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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-06-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

June 6, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM: 'Future of Europe' the focus of talks at Thessaloniki Summit
  • [02] FM, gov't spokesman comment on Wednesday's debate in Parliament
  • [03] DM visits first EU military mission in
  • [04] EP resolution urges Turkey to work on solving Cyprus problem
  • [05] Greek EU presidency hails US-Israeli-Palestinian meeting in Aqaba on Wednesday
  • [06] EU takes diplomatic sanctions against Cuba
  • [07] ND deputy Polydoras meets with Australian premier Howard in Canberra
  • [08] Greece and Hungary sign agreement for joint defense tech programs
  • [09] Minister calls for lifting of inequalities in EU continental and insular regions
  • [10] FinMin, CBI chairman discuss UK investments
  • [11] Anomeritis pleased with EU's decision to phase out single-hull tankers
  • [12] EU Transport Council takes historic decision for EU-US aviation agreements
  • [13] Farm minister urges ''natural disaster'' insurance for farming enterprises
  • [14] Labor union leader says labor legislation violated in country
  • [15] Synergies in oil firm merger to total up to 300 mln euros
  • [16] Govít to sell its stake in Hellenic Stock Exchanges this month
  • [17] Gov't urges Greek firms to expand into Mideast
  • [18] European industrialists to hold meeting in Greece on Friday
  • [19] Greek stocks fall on profit taking on Thursday
  • [20] Events to mark World Environment Day in Greece
  • [21] European Commission report says almost all Greek swimming regions
  • [22] N17 trial continues with consideration of physical evidence
  • [23] EU Interior Ministers Council examines status of third country citizens in
  • [24] Young artists from Europe and the Mediterranean to perform in Athens
  • [25] Nineteen percent of Greeks face health problems, survey
  • [26] Rally Acropolis gets underway
  • [27] UN, US and Britain worry over Turkey's new provocations at Strovilia
  • [28] President says UN Security Council resolution must note Turkish provocations

  • [01] FM: 'Future of Europe' the focus of talks at Thessaloniki Summit

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union presidency, reiterated on Thursday that discussions at the upcoming European Summit in Thessaloniki (June 20-21 June) will focus on the future of Europe within the framework of a draft Constitutional Treaty that will be tabled at the Summit by the Constitutional Convention.

    Following a meeting chaired by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Athens to discuss preparations for the Summit, Papandreou expressed hope that the draft Constitution will constitute the basis for further debate and negotiations among the bloc's members, and ''will open a prospect for a strong, consolidated and financially robust democratic Europe, which will really be at the service of its citizens''.

    He also referred to discussions on the European prospect of the western Balkan states, saying he hoped those countries will at some point join the European family, ''provided they comply with the principles of democracy, good neighborly relations and peace''.

    Papandreou said the issues of immigration and illegal migration had also been the focus of discussions, emphasizing that a position paper being prepared by the Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana would be used as the basis for discussions on ''Europe's future course in the international arena''.

    Asked to comment on planned demonstrations in Thessaloniki during the Summit, Papandreou said the Greek government would do all it could to ''allow the protesters not only to protest, but also to convey their views'', adding that views expressed by the various movements and non-governmental groups on key globalization and development issues in third world countries were useful.

    He also said that issues such as fighting poverty, the environment and genetically modified products were of high concern, adding ''we want to hear the voice of society''.

    Mideast peace: Papandreou, who is currently chairing the EU's ministers Council, also welcomed Wednesday's meeting of US President George W. Bush with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, respectively, in Aqaba, Jordan. He said the EU had played a key role in the planning and approval of the ''road map'', a peace initiative the Union has brokered along with the UN, US and Russia.

    ''It appears that something more than a sliver of light is opening up today'', Papandreou said.

    He mentioned that his US counterpart, Secretary of State Colin Powell, had called him on Wednesday to brief him on the details of the Aqaba meeting.

    ''We are on a good road'', the Greek minister said, adding ''We are still at the beginning, and we know that there will be many obstacles ahead''.

    He noted that for the first time there was a sense of volition on both Palestinians and Israelis ''to push forward''.

    ''We, as European Union, must continue to support the process for the implementation of the road map and we are going to do just that'', the minister concluded.

    Greek EU presidency - Thessaloniki Summit Ė Agenda: The future of Europe, the policy on immigration, the EU-Western Balkan relations and developments in Iraq and the Middle East will dominate the discussions among European Union leaders at the upcoming European Council in Thessaloniki from 19 through 21 June.

