecretary to the President also said that before handing over the document, he had spoken thrice on the phone with de Soto and asked him to assure him in writing that the UN had received earlier on Thursday in New York the reply of the Turkish Cypriot side, something that the UN diplomat did with a letter he sent to Kouros.
On Thursday morning, the Greek Cypriot side withdrew its reply it had delivered at midnight to the United Nations.
The incident took place after it was revealed that the Turkish side had failed to hand over its reply simultaneously, as had been arranged.
On November 25, Kofi Annan sent a letter to both sides, requesting that they notify him about which points of his solution plan, handed to them on November 11, they would like to see changed.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 Vassiliou announces official closing of acquis chapters
NICOSIA 06/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus' Chief Negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou officially announced here on Thursday the closing of the 31 chapters of harmonization with the acquis communautaire, stressing that ''next Thursday Cyprus will be one of the ten countries that will accede to the EU, irrespective of the progress we will achieve or not achieve in the Cyprus problem.''
Speaking during a press conference, Vassiliou expressed the belief that the bridging of the gap between the standards of living of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and the financial development in Cyprus after the settlement of the Cyprus problem will surprise everyone.
He also said that when Cyprus accedes to the EU, the government ''will begin to receive 80 million euros and will be able to use it however it sees fit.''
''When we will have a solution, millions of dollars will come to Cyprus to tackle the problem of financial underdevelopment in the occupied areas,'' he added.
Answering a question on the event of Cyprus' accession without a solution to the Cyprus problem, Vassiliou said that ''the Republic of Cyprus, as has been formed by the Zurich-London agreements, is joining, but the acquis communautaire will be implemented only in the areas under government control.''
Invited to say whether he has received assurances by EU officials that Cyprus' accession will be clear without any ''asterisks'', Vassiliou said that it is crystal clear that the world knows there has never before been such an intensive effort to solve the Cyprus problem.
''The reason is simple, because it is only this time that they feel that Turkey is obliged to give and take and that is exactly why they are seizing this special opportunity to secure actions on behalf of Turkey that will lead to the settlement of the Cyprus problem,'' he added.
He also stressed that the solution is not a prerequisite for accession and if no progress is achieved by next Thursday it does not mean that Cyprus will not be among the ten countries to be invited to accede.''
Answering another question, Vassiliou said that ''all these years the Greek Cypriot side has proved its desire and readiness for a solution.''
''I don't have any doubt that on Thursday they will invite us with no asterisks or anything else, but if the Copenhagen decision will accommodate a reference on a Cyprus settlement or if there will be any engagements by the Turkish side this is something that I do not know and I cannot predict,'' he added Invited to say what makes him so optimistic, Vassiliou said that he is optimistic first of all due to the 1999 Helsinki summit conclusions and the fact that ''in Brussels we have heard no one telling us that for Cyprus to join the EU we have to solve the Cyprus problem.''
Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU