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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-06-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

June 12, 2003


  • [01] Simitis, Prodi discuss Thessaloniki EU Council agenda
  • [02] Greek FM Papandreou on draft EU Constitution
  • [03] Rice says US-EU Summit could launch a reinforced transatlantic cooperation
  • [04] Greek EU presidency presents its positions on Kosovo to Security Council
  • [05] Romania to request a 2004 date for EU accession negotiations completion
  • [06] Greek EU presidency tables compromise proposal on Common Agricultural Policy
  • [07] Labor minister presents account of Greek presidency in employment sector
  • [08] Justice minister gives account for Greek EU presidency on justice issues
  • [09] Gov't spokesman: 'We won't follow Turkey in creating artificial tension'
  • [10] US sees Turkish violations of Greek nat'l airspace as 'bilateral matter'
  • [11] Gov't seeking dual nationality for Albania's ethnic Greeks before elections
  • [12] MRB poll gives main opposition party 8.3 percent lead over PASOK
  • [13] Greek nuclear expert Dimitris Perricos named acting head of
  • [14] FM Papandreou to meet with US ambassador Miller on Thursday
  • [15] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos to visit Ankara on Thursday
  • [16] EU Presidency condemns deadly rocket attack in Gaza
  • [17] Israel's envoy to Athens sees 'new positive factors' in Palestinian problem
  • [18] New organization of culture ministry published in gov't gazette
  • [19] Communist Party of Greece leader visits Patra, says unemployment being concealed
  • [20] IMF forecasts slower growth, higher inflation in Greece
  • [21] Bank of Greece governor calls for rationalization of state finances
  • [22] Greek IT sector could grow 60 pct, report says
  • [23] Greek-Turkish Energy Forum cancelled
  • [24] Greek stocks jump 1.78 pct higher on Wednesday
  • [25] Former ministers, army chiefs turn out in defense of Naxakis over Ocalan affair
  • [26] Defense witnesses begin testifying in N17 trial
  • [27] Attica residents protest over plans for new dumps in their areas
  • [28] Greece beats Ukraine 1-0 in EURO 2004 qualifier
  • [29] FM Iacovou meets Powell in Washington
  • [30] Security Council adopts resolution on UNFICYP
  • [31] Verheugen arrives in Cyprus on June 16

  • [01] Simitis, Prodi discuss Thessaloniki EU Council agenda

    BRUSSELS 12/06/2003 (ANA/V. Demiris)

    Issues pertaining to the preparation of the European Union Thessaloniki Council, to be held at the end of the month in the resort area of Halkidiki, have been central to a meeting here on Wednesday between Greek Prime Minister and EU Council president-in-office Costas Simitis and European Commission President Romano Prodi.

    In statements after their meeting, Simitis and Prodi said that the Council will primarily deal with the results of the Convention on the Future of Europe and the draft EU Constitution, the Union’s immigration and asylum policy, Transatlantic relations, the European security policy and EU relations with the Western Balkans.

    In addition, Simitis said the Council should decide on the opening of the intergovernmental conference in October, which should have been concluded by the 2004 Euroelections.

    Referring to the draft EU Constitution to be tabled at the Thessaloniki Council by the Convention, the Greek premier said there is already consensus among EU member-states over the draft Constitution, adding that the agreement that would be reached by the majority of member-states should form the basis for the eventual outcome.

    Speaking on the same issue, Prodi noted that the draft EU Constitution should be the starting point for the intergovernmental conference, to follow the EU Council, while he proposed that the Thessaloniki Council should send out a strong message for the EU’s economic recovery.

    With regard to the Balkans, Simitis stressed that the EU wants to convey a positive message to those nations, as a primary target is that their future entry into the EU should take into account that there is a need to change the current conditions prevailing in the region.

    Simitis, Prodi on Turkey: Responding to reporters' questions on Turkey’s accession path, Simitis said that the EU Copenhagen Council had decided to re-examine its relations with Turkey and that country’s EU candidacy status at the end of 2004.

    Simitis made clear that Turkey should make the necessary efforts to meet the Copenhagen political criteria and harmonize its legislation with the acquis communautaire.

    Commenting on the same issue, Commission President Prodi said that the Union’s recommendation to Ankara was to speed up efforts in a systematic and comprehensive way to meet the Copenhagen criteria.

    [02] Greek FM Papandreou on draft EU Constitution

    BRUSSELS 12/06/2003 (ANA/G. Zitouniati)

    A comprehensive draft of the European Union Constitution is to be presented by the Convention on the Future of Europe to the EU Thessaloniki Council, later this month, according to Foreign Minister and president-in-office of the General Affairs Council George Papandreou.

    However, crucial issues relating primarily to institutional affairs are to be referred to the Intergovernmental Conference, opening in October 2003.

    Papandreou, who participates in the Convention’s Presidium, said on Wednesday that Greece promoted its objectives on both national and European level, aiming at safeguarding equality among all EU member-states, a democratic and efficient functioning of institutions, the enhancement of Europe’s voice and the evolution of a dynamic towards a federal direction.

    “The EU now forms a legal character, with the incorporation of the fundamental rights into the European Constitution, the institutionalization of enhanced cooperation opening the way for the development of a European defense, as well as the ‘permanent’ Foreign Minister to facilitate better coordination”, Papandreou said.

    The pending ‘thorny’ issues to be referred to the intergovernmental conference include the institution of a European Council President of a fixed term of two and a half years and the composition of the European Commission.

    The draft EU Constitution would be presented to the EU Thessaloniki Council by Convention President Valery Giscard d' Estaing.

    [03] Rice says US-EU Summit could launch a reinforced transatlantic cooperation

    WASHINGTON DC 12/06/2003 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday told envoys to Washington from the 25 European Union countries that the upcoming US-EU Summit to be held in the US capital on 25 June could and should signal the beginning of a reinforced transatlantic cooperation.

    Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Greek Ambassador to Washington George Savvaidis, Rice said there had been some differences between the US and some European countries on certain issues, but stressed that common values and objectives shared by both sides made the reinforcement of cooperation between them not only possible but also mutually desired and profitable, diplomatic sources here said.

    The luncheon, held within the activities carried out by the Greek EU presidency in the US capital, offered the opportunity for an exchange of views between the European ambassadors and Rice on a variety of international issues, with US-EU relations dominating discussions in light of the upcoming US-EU Summit, where the Union will be represented by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, currently presiding over the European Council, and European Commission President Romano Prodi.

    Peace prospects in the Middle East, including Iraq, as well as issues associated with Russia, China and Turkey, the possibility for US-EU cooperation on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the fight against international terrorism were also discussed at the meeting.

    [04] Greek EU presidency presents its positions on Kosovo to Security Council

    NEW YORK 12/06/2003 (ANA - P. Panikos)

    Greece's permanent ambassador to the UN Adamantios Vassilakis, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union presidency, told a Security Council meeting focusing on the situation in Kosovo on Tuesday that it was important for local self-government institutions be developed in the region, and stressed the need to boost democratic governance in the area.

    Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Vassilakis said that ''the development of comparable institutions that would be characterized by effectiveness and transparency is an EU objective'', adding that the Union sought to promote the European prospects of the region, and to advance regional cooperation and dialogue (between Belgrade and Pristina).

    Both issues are included in the agenda of the upcoming European Council to be held from 19 to 21 June in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    Discussions at Tuesday's UNSC meeting showed that the situation in Kosovo was unsettling, while the UN Secretary General's assistant for peace operations Hedi Anabi said that a lot of work was still needed, mainly regarding the development of local self-government institutions capable of ensuring normality and stability in Kosovo.

    [05] Romania to request a 2004 date for EU accession negotiations completion

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Romania and Bulgaria will jointly request of the European Union, during the Thessaloniki summit, to conclude all negotiations for the accession titles by the end of 2004, Romanian Ambassador Caius Traian Dragomir said during a press conference in Athens on Wednesday.

    He stressed that Romania strongly wishes to enter the European Union by 2007, as was set during EU summits in the past, adding that no official timetable existed in writing about the conclusion of the negotiations and for that reason his government will ask for just that, along with Bulgaria.

    Romania and Bulgaria were given a 2007 accession date by the European Union, on condition that they meet the acquis communautaire criteria.

    Dragomir, underlined, however, that his country did not wish to enter the European Union unconditionally and would not be requesting such a declaration from the EU in Thessaloniki.

    ''We want to accede after fulfilling the criteria. Romania must accomplish that,'' Dragomir stressed, adding ''I am absolutely categorical when I say that our accession to the European Union is part of our national identity integration''.

    Speaking about the assets Romania will be bringing into the Union, the ambassador noted that the country's highly skilled workforce combined with the current low wages and the raw materials will be quite useful to the Union, adding that any enlargement raises the potential of the internal market's growth.

    Responding to a question on Romania's priorities concerning its accession to the EU vis-a-vis NATO, the ambassador underlined that both are of equal importance as they are significant for the country's identity as a European nation with strong Euro-Atlantic ties.

    He admitted that although his country was ahead of neighboring Bulgaria in meeting the EU title criteria for accession, it lagged behind and is now forging ahead to meet them, adding that in contrast to Bulgaria, Romania did not begin negotiations on all accession titles simultaneously.

    ''Greece has supported us during its presidency and we consider the Greek presidency a successful one,'' Dragomir said, adding the accession of the Balkans to the Union would be a success for the EU itself and that ''Greece is the nucleus of this process''.

    [06] Greek EU presidency tables compromise proposal on Common Agricultural Policy

    LUXEMBOURG 12/06/2003 (ANA - M. Kourmousis)

    The Greek European Union presidency's first compromise proposal has created great hope that a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be achieved in coming days.

    The proposal anticipates a more flexible application of penal-ties, strengthened measures for the environment, guaranteed milk quotas for 2007-2008 as well and a commitment by both the Council and the Commission that the present status concerning olive oil, tobacco and cotton will not change until 2013.

    A few hours before the Council of Ministers convened here on Wednesday, unexpected alliances appeared. It was revealed that a joint proposal was made by France and Germany for CAP to remain as it is until 2006 and the new CAP to take effect as of January 1, 2007.

    Pressure was also exerted by the Netherlands, Britain, Sweden and Finland for the new CAP to be ratified. Spain, Italy and Greece are somewhere in the middle and are displaying favorable neutrality for the Commission's proposals.

    Council President and Greek Agriculture Minister George Drys is giving member-states the possibility of continuing their consultations with one commitment. To have an agreement reached before the Halkidiki summit.

    According to reports, France might agree to this process and a decision could be reached early next week.

    [07] Labor minister presents account of Greek presidency in employment sector

    BRUSSELS 12/06/2003 (ANA/V. Demiris)

    Labor Minister and council of labor ministers president Dimitris Reppas presented an account of the European Union's Greek presidency in the employment and social policy sectors before the European Parliament's relevant committee on Wednesday.

    Reppas said the main aim of the Greek presidency was to promote the relation between the strategic targets of growth, employment and social cohesion, while maintaining the flexibility and security of employment.

    He added that according to guidelines decided on employment, the need has been stressed for full employment, quality of labor and regional and social cohesion.

    On the question of coordinating efforts for social policy reform, Reppas said the Greek presidency pursued support for national strategies for secure and viable pensions, as well as strategies for healthcare for the elderly.

    Reppas further said the Greek presidency promoted social dialogue at European level and the incorporation of the dimension of equality of the genders in all EU policies. He added that emphasis was also placed on coordinating social security systems and modernizing labor relations.

    EU candidate country labor ministers discuss pensioning systems: Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas and his counterparts from candidate countries and the European troika (Italy and Ireland) discussed modern trends for revising pensioning systems in Europe on Wednesday.

    The talks were held in Geneva on the sidelines of the International Labor Organization’s 91st conference.

    Reppas stressed during the talks that pensions, care for the elderly and interventions regarding social integration constitute the main pylon of the EU's social policy.

    He also referred to the repercussions of an aging population, adding that interventions must take place to secure social adequacy and the financial viability of pensioning systems.

    Although admitting that the absolute coordination of pensioning systems in member-states is not possible, the labor minister stressed the need for the implementation of the open coordination method.

    [08] Justice minister gives account for Greek EU presidency on justice issues

    BRUSSELS 12/06/2003 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said on Wednesday the main axis of the European Union's policy on justice issues is the creation of a unified area of freedom, security and justice.

    Petsalnikos, who was giving an account of the Greek EU presidency on justice issues before the European Parliament's Justice and Human Rights Committee, said the Greek presidency acted on the principle that the course for the achievement of this target should balance between respect for human rights and the need for security.

    The minister said that during the Greek presidency the EU's Justice and Internal Affairs Council adopted a decision on probing and prosecuting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    Regarding the EU's foreign relations in the justice and internal affairs sectors, Petsalnikos said meetings were held between the EU troika, the countries of the western Balkans, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Turkey, focusing primarily on combatting organized crime, particularly the trafficking of people, drug trafficking and economic crime, and the development of judicial and police cooperation.

    [09] Gov't spokesman: 'We won't follow Turkey in creating artificial tension'

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Wednesday stressed that the government would not be drawn into following Turkey's lead "in the practice of creating artificial tension" by a recent rash of airspace and FIR violations by Turkish fighter jets in the Aegean.

    "It is clear that we are undergoing a period of intensified Turkish provocations," the spokesman said but stressed that the government knew how to defend the country's national interests.

    "We have put this question to the Turkish leadership: do you adopt this policy [of provocations] or will you put your announcements into action for your country's European orientation," Protopapas said.

    According to Transport Minister Christos Verelis, meanwhile, the era of violations and harassment by Turkish fighter jets in Greek airspace was coming to a close.

    In his speech to the 1st International Conference on Airports in Thessaloniki, Verelis pointed out that this practice violated inter-national regulations and compromised flight safety and announced that he had sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart in which he outlined the problems caused by such harassment.

    The same letter had also been sent to the European Commission, he added.

    "Safety and protection of flights is important for peace and the economic prosperity of the nations," Verelis concluded.

    [10] US sees Turkish violations of Greek nat'l airspace as 'bilateral matter'

    WASHINGTON, D.C. 12/06/2003 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The United States consider the violations of Greek national airspace by Turkish fighter jets as a bilateral matter between the two countries and not an issue that concerns NATO and should be resolved within the framework of the alliance, according to US state department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker.

    ''We have seen press reports saying that the Turkish armed forces have denied that their jetfighters flew very close to a Greek passenger aircraft on June 9, and we understand that the Greek foreign minister, Mr. George Papandreou, and his Turkish counterpart, Mr. Abdullah Gul, have discussed the issue of the Aegean," Reeker said, adopting the same policy line taken the previous day by the State Department encouraging Greece and Turkey to continue their rapprochement talks and adopt Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) and calling the airspace violations a "bilateral issue".

    On Tuesday, two Turkish jetfighters which had earlier been intercepted by Greek fighter planes for infringement of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and violation of national airspace harassed a Greek civilian Olympic Airways flight inside the Athens FIR.

    Reeker said in reply to press questions that the US considered it "an encouraging fact" that Greece and Turkey were continuing rapprochement talks and implementing CBMs such as the recent agreement for an exchange of higher-ranking officers and students of military academies, and other forms of cooperation. "We believe it is an important process," he said.

    He said it was a purely bilateral issue and not a NATO issue, and Washington's position was that "we should let the two countries jointly solve these matters when they arise".

    [11] Gov't seeking dual nationality for Albania's ethnic Greeks before elections

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    If an agreement was reached with Albania, ethnic Greeks from southern Albania would be given dual nationality before the next general elections in 2004, Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday in response to questions.

    He denied that the government was seeking an agreement on this issue for petty party-political motives. If this was the case, he added, we would not be negotiating a dual nationality, we would leave them with just the Greek nationality, he said.

    On Tuesday, Protopapas announced that Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis was in the final stages of negotiations with his Albanian counterpart for a deal that would allow Albania's large ethnic Greek community, mostly concentrated in the south of that country, to gain Greek nationality without forfeiting their Albanian citizenship.

    [12] MRB poll gives main opposition party 8.3 percent lead over PASOK

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party leads ruling PASOK by 8.3 percent in an MRB opinion poll released on Wednesday evening, while ND leader Costas Karamanlis appears to be ahead of Prime Minister Costas Simitis with a 1.3 percent lead on who would make best premier.

    Analytically, 38 percent of respondents said they would vote for ND in the next elections, 29.7 percent for PASOK, 5.3 percent for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 3.9 percent for the Coalition of the Left, of the Movements and Ecology, 2.5 percent for the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI), 2.4 for the newly formed party LA.O.S. headed by Parliament deputy George Karatzaferis and 3.4 said they would vote for another party while 14.9 percent answered don't know/won't say.

    On the question on who was most suitable for prime minister, Karamanlis came first with 40.1 percent and Simitis second with 38.8 percent.

    The poll was conducted by June 3, using a specimen of 2,000 people from all over the country.

    [13] Greek nuclear expert Dimitris Perricos named acting head of

    UNMOVIC NEW YORK 12/06/2003 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)

    Greek nuclear expert Dimitris Perricos has been named as acting executive chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), effective on July 1 after the retirement of UN chief arms inspector Hans Blix.

    The UN decision to name Perricos as the acting UNMOVIC executive chairman was announced late Tuesday (early Wednesday, Greek time) by UN secretary general Kofi Annan's press spokesman Fred Eckhard in New York.

    The 67-year-old Perricos, currently serving as Blix's deputy executive chairman and director of the planning and operations division, headed the UNMOVIC team carrying out on-the-spot inspections in Iraq and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency action team carrying out the first inspection in Iraq after the first Gulf War. He has also served in several other high-level positions during his 28 years at the IAEA.

    Perricos was born in Piraeus in 1935 and holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Athens.

    Perricos' appointment by Annan as acting executive chairman indicated that the UN would not be replacing the retiring Blix for the time being, while Eckhard explained that the appointment was made ''due to Mr. Blix's departure from the position of executive chairman of UNMOVIC at the end of the month and in expectance of a decision by the Security Council on the future arrangement that will materialize other decisions by the Security Council on the disarmament of Iraq''.

    The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) was created through the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1284 of 17 December 1999. UNMOVIC was to replace the former UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and continue with the latter’s mandate to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological weapons and missiles with a range of more than 150 km), and to operate a system of ongoing monitoring and verification to check Iraq’s compliance with its obligations not to reacquire the same weapons prohibited to it by the Security Council.

    [14] FM Papandreou to meet with US ambassador Miller on Thursday

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign minister George Papandreou will receive US ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller on Thursday at 4:30 p.m, the foreign ministry announced Wednesday.

    [15] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos to visit Ankara on Thursday

    ISTANBUL 12/06/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will visit Ankara on Thursday after being invited to address a special event organized by the Vatican's embassy in the Turkish capital on the 25th anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul II.

    Vartholomeos will also attend a luncheon given in his honor in Ankara by Greek Ambassador Mihalis Christidis. All the ambassadors of EU member-states in Ankara will also be present, as well as the ambassador of the United States.

    The Nuncio will be organizing a reception in the patriarch's honor, while the diplomatic community of the Turkish capital, government representatives, academics and representatives of other religious denominations and Churches will also be attending.

    The patriarch's planned meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not be taking place due to a change in the program of Erdogan who will be leaving for Malaysia on Thursday.

    [16] EU Presidency condemns deadly rocket attack in Gaza

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday on behalf of the European Union Presidency in which it strongly condemned the rocket attack launched in Gaza on Tuesday by the Israeli Defense Forces. The full text of the statement follows:

    “The EU Presidency strongly condemns yesterday’s (10/6/03) rocket attacks by IDF in Gaza, which resulted in killing at least 5 Palestinians and wounding many others. This kind of retaliation and extra judicial killings perpetuate the cycle of violence and further deteriorate the security environment.

    These attacks, that coincide with the first steps of the implementation of the Roadmap following the pledges taken by both sides in Aqaba, undermine the peace efforts and complicate further PM’s Abbas attempts to halt violence and terrorism by Palestinian factions. In this crucial period, we call upon both parties to abstain from acts of violence and to remain committed to the path of negotiations, which is the only way to satisfy the people’s need for peace and security”.

    [17] Israel's envoy to Athens sees 'new positive factors' in Palestinian problem

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to Athens Ram Aviram, during a meeting with Greek reporters on Wednesday, referred to what he called ''new positive factors'' in the Palestinian issue and praised the Greek EU presidency for the ''very positive and effective'' way it handled Israel's issues.

    The Israeli envoy said that recent changes in the Palestinian leadership, the acceptance by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of two states and the ''road map'', as well as the active US involvement were new ''positive factors'' in the Palestinian question, and he placed maximum importance on what he called an ''end to terrorism'' (suicide attacks).

    Moreover, Aviram made special mention to the participation of Israel in the ''Barcelona process'', an economic, social and cultural partnership between the European Union and 12 countries located in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean basin.

    [18] New organization of culture ministry published in gov't gazette

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    The culture ministry on Wednesday announced its first restructuring in 26 years, as the new modern organization following the publishing of a relevant presidential decree in the Government Gazette.

    The organization sets new positions for the archaeology department and creates 3,500 new permanent positions in the ministry.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed that ''in this manner the new dimensions of the ministry become apparent, the planning and the execution of technical projects is facilitated through the new regional technical services and the necessary emphasis is paid to the protection of newer monuments.

    [19] Communist Party of Greece leader visits Patra, says unemployment being concealed

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said on Wednesday a method of concealing unemployment has begun since part-time employees are not considered unemployed.

    Papariga, who toured the city of Patra and addressed an outdoor rally in the area of Taramboura, said programs having an expiry date and local employment agreements were mere aspirins and only aggravated the problem of unemployment.

    Referring to the next general election in the country, she said bipartisan politics must be dealt a blow, adding that the disengagement of the people is the first step for this.

    Papariga also commented on violations of national airspace by Turkish warplanes, saying ''the fact they are taking place now raises questions and, of course, we are not convinced that if Turkey joins the EU we shall have calm relations.''

    She urged vigilance for the country's sovereign rights and, in parallel, cool-headedness, but not according to the logic of ''yes man. Meaning whatever the U.S. and the EU want.''

    [20] IMF forecasts slower growth, higher inflation in Greece

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    The International Monetary Fund urges the Greek government to take new measures in the country's social security system to deal with an expected fiscal problem resulting from a big increase in pension spending in the next decades.

    The IMF, in its latest report on the Greek economy's trend and prospects, urged the government to take measures for a more flexible labor market, to deregulate domestic markets, restraining wages in the public sector and reducing the public sector in the overall economy.

    The international organization forecasts a 3.6 percent annual growth rate this year, from a 3.8 percent forecast in the government’s budget, and an average 3.8 percent inflation rate in 2003 to 3.5 percent in December, sharply exceeding a 2.5 percent budget target for the year.

    The IMF also forecasts higher budget deficits, with the general government's shortfall at 1.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product this year, up from a budget target of 0.9 percent, while the public debt is expected to total 100.1 percent of GDP this year.

    The Fund noted that a reform in the country's social security system in 2002 was inadequate and forecast that spending on pensions could triple by 2050 from a current 12.5 percent of GDP, exceeding expected increases in other developed economies. The IMF also recommended plans to create supplementary private social security programs.

    The IMF does not share the Greek government's optimism for a big fall in unemployment this year and predicts that the unemployment rate would fall to 9.8 percent of the workforce in 2003 from 9.9 percent in 2002.

    [21] Bank of Greece governor calls for rationalization of state finances

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    The rationalization of the state finances should be a basic political priority for Greece, despite the new course it follows within the eurozone, Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas said on Wednesday.

    During the presentation of the book ''Greece's Economic Performance and Prospects'' which was published in 2001 by Greece's central bank in cooperation with the Brookings Foundation, Garganas stressed that the rationalization is necessary in order to decrease the public debt.

    He added that the basic message of the book is that a loose fiscal and monetary policy in conjunction with mandate regulations and the structural inflexibility slow-down the economic development and leave behind high unemployment and high inflation.

    He underlined that those were the problems of Greece in the 1970's through 1994, but now it has to face new challenges, so as to meet competitiveness criteria.

    Garganas stressed that these challenges include structural changes in the social security system, the labor market and the taxation system, as well as the regulations of the market.

    [22] Greek IT sector could grow 60 pct, report says

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's 1.5 billion US dollar IT sector, while still emerging, packs enormous economic potential and a 10-point drop in its software piracy rate, combined with already projected growth, could boost the sector to 2.5 billion dollars by 2006, the BSA 8th annual global study on software piracy said.

    The report said that the rate of software piracy in Greece fell by 24 points in the period 1994-2002, leading the country closer to the average of other West European countries.

    Greece's piracy rate fell to 63 percent in 2002 from 64 percent the previous year, while revenues lost from software piracy fell to 53,674,000 US dollars from 61,412,000 dollars, over the same period respectively.

    The Greek government enacted and enforced strong copyright laws that helped the country reduce its piracy rate by 14 points between 1996 and 2002. During that period, its software sector grew by 16 percent, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and new jobs for the Greek workforce.

    2002 marked the eighth year of the annual BSA Global Software Piracy Study and, since the inception of the study in 1994, significant success in combating software piracy is evident.

    Aided by considerable decreases in the piracy rates of each of the six regions defined by the study, the 2002 world piracy rate of 39% is 10 points below the piracy rate measured in 1994.

    2002 also marks the first decline in the world software piracy rate since 1999, the year in which the piracy rate hit an all-time low of 36%.

    [23] Greek-Turkish Energy Forum cancelled

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    A planned first Greek-Turkish Energy Forum, scheduled to be held June 18 in Athens, was finally cancelled after being postponed once already.

    The organizer of the forum attributed the decision to cancel the event to lack of participation from the Turkish side.

    The energy forum was aimed to promoting Greek-Turkish cooperation in the energy sector.

    [24] Greek stocks jump 1.78 pct higher on Wednesday

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks soared on Wednesday pushing the general index nearer the 1,900 resistance level in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The index ended 1.78 percent higher at 1,896.58 points, with turnover a heavy 393.5 million euros, reflecting a transfer of 21,070,000 shares of Duty Free Shops by Agricultural Bank to Folli-Follie and Germanos Group at 8.40 euros per share.

    The Insurance, Publication, Bank and Metal sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (7.95 percent, 2.35 percent, 2.31 percent and 1.82 percent, respectively), while the IT Solution and IT sectors suffered losses (1.19 percent and 0.72 per-cent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 1.58 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index soared 2.76 percent, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.30 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE 140 index ended 1.75 percent up.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 230 to 84 with another 50 issues unchanged.