    The Council will launch its works in the afternoon on 19 June with the participation of the heads of state from the EU's ''25'' and the candidate states, European Commission President Romano Prodi, several Commissioners, European Parliament President Pat Cox, EU Chief Diplomat Javier Solana and naturally the President of the Convention for the future of Europe Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

    A key issue that will dominate discussions at the Council is the EU's immigration policy, while the proposed directives on a common stance among the bloc's partners on the issue will be used at the basis of the debate.

    It is noted that the Greek presidency has grasped all aspects of the immigration problem, and it will seek to put two of its aspects on the discussion table: Legal immigration and illicit migration, and safeguarding the Community's outer borders.

    As a matter of fact, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in a letter he forwarded one year ago to the Spanish presidency at the time, had requested that the immigration policy issue be placed on a European Council level.

    The EU-Western Balkan relations is another key issue that will dominate discussions at the Council.

    ''The crucial issue for us is to bring the Western Balkan states back on an EU accession course'', foreign ministry European affairs general secretary Elias Plaskovitis told the Athens News Agency (ANA).

    Through ''discreet wording'', the Greek presidency wishes to pass the message that the Western Balkans will be supported by the Union and possibly a forum will be established for an EU-Western Balkan political dialogue.

    Finally, it is expected that the Thessaloniki Council conclusions will include a special reference to Iraq and the Middle East.

    The discussions over the Union's security and the Transatlantic Dialogue are attracting great interest, given the fact that Simitis is scheduled to visit Washington on 25 June, where, in his capacity as the European Council president, the Greek premier will deliver a ''message'' from the Union to the US.

    [02] FM, gov't spokesman comment on Wednesday's debate in Parliament

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday described an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament on the economy held the day before as ''useful and necessary'' and said it had given the government an opportunity to highlight positive developments in this area.

    He said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis, the government and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis had ''shown in the best possible way and with well-supported arguments'' that the country's economic course was one that would yield positive results and deal with problems such as unemployment - a major problem for Greece.

    Even though caught in the midst of an international crisis, he added, Greece could hope to make significant steps in these areas.

    Papandreou also strongly criticized main opposition New Democracy and said that Wednesday's debate had highlighted its weaknesses and revealed ''in the most eloquent way the main opposition's attempts to smite the government with arguments that did not hold water.''

    According to press ministry general secretary Dimitra Spiliopoulou, who was filling in for government spokesman Christos Protopapas during the regular press briefing on Thursday, the prime minister had analyzed all the issues that most occupied Greek society and had stressed that the government would continue to work toward a solution to these problems.

    Asked about Simitis' references to the business community, Spiliopoulou just quoted Simitis himself, saying that business people were neither friends or enemies but simply going about their business.

    [03] DM visits first EU military mission in

    FYROM SKOPJE 06/06/2003 (ANA / N. Frangopoulos)

    The operations of the European Unionís military force, CONCORDIA, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as well as the EUís political actions in that country were the primary focus of discussions held here on Thursday by visiting Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, current president of the EU Defense Ministers Council.

    Papantoniou, who was accompanied by EU member-states permanent representatives, inspected the facilities of the CONCORDIA mission, and had a series of meetings with the countryís President Boris Trajkovski, Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, Deputy Prime Minister Musa Xhaferi and Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski.

    Issues discussed during the contacts included an examination of the likelihood to expand the mandate of the Euroforce, in case this is regarded imperative. In this context, Papantoniou underlined that the Euroforce will remain in FYROM for as long as it is required to, clarifying however that this was up to the Skopje government.

    The EU's first peacekeeping mission was deployed in FYROM on March 31, 2003, and comprises some 350 men, with Greece contributing 40 men.

    During Papantoniouís meeting, also examined was the preparation of the Thessaloniki EU Council and the participation in that summit meeting of Western Balkan nations.

    In statements he made here while visiting the missionís facilities and meeting with its commander, Papantoniou said the activation of the Euroforce meant that Greek citizens can now count on Europe as well for their security, while he described its establishment as an historic event which has been one of the primary pursuits of the Greek EU Presidency.

    ďShould the Euroforce be given additional responsibilities, by the EU constitution, to guard also the EUís external borders, this would be a very significant achievement for Greece, as it is the only state among the EU-25 that has to deal with an obvious and major national territorial threat,Ē Papantoniou said, adding that he got a prefect impression of the missionís effectiveness.

    [04] EP resolution urges Turkey to work on solving Cyprus problem

    BRUSSELS (ANA/O.Tsipira-CNA)

    The European Parliament adopted here on Thursday a resolution on Turkey, urging the country to withdraw its troops from northern Cyprus so as to pave the way for the reunification of the island and facilitate the resumption of talks.

