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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-05-10

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

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

Thursday, 10 May 2007 Issue No: 2590

CONTENTS

  • [01] EU acknowledges efforts made by the Greek economy, FinMin says
  • [02] Greek economic progress spectacular, FinMin says
  • [03] PASOK and Synaspismos comment on FinMin's statements
  • [04] Main goal of visit to China economic, FM Dora Bakoyannis says
  • [05] PM stresses Athens' support for wider region's European course during 'Europe Day' celebration
  • [06] Deputy FM Yiannis Valynakis inaugurates Europe Day festive events
  • [07] PM in Zagreb on Thursday
  • [08] Parliament president meets with Chilean counterparts, excellent bilateral relations reaffirmed
  • [09] Greece striving for peace in the Balkans, defence minister stresses
  • [10] Deputy Panos Kammenos appointed OSCE Special Representative
  • [11] Austrian President Fischer due on state visit
  • [12] Gov't on Jerusalem Patriarchate
  • [13] U.S. Embassy officially opens new office annex
  • [14] Former CIA chief George Tenet speaks of N17 terrorist group
  • [15] SAE tables positions on voting by overseas Greeks
  • [16] Joint GSEE-ADEDY delegation meets separately with Papandreou, Magginas
  • [17] FinMin Alogoskoufis to address conference in Milan
  • [18] Bank of Greece rejects appeal for FBBank buyout
  • [19] Greek-Jordanian business forum
  • [20] Greek business delegation in Cairo
  • [21] EUMU to hold conference for SMEs in Athens in May
  • [22] Synaspismos leader visits PPC plant in Ptolemaida
  • [23] Deputies visit Hellenic Aerospace Industry
  • [24] Sidenor company increases turnover, profit-making
  • [25] Homeric DS buys 51.82 pct in Elmec Sport
  • [26] Marfin Popular Bank says profits up 147 pct in 1st quarter
  • [27] Eurobank reports 29.6 pct increase in 1st quarter net profits
  • [28] Proton Bank's economic results in first quarter
  • [29] Vivartia to return capital to shareholders, to issue convertible bond
  • [30] Hellenic Petroleum says 1st quarter profits down 25 pct
  • [31] Hellenic Exchanges to pay 0.50 euros per share dividend to shareholders
  • [32] Edison board approves thermoelectric plant in Thisvi
  • [33] George Rokas resigns as chairman of Rokas Group
  • [34] ADEX closing report
  • [35] Greek stocks end flat on Wednesday
  • [36] Greek bond market closing report
  • [37] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday
  • [38] Events in Athens commemorate WWII victory in Europe
  • [39] Event held in honour of Red Army fighters
  • [40] Con'f on Pontian genocide in Thessaloniki
  • [41] Babioniotis to visit Australia
  • [42] 'Alexandria Remembers' lecture at Egyptian Embassy's Cultural Centre
  • [43] Freight train carrying liquid fuel derails near Kilkis, ensuing fire extinguished
  • [44] Industrial accident in SES Aghios Dimitrios
  • [45] New diagnostic method for lung cancer
  • [46] Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' opens in Thessaloniki
  • [47] Dutch journalists visit the Peloponnese
  • [48] PM received new 2007 Euro basketball champions Panathinaikos on Tuesday
  • [49] Fair on Thursday
  • [50] Cyprus came home when it acceded Europe, says President Papadopoulos
  • [51] July 8 agreement is balanced, says Cypriot President
  • [52] Cyprus makes representations over FIR violations by Turkey Politics

  • [01] EU acknowledges efforts made by the Greek economy, FinMin says

    The European Union acknowledges a great effort made by the Greek economy over the last few years to reducing its fiscal deficit from around 8.0 pct to below 3.0 pct of GDP, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.

    Addressing an inner cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the Greek minister said the lower budget deficit is considerated sustainable by the European Commission, while he noted that the EU also acknowledged a dynamic economic growth and a reduction in unemploment and added that this was a successful mixture of economic policy.

    Alogoskoufis said the EU was expected to promote the necessary procedures to remove Greece from an excessive deficit procedure and underlined that all negative forecasts made over the past years were proved to be wrong and noted that Greece has regained credibility and prestige, while he stressed that the country must continue satisfying all its European obligations.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, addressing the inner cabinet meeting, said the Education and Development mini-tries were expected to table to Parliament soon a draft bill on research and technology to give new dynamism to R&D in the country.

    [02] Greek economic progress spectacular, FinMin says

    Greece's recent economic progress was nothing but spectacular, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday, adding that fiscal policy will be milder in coming years, while efforts at maintaining fiscal discipline will continue.