    Bond Market Close: Sellers out-match buyers on Wednesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 3.67 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 10 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 3.4 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year (633 mln euros)

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 96.99 mln euros Wednesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +1.58percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +2.76 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) (580)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 96.99 mln euros


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    [25] Former ministers, army chiefs turn out in defense of Naxakis over Ocalan affair

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    A star-studded cast of former ministers, MPs and high-ranking members of the military turned out in support of retired Navy captain Antonis Naxakis at the ongoing trial over the Ocalan affair on Wednesday, each testifying to their absolute conviction that he had no intention of harming Greece through his actions.

    Naxakis is charged as the main culprit responsible for smuggling rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan into Greece in January 1999 against the wishes of the Greek government.

    Among the politicians appearing as witnesses were Gerassimos Arsenis, Stelios Papathemelis, Theodoros Kassimis, Panagiotis Kritikos, Miltiades Evert, Panos Kammenos, Vyron Polydoras, Ioannis Kefaloyiannis and Alexandros Papadongonas, while former military chiefs in the witness box included honorary Navy Chief of Staff Nikolaos Papas, honorary Armed Forces General Staff chief Christos Lymberis and former Greek intelligence service (EYP) chief Leonidas Vasilikopoulos.

    All the witnesses ruled out any guile on Naxakis' part in bringing Ocalan into the country and said that they could not imagine Naxakis had intended to harm Greek interests through his actions.

    Former New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert asserted that others should be standing in the prisoners' dock over the Ocalan affair and ND MP Panos Kammenos blamed the Ocalan affair on 'people in the government machinery'. He also said former EYP commander Haralambos Stavrakakis was in some measure responsible.

    Earlier in the day, one of the two lawyers defending Naxakis resigned from the case after a disagreement with his colleague Alexandros Lykourezos regarding the cross-examination of the witnesses.

    The lawyer representing the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) submitted a 58-page document written by Ocalan to the court.

    Thirteen people face charges for bringing Ocalan into Greece, among them Naxakis and two of Ocalan's associates, Yakar Chedkiz and Kaya Aifer. All three are also charged with compromising the country's harmonious foreign relations.

    Ocalan himself faces a charge of illegally entering Greece, while another nine people are charged with assisting Naxakis bring him into the country, including author Voula Damianakou and her daughter Eleni Vasilopoulou, airline pilot Zisis Bechlivanidis, state airport public relations chief Stefanos Evangelatos and airport employee Evangelos Stergiopoulos, Aegean Airlines representative Antonis Simigdalas and Aegean Airlines employee Georgios Mavros, police officer Dimitris Karagiorgis and a police officer detached to EYP, Georgios Magginas.

    State Department report says trafficking of women high in Greece WASHINGTON 12/06/2003 (T. Ellis)

    The trafficking of women is very high in Greece, according to a U.S. State Department report made public on Wednesday and which places Greece and 13 other countries in the third and worst category regarding the degree of seriousness of the problem. Greece was in the same category last year.

    According to the report, the authorities of these 14 countries are not taking the necessary efforts to confront the problem.

    The report presents as particularly developed the prostitution network in Greece, noting that this is based mainly on the trafficking of women from Eastern Europe. They concern women and children which are transferred from Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Russia and Ukraine and to a lesser extent from Asia and Africa.

    Apart from Greece, included in the third and worst category are Turkey, Bosnia, Sudan, Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Liberia, Kazakhstan, Haiti, Uzbekistan, Surinam, the Dominican Republic and Tajikistan.

    [26] Defense witnesses begin testifying in N17 trial

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    The ongoing trial of 19 suspected members of the terrorist group November 17 was resumed on Wednesday with the first of 300-odd witnesses called by the defense to testify on behalf of the defendants.

    First on the stand was writer George Karabelias, who was called as a defense witness for Dimitris Koufodinas, charged as the operations chief of the terror group.

    Karabelias said the defendants were politically motivated but that he disagreed with their actions and that the group's 'power' had diminished in the past few years.

    ''If the organization had been correct in its political analysis, it would have been followed by many people. Its mistake was that it had not understood the conditions under which social conflict takes place,'' he said.

    The witness said he had met the alleged leader of the terror band, Alexandros Giotopoulos, when the latter was a student in Paris and Theologos Psaradellis, whom he described as an ''exceptional human being''. He said he had met Koufodinas at student events in 1979-1980.

    Next on the stand was journalist Giorgos Stamatopoulos, who called the group a ''purely political organization'' that arose due to the prevailing climate in Greece at that time and was applauded by the majority of Greek society in its early years.

    He also claimed that Koufodinas had earned the ''approval of all Greek society for his readiness to accept responsibility'' for the terror group's actions.

    The last witness was TEI professor Evangelos Pisias who saw N17's role as a response to state violence to repress the Left during the years of the Greek military junta that was in some measure inevitable.