    The resolution, based on the report of MEP Arie Oostlander regarding Turkey's application for accession to the EU, calls on the Turkish Cypriot leadership and the Turkish authorities to take courageous steps so that a fair and workable solution to the Cyprus problem can be reached, on the basis of the proposals of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ''which is an essential condition of proceeding with Turkey's application for membership of the EU''.

    The resolution notes that the conditions for opening accession negotiations with Turkey ''are not yet in place''.

    Speaking to the press, the Dutch Rapporteur noted that although Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan considered the Annan plan to be a basis for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem, the talks in The Hague failed due to the intervention of the Turkish military on the Turkish government.

    ''This is unacceptable'' Oostlander said.

    ''The EP deplores the failure of the meeting in The Hague on 10 March 2003 and calls on the Turkish Cypriot leadership and the Turkish authorities to take courageous steps so that a fair and workable solution to the Cyprus problem can yet be reached, on the basis of the proposals of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which is an essential condition of proceeding with Turkey's application for membership of the EU'', the resolution says.

    It also ''urges Turkey to be fully committed to its status of candidate country and to withdraw its troops from northern Cyprus so as to pave the way for the reunification of the island and facilitate the resumption of talks''

    Regarding the Greco-Turkish relations, the resolution notes that in order to ensure the continuing improvement in bilateral relations between Turkey and Greece, ''the EP encourages Turkey to act in that context in the spirit of the Helsinki conclusions and in accordance with the principles of international law which should, in this case likewise, take precedence over national law''.

    The European Parliament's resolution also calls on Turkey to abolish, in due course, the National Security Council which is the main organ of the military and place the military budget under parliamentary control.

    Turkey is also called on to rid itself of the existing constitution of 1982, which bears the seal of the military, and to accompany the state's reform with the preparation of a new constitution based on European political values.

    It must also withdraw representatives of the military from political organizations, such as the Supreme Education council and that of audiovisual means.

    [05] Greek EU presidency hails US-Israeli-Palestinian meeting in Aqaba on Wednesday

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek European Union presidency on Thursday welcomed the meeting between US President George W. Bush and the Palestinian and Israeli leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon, respectively, in Aqaba, Jordan on Wednesday, and called it an important step that opened a substantive peace prospect after ''a long and dramatic period of dead-end conflict and bloodshed''.

    In a declaration issued on Thursday, the presidency said that the EU wholeheartedly supported this initiative, and called on the Israeli and Palestinian sides to take appropriate measures for a timely and full implementation of the ''Road Map'', a peace initiative brokered by the UN, EU, Russia and the US, which the EU presidency said constituted the only hope for the rebirth of the peace process, which should not be wasted.

    The Greek EU presidency also stressed that the international community was ready to fully assist the efforts of the two sides by employing any necessary means, including a reliable and effective mechanism to monitor the peace process.

    ''It is certain that all leaderships in the region are faced with historic decisions and responsibilities regarding the future of their societies'', the declaration said.

    ''The time has come for painful, but necessary, compromises to be made by the leaderships as well as by the societies, which will lead to the creation of a viable and democratic Palestinian state, and to the guaranty of security and peace for the state of Israel'', the declaration concluded.

    [06] EU takes diplomatic sanctions against Cuba

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek EU Presidency, on behalf of the European Union, in a declaration on Thursday termed as deplorable actions taken recently by the Cuban authorities and announced a series of EU diplomatic sanctions against Havana.

    The EU Presidency declaration reads as follows:

    ''Following the recent deplorable actions of the Cuban authorities aiming not only at violating fundamental freedoms in Cuba, but also at depriving civilians of the ultimate human right, that of life, the EU regrets that the Cuban authorities broke the de-facto moratorium on the death penalty and wishes to inform the international community that on 5 June it addressed the following demarche to the Cuban authorities:

    ''The EU, deeply concerned about the continuing flagrant violation of human rights and of fundamental freedoms of members of the Cuban opposition and of independent journalists, being deprived of their freedom for having expressed freely their opinion, calls once again the Cuban authorities to release immediately all political prisoners.

    ''While expecting a favorable response from the Cuban authorities, the EU, mindful of increasing reports about poor detention conditions of prisoners with serious health problems, appeals to the Cuban authorities that, in the meantime, the prisoners do not suffer unduly and are not exposed to inhumane treatment.''

    ''Furthermore and vis-a-vis the current situation in Cuba, the EU has unanimously decided to: - limit the bilateral high-level governmental visits - reduce the profile of member states' participation in cultural events - invite Cuban dissidents at national dayís celebrations - proceed to the re-evaluation of the EU common position.