    He also noted that more significant reforms will be made since two or three years is little time for adjustment.

    Speaking to reporters, the minister said the country was moving forward but noted there still way to go "since we have to meet a goal of achieving balanced or surplus budgets by 2010".

    Alogoskoufis the ministry's legislative priorities during the summer session of Parliament were: introducing a National Strategic Benchmark Framework, a new customs code, combating tax-evasion, creating a national fund to combat poverty and the sale and lease-back of real estate assets.

    Greece has cut its fiscal deficit from 7.9 pct of GDP in 2004 to 2.6 pct in 2006, while the public debt will continue falling from 104.6 pct in 2006 to 97.6 pct in 2008. He underlined that the European Commission's spring economic forecasts said that economic growth in Greece will be the result of private investments and exports, while the EU's executive arm acknowledged the big efforts made towards fiscal consolidation.

    Gov't spokesman

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also echoed Alogoskoufis' statements during the former's daily press briefing, where he stressed that "for the first time we can meet our obligations, ones we have assumed within the framework of EMU, namely, to have a deficit of lower than 3 percent."

    The spokesman added that the government's high-profile and successful "mild adaptation" policy, "as stated by Commission Almunia", will reduce the deficit to 2.6 percent for 2006 and 2.4 percent for 2007.

    Finally, he said Greece's exit from the excessive deficit procedure is a "milestone" for the country's economy.

    [03] PASOK and Synaspismos comment on FinMin's statements

    The head of the Economy Department of the Parliamentary Council of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Vasso Papandreou, on Wednesday evening com-mented on statements made earlier in the day at the Inner Cabinet by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogo-skoufis.

    "Mr. Alogoskoufis has acquired an expertise in bragging about artificial successes. The exit from the (European Union's) supervision was imperative, as we have said many times. What was not imperative is the entry, something which happened after the crime of the audit," the PASOK deputy said.

    She added that "Mr. Alogoskoufis is attempting to continue to play the same game which he is playing for three years now with the past, telling lies about the economic results of the previous (PASOK) government and projecting the failures of the (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis government as supposed successes."

    On his part, Political Bureau member and head of the Economic and Social Policy Department of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos), Panagiotis Lafazanis, said that "the triumphant tones by Mr. Alogoskoufis on the course of the economy are out of place and time and have no relation with the continuous decrease of incomes and the standard of living of the working people."

    He added that "Greece is coming out of the EU supervision only to enter in to a new and harsher one, given that the government has committed itself in balancing the budget - zero deficit - by 2010. This means that the austerity in salaries and pensions will be extended indefinitely and will become harsher, while what will be sped up, in the name of the viability of the public finances, is the collapse of the social insurance system."

    [04] Main goal of visit to China economic, FM Dora Bakoyannis says

    SHANGHAI (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, speaking here on Wednesday, said that "the main goal of my visit to China is an economic one", while underlining the "firm basis" of political relations between Greece and China.

    The foreign minister, leading a business mission and accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, chose Shanghai, the city of 18 million inhabitants in which the country's economic heart beats, as her first stop in her five-day visit to China.

    "We are here to register the steps that have been taken and to broaden sectors of mutual interest. We shall support entrepreneurship with all our strength," Bakoyannis said in her address at the business forum jointly organised by the Sino-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of Greece and China.

    In the framework of the forum, 200 joint business meetings have been scheduled and another 100 to the one to be held in Beijing on Thursday.

    Bakoyannis termed the visit to Beijing by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis a milestone, as well as Greece's strategic partnership relation with China, a relation that opened horizons for further bilateral cooperation.

    Addressing Greek and Chinese businessmen, the foreign minister reviewed the results of the cooperation achieved so far, stressing that the volume of bilateral trade has more than trebled over the past five years and has exceeded 2 billion dollars. She underlined however the need for balancing trade between the two nations as Greece currently registers a strong deficit.

    Both Bakoyannis and Stylianidis, in their addresses at the forum, urged cooperation between the two business communities and highlighted Greece as the hub of a wider market in southeastern Europe, the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean, where Greek businessmen possess a strong network.

    The Greek side placed particular emphasis on developing cooperation in the sectors of shipping, tourism, energy and culture.

    As regards shipping, Bakoyannis mentioned that at the moment the building of 187 Greek or Greek-owned ships in China is pending and that the Greek merchant fleet carries more than 50 percent of energy taken to and from China and 50 percent of dry cargo products.

    Stylianidis said that the Chinese "in return" are keeping their promise to use the Greek port system, since in the past year we have more visits by large ships. According to the latest assessments, about 10 Chinese ships with over 5,000 containers visit Greek ports every month.

    In the tourist sector, Greece is seeking a share of the 22 million Chinese who visit Europe every year, a figure that is increasing rapidly. The Athens-Beijing air link set for autumn is expected to contribute in this direction, while the favourable conjuncture created with the Athens Olympic Games is continuing, since Greece will be the theme country in China in 2008 and will be the focus of attention once again.

    Meanwhile, the Greek side has simplified and speeded up procedures required for the issuing of visas and as of May 5, 2007, a new consulate is operating in Canton.

    Bakoyannis met in the morning with the Mayor of Shanghai, and number four in the party leadership, Han Jeng who thanked Greece for its support for China to undertake the EXPO 2010 exhibition and later on she visited the Shanghai stock exchange.

    Lastly, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary this year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Greece and China, a concert with singer Alkistis Protopsalti is being scheduled at the Concert Hall in the Forbidden City in Beijing on May 11.

    [05] PM stresses Athens' support for wider region's European course during 'Europe Day' celebration

    Greek leadership on Wednesday emphasised Athens' support of EU candidate-countries' course towards Europe, with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis citing the specific point during events in the Greek capital to mark Europe Day.

    Karamanlis made the comments during a ceremony in Athens' Zappeion Hall -- a venue that hosted the accession ceremony for Greece nearly three decades ago and only a stone's throw from the Greek Parliament -- on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Rome Treaty.

    "Our country's position is one of support for the consolidation, the entrenchment of stability, cooperation, development and prosperity in our neighbourhood," he said, adding:

    "Today we celebrate Europe Day. Over these past 50 years the European Union has demonstrated that peace and cooperation can replace conflict and suspicion, with spectacular results for all."

    The premier noted that that proof of Europe's attraction lies in the fact that "every country in our wider region wants desperately to become a member."

    On his part, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, who served as the host of the commemorative event, said the Treaty of Rome laid the foundations for the spectacular course that followed, "which continues as spectacularly and provocatively in the present day, and where European nations put an end to the use of war and violence."

    [06] Deputy FM Yiannis Valynakis inaugurates Europe Day festive events

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis inaugurated events marking Europe Day on May 9 and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Economic Community at Syntagma Square in downtown Athens on Wednesday night, stressing that "we want informed citizens."

    Valynakis referred to the celebration of the 50th anniversary "of the European Union and its significance for the peoples of Europe, a Europe that is peaceful today and its peoples are living in a state of prosperity and security," reminding that the peoples of Europe had suffered a great deal from bloody wars and conflicts in the past.

    "The things that are self-evident today were not always so. Our peoples are living in a state of prosperity and security and all of us together must give wings to the European Union to enable us to go even further," Valynakis said.

    Events at Syntagma Square will last for four days and will give visitors the opportunity of visiting the various pavilions for information on the EU's individual policies and its programmes.

    [07] PM in Zagreb on Thursday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis departs for Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday afternoon to attend the 10th summit of the South-East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) on May 11.

    [08] Parliament president meets with Chilean counterparts, excellent bilateral relations reaffirmed

    VALPARAISO (ANA-MPA/P. Dimitropoulos)

    The excellent bilateral relations between Greece and Chile were reaffirmed during talks between Greece's visiting parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki and leaders and members of the bi-cameral Chilean National Congress (parliament) in Valparaiso, on the first-ever visit by a Greek parliament president to a Latin American country.

    Psarouda-Benaki, who arrived in Santiago on Saturday on an official visit at the invitation of her Chilean counterpart Patricio Walker Prieto, president of the National Congress' upper house, the Chamber of Deputies, visited the northern Chile city of Antofagasta on Sunday, on the first stop of her tour, where she met with local authorities and members of the Greek community, before beginning the official leg of her visit on Sunday.

    Psarouda-Benaki held talks with Walker, as well as the president of the National Congress' lower house, the Senate, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, and addressed a plenary session of the National Congress, during which Walker Prieto presented her with the Congress' highest distinction.

    Addressing the National Congress, Benaki noted the importance of Chile's Association Agreement with the EU for liberalisation of commercial transactions, and thanked the 120 deputies and 38 senators for being the first parliamentarians in Latin America to sign a resolution endorsing Greece's demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens from the British Museum.

    Benaki further praised Chile's "prudent stance" on the Cyprus issue, and made special reference to its participation in the UN Peacekeeping Force on Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    Speaking of the benefits arising for Greece from its EU accession, Benaki stressed that Athens backs the prospect of gradual enlargement of the European Union "on condition of fulfillment of the EU criteria". She said this was particularly so for the Balkan countries, and also for Turkey "which, we believe, its European orientation will render it a frank neighbour".

    Benaki also said that the threat of terrorism "obliges us to come together, and also indicates to us that the best way to confront the problem is the advancement of specific fundamental rules of coexistence, such as tolerance, mutual acceptance, mutual understanding, and ensuring the basic values for all people".

    During both his address to the plenary and his private meeting with Benaki, Walker said that tribute was due to the Greek civilisation, which created Democracy. He also spoke of the common experiences of Greece and Chile as democratic nations, which are active in the promotion of peace and security.

    Benaki, in turn, congratulated Frei on his contribution, as President of Chile (1994-2000), to the advancement of the EU-Chile Free Trade Agreement.

    The two sides also agreed that there were margins for economic cooperation between the two countries and the assumption of investment initiatives in Greece by Chilean businessmen.

    Benaki further invited the presidents of the two houses of the National Council to visit the parliament of Greece.

    The Greek parliament president's visit will culminate with meetings with Chilean President of the Republic Veronica Michelle Bachelet, foreign minister Alejandro Foxley, and Isabel Allende Bussi, a Chilean deputy and daughter of the late Chilean president Salvador Allende.

    [09] Greece striving for peace in the Balkans, defence minister stresses

    Greece is taking a leading role in the effort to transform the Balkans into a neighbourhood of peace, stability and growth, National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis stressed in his address to a two-day seminar organised by one of Greece's interbranch officers' school in Thessaloniki.

    "We must not allow things to backslide and Greece is working systematically to establish an environment of trust, mutual understanding and cooperation. Because the requirement is chiefly to create an atmosphere of mutual trust, so that there is honest and substantive dialogue for the solution of problems," the minister said.

    In this context, Greece supported the entry of Balkan countries in EuroAtlantic structures, the development of regional cooperation, consolidating good neighbourly relations and the peaceful resolution of outstanding issues, such as the final name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    Regarding Kosovo, meanwhile, he said that any solution found must not upset delicate balances in southeastern Europe.

    The defence minister also urged Turkey to stop the violations of Greek airspace by Turkish military aircraft and incursions into Greek territorial waters and said that Athens was dedicated to creating a climate of zero tension over and in the Aegean Sea.

    Stressing that tension in the Aegean benefited neither side, Meimarakis also expressed hope that domestic developments in Turkey would not result in tension in its relations with Greece and their prospects for improvement.

    Commenting on the formation of a regional security system for southeastern Europe, the minister said that a multinational EU battle group set up by Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus for handling emergencies would be operational on July 1 and that this was the first time that Cyprus would participate operationally in a European security and defence.

    [10] Deputy Panos Kammenos appointed OSCE Special Representative

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wednesday congratulated Greek deputy and president of Parliament's National Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee, Panos Kammenos, who is also Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), on his appointment by the president of OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly, Goran Lennmarker, as his Special Representative for the Combating of Terrorism.

    According to a foreign ministry press release, the new Special Representative will constitute a point of contact of the Parliamentary Assembly with OSCE's other agencies on terrorism issues, he will observe the relevant international developments and submit subsequent reports.

    [11] Austrian President Fischer due on state visit

    Austrian President Heinz Fischer is due to arrive Athens on Saturday for a four-day state visit, at the invitation of Greece's President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, it was announced on Wednesday.

    [12] Gov't on Jerusalem Patriarchate

    The government spokesman on Wednesday again reiterated Athens' unwavering support for Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, stressing that the Greek government "fully backs the institution of the Patriarchate and the Patriarch. Everyone must respect religious freedoms and the Patriarchate's autonomy".

    Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also said that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Deputy FM Theodoros Kassimis have contacted all the parties involved in the latest issue related to the Patriarchate.

    [13] U.S. Embassy officially opens new office annex

    The brand new annex office building of the U.S. Embassy in Athens was officially opened on Wednesday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the gardens surrounding the new compound in brilliant May sunshine. The ribbon-cutting was carried out by U.S. Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis and the director of the U.S. State Department's Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) General Charles E. Williams.

    Welcoming those present, among them Greek Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, the ambassador congratulated all those that contributed to the construction of the new marble-faced building situated directly behind the older Embassy, noting that its multinational workforce was an indication of the dynamism of the Greek economy and its labour market.

    The decision to invest in the new office spaces was an indication of the United States' commitment to strong ties between Greece and the U.S. and its dedication to expanding them, he added.