    ''If there were no N17 then its role would have been taken on by some other organization with the same action. A member of a revolutionary organization considers himself a vessel of justice,'' he said.

    [27] Attica residents protest over plans for new dumps in their areas

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Residents of west and east Attica districts gathered outside Parliament on Wednesday morning to express their opposition to environment ministry plans to create new dumps within Attica.

    The protestors called for sites to be chosen after properly backed studies and said the selection should not be confined to Attica and demanded the closure of the existing dump in Nea Liosia. They also opposed the burning of refuse and any form of privatization in refuse collection.

    They rejected the existing studies carried out by the environment ministry as 'unscientific' and said they withheld significant facts that altered the grading and final result.

    The protestors were mainly residents of Polydendri, Keratea, Koropi, Grammatiko, Ano Liosia, Fyli, Aspropyrgos and Mandra whose areas have been earmarks as possible sites for the new dumps.

    [28] Greece beats Ukraine 1-0 in EURO 2004 qualifier

    Athens, 12/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greece beat Ukraine 1-0 (halftime 0-0) in a EURO 2004 championship Group Six qualifier played at the ''Apostolos Nikolaidis'' stadium in Athens on Wednesday night.

    Angelos Haristeas scored for Greece in the 87th minute.

    Greece now has 4 wins and 2 defeats and keeps its hopes alive to qualify for the finals in Portugal.

    The other teams in Group Six are Spain, Armenia and Northern


    [29] FM Iacovou meets Powell in Washington

    WASHINGTON 12/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou met on Wednesday in Washington with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    Speaking after the half-hour meeting with his US counterpart, Iacovou said it was ''very useful'' and they discussed the Cyprus problem, and that he elaborated on recent developments on the island.

    Iacovou said he explained the Greek Cypriot side's positions regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem and ''the fact that we are facing a harsh negative stance from the Turks and that the US must turn to the Turkish side to resume procedures to solve the Cyprus problem under the good offices of the UN Secretary General.''

    The Cyprus problem will be discussed during a lunch hosted by Powell at the State Department for Annan.

    Asked if there would be any US intervention towards Ankara to exert pressure on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for a Cyprus settlement, Iacovou said he asked Powell ''to turn to Ankara especially now that the issues of the war on Iraq have been wrapped up and time must be found to start talks with Ankara.''

    [30] Security Council adopts resolution on UNFICYP

    UNITED NATIONS 12/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The UN Security Council adopted unanimously here Wednesday resolution 1486 on the renewal of UNFICYP's mandate, extending it until December 15, 2003.

    In its resolution the Council ''expresses concern at the recent, further violations by the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces at the southeastern village of Strovilia and urges them to restore the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000.''

    The Security Council ''notes the limited steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot side to ease some of the restrictions imposed on 30 June 2000 on the operation of UNFICYP but urges the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP.''

    It also ''endorses the increase of the UNFICYP civilian police component by no more than 34 officers in order to meet the increased workload resulting from ''the welcome partial easing of restrictions on island-wide freedom of movement, which has been met by good will from Greek and Turkish Cypriots.''

    Furthermore it ''reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus and in particular resolution 1251 of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions.''

    It also welcomes ''the report of the Secretary General of 27 May 2003 on the United Nations operation in Cyprus and in particular the call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness.''

    The full text of the resolution is as follows:''The Security Council, Welcoming the report of the Secretary General of 27 May 2003 (S/2003/572) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, and in particular the call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness,

    Noting that the Government of Cyprus has agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions in the island it is necessary to keep the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 15 June 2003,

    Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations,

    1. Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, and in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;

    2. Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending 15 December 2003;

    3. Endorses the increase of the UNFICYP civilian police component by no more than 34 officers in order to meet the increased workload resulting from the welcome partial easing of restrictions on island-wide freedom of movement, which has been met by goodwill from Greek and Turkish Cypriots;

    4. Notes the limited steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot side to ease some of the restrictions imposed on 30 June 2000 on the operation of UNFICYP, but urges the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP;

    5. Expresses concern at the recent, further violations by the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces at Strovilia and urges them to restore the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000;

    6. Requests the Secretary General to submit a report by 1 December 2003 on the implementation of this resolution;

    7. Decides to remain seized of the matter.''

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [31] Verheugen arrives in Cyprus on June 16

    NICOSIA 12/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    European Commissioner on Enlargement Gunter Verheugen arrives in Cyprus on June 16 for a three-day visit.

    According to a draft program, Verheugen launches his visit on June 17, with separate meetings with President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias, followed by a meeting with Cyprus' Chief Negotiator with the EU Takis Hadjidemetriou.

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