    The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria and Romania and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.

    [07] ND deputy Polydoras meets with Australian premier Howard in Canberra

    CANBERRA 06/06/2003 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    Visiting Greek main opposition New Democracy (ND) MP Byron Polydoras met Wednesday (early Thursday, Athens time) with Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Canberra, for talks that included bilateral relations and the Greek community in Australia.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Polydoras said he was optimistic that an inter-state pension agreement would soon be reached between Greece and Australia.

    "Such an outstanding matter with Australia is inadmissible. Our good friends, the Australians, must acknowledge the right of the Australian citizens of Greek descent to enjoy the product of their long contribution, their pension, in Greece or any other country they choose to live in," Polydoras said, adding his belief that "soon there will be an agreement and this long outstanding matter will end".

    Polydoras also expressed belief that new Democracy would emerge as the new government from the next general elections in Greece, noting that ND had the programs and policies to government the country and adding that the "omissions" of the ruling PASOK government "give us a roadmap for development".

    Referring to the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Polydoras said that, as an institution, the SAE had been a good idea, but it was in application that it had not succeeded. "We scatter money, organize trips, but without any substantive results".

    On the 2004 Olympic Games to be held in Athens, Polydoras said that "Greece will organize the best and safest Olympiad", and took to task members of the Australia's national Olympics committee for innuendos made concerning the security of the Athens games, calling on all overseas Greeks to back Greece in this endeavor and help it "win the big wager".

    [08] Greece and Hungary sign agreement for joint defense tech programs

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greece and Hungary on Thursday signed a memorandum for mutual understanding and cooperation in armaments and defense technology.

    The agreement was signed in Athens by Greek Deputy Defense Minister Loukas Apostolidis and his Hungarian counterpart Imre Ivancsik.

    The memorandum provides for joint planning of programs for the development and production of arms systems that will cover the needs of the armed forces in both countries, to be chosen by a mixed technical committee.

    Ivancsik reiterated Hungary's support for the initiatives of the Greek European Union presidency to provide Community funds for the development of research for defense purposes and for creating a European Armaments Organization. He also expressed support for the bids of Bulgaria and Romania to join NATO.

    [09] Minister calls for lifting of inequalities in EU continental and insular regions

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis called on Thursday for the lifting of inequalities between continental and insular regions in the European Union.

    Skandalidis, addressing the Regions Committee's directorate on the island of Rhodes, said insular regions must be considered top priority ones and should enjoy relevant funding from all programs. He also called for the Committee's decision to be forwarded to the Thessaloniki EU summit to enable a final decision to be taken.

    The minister further said the axes of development policy must be the reformation of underprivileged regions, the lifting of inequalities within regions, the handling of environmental and ecological resources, the promotion of historical and cultural identity, organizing new forms of employment and the handling of immigration flows.

    Skandalidis said Europe, after the war in Iraq and its enlargement with so many new countries having a different culture and different growth rates, covers multiformity and variegation which is already strong.

    [10] FinMin, CBI chairman discuss UK investments

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Thursday met visiting chairman of the Confederation of British Industry, John Egan, to discuss economic developments in Europe and Greece and the UK's prospects to participate in a European Monetary Union.

    Mr Egan underlined the very good course of the Greek economy and the positive impressions of British businessmen with investments in Greece.

    "We discussed with Mr Egan a new situation in the Greece and European economies after the introduction of the euro currency. I underlined that Greece has formulated and constantly improving its regulatory framework to attract foreign investments in the country. We are already seeing the first positive results of these changes and urged British companies to invest in Greece ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games," Mr Christodoulakis said.

    UK ambassador to Greece, David Madden, also participated in the meeting.

    [11] Anomeritis pleased with EU's decision to phase out single-hull tankers

    BRUSSELS 06/06/2003 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis has expressed his full satisfaction over the European Union's decision to speed up the phasing-out of single-hull tankers and replace them with double-hull tankers.

    Speaking at the close of the EU Council of Shipping Ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday, Anomeritis said that ''with the decisions we took, and not with our intentions, we contributed to the protection of the marine environment,'' adding that ''the marine environment is one of the basic elements of the new term of the EU's strategy for quality shipping.''

    Anomeritis went on to say that ''without respect to the world environment shipping cannot exist as an economic activity.''

    Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Transport and Energy, Loyola de Palacio, congratulated the Greek EU Presidency for its achievements in the sector of maritime transportation, stressing that the grade is from ''very good to excellent.''

    Referring to the measures approved on Wednesday by the European Parliament, de Palacio noted that the renewal of the European fleet is being achieved thanks to the decisiveness shown by the Greek EU Presidency.