    Following a keynote address and dedication of the new annex by General Williams, the gathering was addressed by Valinakis, who noted that the new, state-of-the-art building reflected the needs and security requirements of one of the most important foreign diplomatic missions in Athens.

    In his remarks, the minister stressed that Greece desired bilateral relations with cooperation, mutual understanding and a spirit of partnership in areas of common interest. Switching to Greek, he also emphasised Greece's geostrategic position as the crossroads between three continents and its potential role as a factor for peace and stability in the surrounding regions.

    In addition to the new office annex, the project also included construction of a parking garage, entrances to the compound, a fuel station, barracks for U.S. Marines, a swimming pool and basketball courts and extensive landscaping.

    The ambassador emphasised the new buildings "green" credentials, not least the extensive plantings of some 85 trees and other drought-resistant native plants in greenspace covering 5,613 square metres - roughly the size of a football field - on the 1.3-hectare site. Other environment-friendly features include a low-flow irrigation system and plumbing fixtures, recycling facilities and low-emission construction materials.

    The additional office space will allow the Embassy to bring into the compound employees that had been working in leased spaces up until now, including the Information Resource Center that offers reference materials and access to a series of U.S. databases to Greek government officials, journalists, researchers and others seeking research and reference material on the U.S.

    It will also house the Embassy's consular section and Commercial Service, the Department of Agriculture, Drug Enforcement Agency, Transportation Security Administration, Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), General Services Office and the Agora multi-purpose conference space.

    Art is not entirely subordinated to functionality in the new building, however. Apart from its classic, modern exterior that blends with its surroundings and the distinctive design of the next-door Walter Gropius building, it also features a 20 metre garden sculpture by U.S. artist Michael Singer in marble, pre-cast concrete and metal that emerges from the landscaping, providing seating and elements of slowly coursing water. The sculpture's materials and textures are designed to allude to archaeological discoveries related to Greek culture while the whole is visible from various points of the Embassy compound. Within the new annex is a gallery that houses an art collection of work by 15 Greek or Greek-American artists.

    The entire project was undertaken by a U.S. contractor, using U.S.-based architectural and engineering firms, with the Greek firm Pantechniki as subcontractor and a 1,000-strong mostly Greek workforce. The total cost was 78 million dollars, while construction time was 26 months and 900,000 person-hours.

    [14] Former CIA chief George Tenet speaks of N17 terrorist group

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Former CIA chief George Tenet, speaking to the National Greek Channel of America on Wednesday, said that "I believe that a great deal of progress has been achieved in combatting terrorism in Greece."

    Replying to a question by the channel's director Dimitris Kastanas, Tenet said "during my service at the CIA we cooperated closely with the Greek authorities and we tried to give them the best that we could from the point of view of information and evidence."

    Asked by Kastanas if, according to the evidence he has, he believes that all the members of the November 17 terrorist organisation have been arrested, the former CIA chief said that "I have no answer to this question. Only the Greek government and the Greek officials can reply. I don't know what evidence exists now, but I believe that a great deal of progress has been achieved on this issue."

    [15] SAE tables positions on voting by overseas Greeks

    The directorate of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) tabled its positions on voting by overseas Greeks and the relevant law on the exercising of their voting right, on Wednesday in a letter addressed to relevant ministers and opposition parties.

    Expressing satisfaction over the Greek government's initiative on voting by overseas Greeks, as well as over its support by the main opposition party, SAE President Stefanos Tamvakis said that the enactment of the voting right for overseas Greeks will strengthen organised Hellenism abroad and will bring overseas Greeks closer to the motherland.

    He added that the vote of overseas Greeks must not be an issue of partisan exploitation since overseas Hellenism sees the issue as a national one and the implementation of this longstanding demand will constitute the beginning of modern-day substantive contribution to the Greek political world, Greece and Hellenism.

    Financial News

    [16] Joint GSEE-ADEDY delegation meets separately with Papandreou, Magginas

    A joint delegation of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union (ADEDY) met with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday, hours after a similar meeting with new Labour and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas.

    During his meeting with the delegation, Papandreou repeated his charge of a "raid" against state-run pension funds' reserves, as the ongoing "bonds affair" dominated talks between the two sides.

    The unionists presented their plan for the annulment of a controversial structured bond purchased by the civil servants' supplementary fund, which garnered Papandreou's approval.

    Finally, he again called on the government to release a detailed list on similar bond purchases.

    Following the joint GSEE-ADEDY meeting with the new minister, Magginas said his goal is to employ a policy of dialogue and understanding with the trade unions based on solving wage-earners' and pensioners' problems.