    Shipping minister slams ND's position on monohull tankers: Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis on Thursday slammed main opposition New Democracy for the positions it expressed on the removal of monohull tankers in Parliament, accusing ND of making ''fragmentary proposals'' that simply proved the 'poverty' of its political thought.

    He challenged the party to explain why it continued to support the ''most backward interests in the shipping sector'' when a common position had been reached by the Greek EU presidency, the European Commission, the EU ministers' Council and the European Parliament on the need to switch to double-hull tankers.

    Anomeritis also claimed that ND had no clear line on shipping policy, with its members voting one way in the Greek Parliament and another in the European Parliament, while promising one thing to ship owners and another at the European Popular Party (EPP).

    [12] EU Transport Council takes historic decision for EU-US aviation agreements

    LUXEMBOURG 06/06/2003 (ANA / M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Unionís Transport Council agreed here on Thursday on a package of measures passing responsibility for conducting key air transport negotiations to the European Commission.

    In particular, the Council, the last one under the Greek EU Presidency, granted the European Commission a mandate to begin negotiations on a new transatlantic air agreement, which Greek Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis, who chaired the meeting, described as an historic one.

    He said that following an eight-year-long debate, the EU will now have a single voice in negotiations with the US on air transports.

    The meeting also agreed that the Commission should open negotiations with other foreign states on airline ownership restrictions and that member states should be permitted to continue bilateral negotiation subject to a degree of Community control.

    Commenting on the decision, EU Transport and Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio said ''This is an historic decision. Today we have reached a deal that will enable the European Union to assert itself at international level and to work for the benefit of its consumers and its aviation industry ... We aim to launch negotiations with the US within a month on an agreement that will bring together the two largest aviation markets in the World''.

    Bilateral aviation agreements with the US have so far been signed by Britain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria.

    On the basis of the decisions taken by the Council, the European Commission will present new mandates for negotiation with other countries in view of the liberalization of air transport.

    [13] Farm minister urges ''natural disaster'' insurance for farming enterprises

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister George Drys, speaking at a Pan-European Conference on ''Natural Dangers and Insurances in the Agricultural Sector'' held in Thessaloniki on Wednesday, proposed the inclusion of agricultural insurances in the field of action of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy, a Greek agriculture ministry press release said on Thursday.

    ''We seek a viable insurance system that will provide the required protection to farming enterprises against multiple natural dangers that threaten them, especially to small family units that are most frequently found in the 'Europe of 25'', Drys said.

    The Greek minister, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency, said that one of the Greek presidency's priorities was to push forward for insurance to agricultural enterprises against natural dangers, the release said.

    [14] Labor union leader says labor legislation violated in country

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos said on Thursday the violation of labor legislation is characterizing the labor market in Greece and criticized the tactics of some employers.

    Polyzogopoulos, who was addressing a conference of the Bank Employees Federation (OTOE) and GSEE on labor legislation and collective labor agreements in the country, spoke of tactics aimed at abolishing dismissal compensation, the introduction of hourly wage social security and an overall trend towards policies of reducing labor cost.

    Labor and Social Security Minister Dimitris Reppas, addressing the same conference, stressed support for the maintenance of labor rights in the country, adding that the government's policy opposes every prospect of labor degradation.

    The minister further said whatever necessary adjustments to new economic or social conditions will take place through a social dialogue and noted that the existence of strong unions can prove to be favorable for a strong society and economy.

    [15] Synergies in oil firm merger to total up to 300 mln euros

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Synergies from a planned merger of Hellenic Petroleum SA and Petrola Hellas SA are expected to total 270-300 million euros over the next five years, senior executives said on Thursday.

    The merger in which state owned Hellenic will absorb private sector Petrola is due for completion in about six months, officials of the two firms told a news conference.

    Other benefits of the move would be a rise in production capacity, a stronger presence abroad, and a drop in imports, they said.

    Hellenic Petroleum's 1.8 billion euro investment plan is to continue as planned, while Petrola's will be put to the board of the new company to emerge.

    In addition, no redundancies at the oil firms will be ordered, the executives added.

    Both companies are quoted on the Athens Stock Exchange. Hellenic Petroleum is a heavily traded stock.

    [16] Govít to sell its stake in Hellenic Stock Exchanges this month

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Thursday announced a decision to sell a 33 percent equity stake in Hellenic Stock Exchanges, the operator of Athens Stock Exchange, Athens Derivatives Exchange and the Athens secondary bond market, to a consortium of seven Greek commercial banks during the current month.

    The decision was announced after a meeting between Economy ministry's secretary-general George Zanias and representatives from the seven banks.

    [17] Gov't urges Greek firms to expand into Mideast

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    The government would like to see more investment and trade by Greek firms in the Middle East.

    ''We should be aware of the fact that the Middle East is a large market, with new opportunities and the potential for ongoing growth,'' Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said on Thursday.

    ''What is required is a coordination of efforts in Greece, the promotion of Greek products, and monitoring plans in order to keep improving them,'' Loverdos told an industry seminar on business opportunities in the nearby region.

    Following successful operations in the Balkans and central and Eastern Europe, Greek firms could afford to turn their sights on the Middle East, he said.

    Bilateral trade with countries in the region had shown a surplus in recent years, except with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq due to oil imports.

    Greek investment in the Middle East totalled around 18 million US dollars against 3.4 billion US dollars in the Balkans, Loverdos added.

    [18] European industrialists to hold meeting in Greece on Friday

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    The positions of the European business community on the more effective strengthening of European companies' competitiveness, also in light of the European Union's summit in Thessaloniki, will be tabled during the regular six-month meeting of Union of Industrialists and Employers Associations of Europe presidents, due to take place at Lagonisi, outside Athens, on Friday.

    The Union's European industrialists were received by President Kostis Stephanopoulos at the Presidential Mansion, while an official dinner was given in their honor at the Zappeion Mansion in the evening. The event was addressed by Federation of Greek Industries President Odysseas Kyriakopoulos and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni.

    Its official positions on the competitiveness of European industry, as they will emerge from Friday's meeting, will be announced on June 16 and delivered to the EU summit in Thessaloniki on June 21.

    [19] Greek stocks fall on profit taking on Thursday

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended Thursday's session slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange as many investors preferred to take early profits after Wednesday's sharp advance.

    Dealers said that a decision by the European Central Bank to cut interest rates by 50 basis points in the eurozone did not have a positive impact on European markets because ECB acknowledged the risk of a further economic slowdown.

    The general index fell 0.41 percent to end at 1,832.08 points, with turnover a heavy 175.7 million euros.

    The Cement, Textile and Wholesale sectors suffered the biggest percentage losses of the day (2.29 percent, 2.0 percent and 1.73 percent, respectively), while the Insurance, IT and Publication sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (6.88 percent, 2.16 percent and 0.65 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.63 percent the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was unchanged, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.01 percent and the FTSE/ASE 140 index ended 0.46 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 223 to 93 with another 46 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 123.7 mln euros Thursday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.63 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: unchanged

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (650)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 123.7 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Thursday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 3.78 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 13 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 3.1 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 3-year, expiring June 2006 (532 mln euros)

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of June 5 2003

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,186 1,159

    [20] Events to mark World Environment Day in Greece

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Hundreds of events took place throughout Greece on Thursday to mark World Environment Day, organized by various bodies and organizations.

    Among the highlights was an event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Syntagma Square with the participation of well-known Greek actors and musicians under the slogan ''Don't be a spectator, your voice has power''.

    The organization also announced plans for a campaign in collaboration with a mobile telephony company, which will donate a large part of SMS messages sent in the context of the campaign to the WWF.

    At Omonoia Square, meanwhile, there was an event organized by the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party's youth group, attended by Coalition leader Nikos Constantopoulos.

    In the southwestern Athens municipality of Rendi, the mayor celebrated Environment Day by inaugurating a program against pesticides, in which he released quantities of ladybirds imported from Holland into woods and squares in the district to combat greenfly.

    Minister says World Environment Day special for environment handling in country: Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou, addressing an event in which participated agencies responsible for protected regions on Thursday, said World Environment Day is a special day for environment handling in the country.

    Papandreou said the country has achieved high economic growth rates, adding that for this upward trend to continue economic growth must be combined with social cohesion and environmental protection.

    She said the handling of natural protected regions is a priority for her ministry's environmental policy and that such regions cover about 20 percent of the country's area, while some of them have been selected as being the most important from an ecological and national point of view.

    It was assessed that interventions made for them should be integrated and systematic to enable them to promote their potential.

    Papandreou said every region can exploit its particularities in the framework of sustainable development and, giving an example, said the 700,000 visitors a year on the island of Zakynthos are potential ''customers'' of the sea park.

    Protected regions in Greece are about 300 and Papandreou said policy and interventions cannot be limited only to the 30 regions covered by the agencies.

    GSEE calls for more 'green' policies in Environment Day message: The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union organization, on Thursday called for the immediate implementation of policies to protect and restore the natural environment in a message for World Environment Day.