    Magginas was also presented with the unions' plan to return the funds spent for the bond's purchase.

    [17] FinMin Alogoskoufis to address conference in Milan

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis departed on Wednesday evening for Milan, where on Thursday he will be a speaker at a conference organised by Bocconi University, president of which is former EU Commissioner Mario Monti.

    The theme of the conference is "Political obstacles in economic reforms: Why is it so difficult for the spectrum of the competitive markets in Europe to be broadened".

    The Greek minister will speak on "Which are the political obstacles for the economic reforms in Europe and how they can be overcome".

    [18] Bank of Greece rejects appeal for FBBank buyout

    Aspis Bank announced on Wednesday that the Bank of Greece, in a document issued on the same day referring to a decision by the Bank and Credit Issues Committee, rejects its appeal for the buyout of 51 percent of FBBank.

    The announcement added that Aspis Bank will continue its autonomous development course through an organic expansion.

    [19] Greek-Jordanian business forum

    A Greek-Jordanian business forum aimed at promoting investment and commercial cooperation between the two countries will take place in Thessaloniki on May 14.

    The forum is organized by the Exporters' Association of Northern Greece (SEBE), in cooperation with the Jordanian Businessmen Association, with the support of the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace.

    Construction, pharmaceuticals, drinks and food, machinery, automobiles and tourism will be the sectors most emphasized in the forum.

    [20] Greek business delegation in Cairo

    The Association of Hellenic Industries successfuly completed a series of business meetings in Egypt as part of a business visit in Cairo, May 7-8.

    During their stay in Cairo, the Greek business delegation had a series of meetings with Egyptian enterprises. The delegation comprised of representatives from 12 enterprises in the food, chemicals, metals, building materials, farm machinery, tobacco, information and services sectors.

    The Association of Hellenic Industries also discussed with its Egyptian counterpart ways to promote bilateral actions, such as a series of contacts during an official visit by Egypt's Industry and Commerce minister to Athens in June and an activation of an Hellenic-Egyptian Council.

    The Greek employers' union said the Egyptian market was interesting to Greek enterprises because of its population, low labour cost, the existence of natural gas resources and a competitive electricity cost, organised infrastructure in the ports of Alexandria, Suez and Port Said and the country's geographical position. The announcement also noted the traditional presence of Greeks in the country and Egyptians' friendly attitute towards Greeks.

    [21] EUMU to hold conference for SMEs in Athens in May

    The European Conference of Small and Medium Size Enterprises of EUMU Europe will be held in Athens on May 18-19 on the theme "The social and business image of Small and Medium Size Enterprises in an enlarged European Union:Competitiveness, Extroversion and Innovations, the necessary preconditions for progress," under the auspices of the development ministry.

    Officials from the political and business world have been invited to participate in the conference, as well as representatives of the European Parliament. The conference's official inauguration will be carried out by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, who will be given the European Diploma of Honourable Recognition of his work.

    Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, EUMU Hellas President Dimitris Maos said that the holding of the EUMU conference in Athens "will constitute a very serious incentive for an overall awakening and mobilisation of Greek small and medium size enterprises."

    [22] Synaspismos leader visits PPC plant in Ptolemaida

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Economy (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos on Wednesday visited the Public Power Corporation's (PPC) plant in Ptolemaida, northern Greece.

    He accused the government of "a lack of planning" regarding policy in the energy sector.

    "The deregulation of the energy market is only for the private individuals and not for the PPC," Alavanos said and criticised the corporation's leadership because "it buys electric energy from neighbouring countries expensively and sells it cheaply to major consumers."

    This conduct, he commented, "reminds one of the logic of the 'structured bond'."

    The Syanspismos leader said he supported "the modernisation of the PPC's plants and the use of natural gas, in parallel with lignite, for the restriction of the repercussions on the environment."

    [23] Deputies visit Hellenic Aerospace Industry

    The members of Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on Tuesday visited the installations of the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB), at Tanagra, north of Athens.

    EAB is Greece's biggest defence and aerospace company.

    The deputies visited the company's productive units and were briefed by the board's president Kyriakos Linakis and managing director Tassos Filippakos on current developments, future plans and EAB's programmes.

    The members of Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee stated that they are prepared to promote EAB's activities internationally through their contacts with the members of corresponding parliamentary committees of other countries.

    At the same time, they ascertained that EAB is gradually being converted into an economically healthy company of high technology and as an important export agency with interna-ional recognition and prestige.