    In an announcement made by the Ecology and Environment Secretariat, GSEE called for policies of environmental education, protection of remaining forests, better management of energy and water and urban areas and restoration of environmentally degraded areas.

    The announcement also stressed the major ecological problems faced by the entire planet, such as the greenhouse phenomenon, waste of natural resources and disruption of climate.

    [21] European Commission report says almost all Greek swimming regions

    OK BRUSSELS 06/06/2003 (ANA - G. Zitouniati)

    Almost all swimming regions in Greece meet specifications set by the European Union, a fact which the European Commission's annual report on the quality of swimming waters, publicized here on Thursday, registers as ''very notable.''

    The report says that, according to readings made during the swimming period in 2002 (the swimming period lasts for 4.5-5 months in accordance with geographical position and climatic conditions, while readings are completed in October of each year and are publicized in the following spring), 99 percent of swimming regions in Greece ''not only meet compulsory readings set by the relevant directive, but the strictest suggested readings as well.''

    Internal waters in Greece (such as lakes) appear to have an even better image in the report since they meet compulsory readings by 100 percent, as well as the EU's strictest suggested readings.

    [22] N17 trial continues with consideration of physical evidence

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    The trial of 19 suspected members of the terrorist organization ''November 17'' - including the group's alleged leader Alexandros Giotopoulos - continued in Athens on Thursday with the consideration of physical evidence turned up by the police investigation.

    A graphologist brought in to give expert testimony on the hand-written notes and corrections to a proclamation for the murder of ship owner Kostis Peratikos, which were found by police in the N17 safehouse on Patmos Street, said they were definitely written by Giotopoulos and ruled out the possibility that they might have been forged.

    He said the notes in the Patmos safehouse and those found in Parnitha were written by the same person and that later tests had proved that this person was Giotopoulos.

    Addressing the court, Giotopoulos listed past cases in which hand-writing analysis had proved unreliable and claimed that most of the documents were fabricated by secret services using machinery capable of mimicking hand-writing, based on the sample found in Parnitha.

    He did not rule out the possibility that some of the documents found in Parnitha, such as a description of junta supporters, might have been written by him in 1973.

    The court next heard testimony from expert witness Nikitas Menexis, the head of the police laboratory for the investigation of forgeries, who said that printing plates used to make a fake police identity card and driving license found on Giotopoulos had been found at the Patmos Street safehouse.

    The defense for alleged N17 founding member Nikos Papanastasiou, meanwhile, submitted documents to the court from German authorities that showed his client had been resident in Germany from 1974 to 1976 - the years during which he allegedly helped found the terror band.

    [23] EU Interior Ministers Council examines status of third country citizens in

    EU LUXEMBOURG 06/06/2003 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis chaired a meeting of the European Union's Council of Internal Affairs Ministers here on Thursday, which reached an agreement on the status governing the citizens of third countries living for a long time in EU member-states.

    According to EU sources, the Council agreed on a minimum harmonization of settlements for longtime residents by which a citizen of a third country living in an EU member-state for at least five years will have the right to settle in whatever member-state he desires and where he will have the same treatment as EU citizens regarding the finding of employment, social security and education.

    Existing EU legislation allows him to stay for three months at the most.

    [24] Young artists from Europe and the Mediterranean to perform in Athens

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    The 11th Biennale of Young Creators from Europe and the Mediterranean will be held in Athens from June 6-15.

    Taking part in the events, which will be held at the Antonis Tritsis Environment Education Park at Ilion, will be 720 young artists from 24 countries.

    Of the total, 214 are Greeks while it is noteworthy to point out that 18 Rom artists will also be present.

    Events will include concerts, dances, theatre, exhibitions, cyber art and film projections from many countries of Europe and the Mediterranean.

    [25] Nineteen percent of Greeks face health problems, survey

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    Nineteen percent of the Greek population faces a health problem or some kind of disability, while more than half of these people are more than 65 years old, a survey by the National Statistics Service said on Thursday.

    A quarterly report on the country's workforce with people facing health or disability problems, showed that unemployment rate for this category of people was lower compared with the rate of the general population (8.9 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively), while 84 percent of them were economically idle, compared with a 58 percent rate of the general population in Greece.

    The majority of people with health problems were suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure and bad blood circulation. Half of these people were facing some kind of labor problem, while 40 percent believed they were socially blocked.

    [26] Rally Acropolis gets underway

    Athens, 06/06/2003 (ANA)

    The 50th Rally Acropolis got underway at the foot of the Acropolis at 19:30 on Thursday.

    The start of the race was preceded with music by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Athens Municipality and a display of vintage cars.

    Passing the starting ramp were a total of 82 crews which will start the purely competitive part of the race on Friday. The first car will start from the Service Park area in Lamia at 07:30, while the first special route (Pavliani I) starts at 08:08.

    [27] UN, US and Britain worry over Turkey's new provocations at Strovilia

    NICOSIA 06/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Iacovou said here on Thursday that further measures should be taken to restore the status quo ante at the south-eastern village of Strovilia, where Turkey continues its provocations.

    For this reason, Iacovou had separate meetings with US Ambassador Michael Klosson, British High Commissioner Lyn Parker and Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Chief of Mission, Zbigniew Wlosowicz.

    In his remarks to the press, Iacovou said that all three diplomats accept the government's views regarding the status quo of Strovilia, situated at the cease-fire line and that ''they have made strong representations to the Turkish Cypriot leadership as well as to Turkey."

    In his daily briefing, government spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said that the government is making efforts so that a UN Security Council resolution on the renewal of UNFICYP mandate, expected later this month, will include a "demand and a clear statement for restoration of the status quo ante in Strovilia."

    Speaking to reporters, Parker and Wlosowicz, expressed their disappointment over the continued Turkish provocations at Strovilia.

    The Cypriot FM said that he will discuss the matter during his visit to the US next week and added that the government has ordered its Permanent Mission at the UN to brief the Security Council permanent member states and all other members on the positions of Cyprus.

    He stressed that Britain and the US, share the Cypriot government's views and being permanent members of the Security Council, should take initiatives so that the UN resolution is based on the reality of the issue.

    British High Commissioner Parker said that his country agrees with the positions of the Cypriot government and the UN.

    ''We agree that the actions which Turkish Cypriot authorities have taken since 2000 represent a change in the status quo as it has been for many years since 1974," Parker said.

    He added that Britain has ''persistently supported the protests which the Cypriot government made about Turkish actions'' and expressed his country's disappointment about the developments.

    ''We will continue to make our unhappiness known to the Turkish authorities," the British High Commissioner stressed.

    In his remarks Wlosowicz said that the UN is worried about the latest developments in Strovilia and expressed the view that there will be a relevant UN Security Council resolution on the matter.

    "We have made a number of representations to the Turkish Cypriot leadership, we keep doing this and we are hopping that it will be reconsidered and that at some point the status quo will be restored at the village," he said.

    ''The developments there worry us and we are not happy with what is going on. We have made it clear in all our contacts with the Turkish Cypriot leadership," the UN diplomat added.

    Wlosowicz expressed hope that the issue of Strovilia will not ruin the ''good things that happen on the island."

    Turkey is violating the status quo ante in the Strovilia area, which is in the ceasefire line. Greek Cypriot residents in the area are facing problems with electricity and water supply and telephone connections.

    [28] President says UN Security Council resolution must note Turkish provocations

    LARNACA 06/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government is making efforts so that a UN Security Council resolution on the renewal of UNFICYP mandate, to be issued this month, will include a reference to Turkish provocations in the southeastern village of Strovilia, President Tassos Papadopoulos said here on Wednesday.

    Papadopoulos said the reference made on the matter in the UN Secretary General's report on the renewal of UNFICYP's mandate did not satisfy the government since Turkish violations of the status quo ante in Strovilia do not only continue but are becoming more provocative.

    Kofi Annan said in his report issued Monday it was '''regrettable that no progress has been achieved in restoring the status quo ante in the village of Strovilia.''

    Invited to comment on the rejection by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of an EU package of economic measures for the Turkish Cypriots, Papadopoulos said that he has heard of no ''formal rejection'' but noted that Denktash's stance reject his own claims that there is an ''embargo'' on the Turkish Cypriot side.

    ''We have no embargo on the Turkish Cypriot side, we are talking about rulings of the European Court (in Luxembourg) and EU rules that demand legality,'' Papadopoulos stressed.

    Referring to the recent Turkish provocations in Strovilia, he noted that for the past six weeks the government ''is making all necessary representations to the UN and to the countries that are directly involved in UNFICYP'' and is exerting pressure in all directions.

    ''It is not an easy thing to accept this extension of occupation that the Turks are trying to impose,'' Papadopoulos added.

    He noted that ''efforts are being made with regard to the UN Security Council resolution'' so that ''there will be a reference on this issue, because what is included in the Secretary General's report does not satisfy us.''

    Papadopoulos said that the report ''just notes that the violation in Strovilia is going on'' while our side believes ''that it is should say that the provocation of the Turkish troops is continuing and is culminated.''


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