    [24] Sidenor company increases turnover, profit-making

    The consolidated sales of the Sidenor company increased by 37 percent and amounted to 381 million euros in the first quarter of 2007. Pre-tax profits totalled 52.6 million euros, increasing by 150 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2006, while pre-tax profits of financing and investments results and depreciation (EBITDA) reached 71.5 million euros, increasing by 80 percent.

    Consolidated net profits, after taxes and minority rights, amounted to 35.5 million euros, as against 12 million euros (increasing by 196 percent), meaning 0.370 per share.

    [25] Homeric DS buys 51.82 pct in Elmec Sport

    Homeric Department Stores, a member of Laskaridis Group, on Wednesday said it had acquired a 51.82 percent majority stake in Elmec Sport at a price of three euros per share, after an agreement with Elmec Sport's two main shareholders, Sam and Lucy Fais.

    Completion of the transaction is due to approval by Greek competition authorities. The Fais Family decided to re-invest in the company and thus after completion of the transaction Homeric DS. SA will be controlled by Laskaridis Group (76 pct) and Fais Family (24 pct).

    The company is expected to submit a public offer for the purchase of the remaining shares in Elmec Sport.

    [26] Marfin Popular Bank says profits up 147 pct in 1st quarter

    Marfin Popular Bank on Wednesday reported a spectacular 147 pct increase in its after tax and minorities profits to 170.3 million euros in the first quarter of 2007, compared with the same period last year, and said net interest revenues rose 47 pct to 163 million euros.

    Operating revenues jumped 54 pct in the January-March period to 327.2 million euros, of which 277.2 million euros were repeated organic revenues. Operating earnings rose 75.4 pct to more than 126 million euros, while including proceeds from the sale of equity stakes in Hellenic Bank and Universal Life, net profits totaled 170.3 million euros.

    Loans rose 33 pct to 13.4 billion euros, while saving deposits were up 25 pct to 17.1 billion euros.

    Marfin Popular Bank said it was revising its business plan for the period 2007-2009, to adjust more correctly with strong growth in profitability. The target for this year's profits was raised from 360 million euros to 420 million. The revised business plan will be presented in London, May 17.

    Commenting on the 1st quarter results, Andreas Vgenopoulos, chief executive of Marfin Popular Bank, said they reflected mainly the dynamism created by the merger of three banks, the group's human resources' enthusiasm, the success of new products and an upgraded recognition of the bank.

    [27] Eurobank reports 29.6 pct increase in 1st quarter net profits

    Eurobank on Wednesday reported a 29.6 percent increase in its consolidated net profits to 203.8 million euros in the first quarter of 2007, compared with the same period last year, a quarterly record for the Group.

    Assets rose 22 pct to 56.6 billion euros at the end of March 2007, while outstanding loans in Greece rose 21 pct and in Southeastern Europe by 94 pct over the same period. New loans totaled 1.4 billion euros in Greece and 669 million euros in Southeastern Europe in the first three months of the year, with loans reaching 37.5 billion euros, up 30.3 pct. Loans to households jumped 28.2 pct to 17.6 billion euros and loans to businesses jumped 32.1 pct to 19.8 billion euros.

    Eurobank said its loan portfolio quality improved further, with the non-performing loans/total loans ratio falling to 2.65 pct, from 3.02 pct in the first quarter of 2006.

    Savings deposits (excluding repos) rose 27.3 pct to 26.1 billion euros, while private banking capital rose 7.5 pct to 7.5 billion euros.

    Earnings from activities abroad totaled 7.0 million euros in the January-March period, fom 2.8 million in 2006, with net earnings (excluding new activities in Poland, Ukraine and Turkey) totaling 16.2 million euros up 138 pct.

    Eurobank said an operating merger between Post Bank and DZI Bank in Bulgaria was expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2007, while in Serbia a merger with NSB was completed and Eurobank reached an agreement to buy 74.2 pct in Prospera Securities AD Beograd.

    In Poland, its branch network jumped to 151 units in the first quarter, from 130 at the end of 2006, in Turkey the purchase of 70 pct in Tekfenbank was completed as the acquisition of 99.34 pct in Universal Bank in Ukraine.

    [28] Proton Bank's economic results in first quarter

    Proton Bank SA announced on Wednesday that it is on an upward course since the expansion of its work is being strengthened, also following the completion of Omega Bank SA's absorption.

    The Bank, as it was noted, is proceeding rapidly towards its next development stage, that of balanced development and enlargement, implementing the development of its network of branches and boosting its holdings in all sectors that it is active in.

    The Bank's consolidated gross revenues (turnover) amounted to 52,201 thousand euros in the first quarter of the year (31.3.2006, 20,793 thousand euros). At Bank level gross revenues (turnover) amounted to 39,702 thousand euros (31.3.2006, 17,313 thousand euros).

    The consolidated net pre-tax profits totalled 13,102 thousand (31.3.2006, 15,246 thousand), while the consolidated net post-tax profits amounted to 11,343 thousand (31.3.2006, 13,678 thousand).

    [29] Vivartia to return capital to shareholders, to issue convertible bond

    A Vivartia Group annual general shareholders' meeting on Wednesday approved a board plan to return capital to shareholders and to issue a convertible bond loan, as part of a strategy to reduce medium-weighed capital costs and maximizing share value.

    The shareholders' meeting approved a plan to return 1.25 euros per share to shareholders and to issue a 10-year convertible bond loan.

    Vivartia Group said pro-forma sales rose 7.8 pct to 949.7 million euros last year, while EBITDA rose 10.9 pct to 142.3 million euros and net profits jumped 54.7 percent to 49.5 million euros. Earnings per share jumped around 40 percent to 0.67 euros per share.

    The dairy and beverage sector reported a 2.2 pct increase in sales to 374.2 million euros in 2006 and EBITDA rose 20.8 pct to 60.5 million euros.

    The bakery sector reported a 16.8 pct increase in 2006 sales to 346.9 million euros, while EBITDA rose 23.2 percent to 50.5 million euros.

    The food and entertainment sector reported a 7.0 pct increase in sales to 156.5 million euros and EBITDA of 24.4 million euros (up 2.1 pct0.

    The frozen food sector reported a 6.3 pct increase in sales to 73.4 million euros, while EBITDA rose to 16.2 million euros.

    [30] Hellenic Petroleum says 1st quarter profits down 25 pct

    Hellenic Petroleum on Wednesday reported a 25 percent decline in its first quarter consolidated net profits to 55 million euros although it said that comparable net profits -after deducting the impact of reserves- totaled 53 million euros, up 14 percent from the corresponding period in2006.

    Turnover was 1.9 billion euros in the January-March period, down 8.0 pct, and pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) rose 3.0 pct to 102 million euros.

    Hellenic Petroleum attributed its 1st quarter results to an improvement in refinery margins, a 3.2 pct increase in domestic demand, a decline in international crude oil prices, a significant improvement in profits in its chemicals and electricity sectors and a successful programme to contain operation costs.

    The Group said investments totaled 33 million euros in the first three months, up from 17 million euros last year and noted that an oil exploration programme was successfully continuing in Libya.

    [31] Hellenic Exchanges to pay 0.50 euros per share dividend to shareholders

    An Hellenic Exchanges annual general shareholders' meeting on Wednesday approved a plan to pay a 0.50 euros per share dividend to shareholders. Dividend payment will begin Monday 21, May while the company's share price will be traded ex-dividend from Friday 11, May.

    Spyros Kapralos, chief executive of the Group, addressing the shareholders' meeting said 2006 was an exceptional year for the company with turnover up 60 pct and operating spending down 3.0 pct, leading to an 114 pct jump in net profits to 58.1 million euros.

    "Average daily turnover totaled 343 million euros in the stock market, up 63 pct, while net inflow of foreign capital reached 5.2 billion euros in 2005 and 5.5 billion in 2006," Kapralos said, adding that all these contributed in the significant improvement of Hellenic Exchanges' financial condition.

    He stressed that the board remained focused on boosting credibility and transparency in the Greek market and creating added value for its shareholders. "The improvement and strengthening of the Group's position will be based on its development into a modern European stock market with a healthy and stable production of revenues, and on its autonomous development and its leading strategic role in Southeastern Europe," Kapralos noted.

    [32] Edison board approves thermoelectric plant in Thisvi

    The board of the Italian Edison S.p.A. company convened on Wednesday and approved an investment amounting to 250 million euros for the construction of a thermoelectric plant of a capacity of about 400 MW in Thisvi, in the prefecture of Viotia north of Athens.

    With its participation in the project, the Edison Group, as it pointed out, aims at securing a firm and considerable presence in the Greek energy market.

    [33] George Rokas resigns as chairman of Rokas Group

    George Ch.Rokas on Wednesday announced it resignation from the post of chairman of the board and to resign from all executive duties in Rokas Group. In a letter of resignation G. Rokas said the decision was taken for personal reasons.

    [34] ADEX closing report

    Turnover rose to 153.724 million euros in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, which futures contract prices saw their discount easing.

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.33 pct and the May contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.43 pct.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 9,902 contracts worth 122.159 million euros, with 34,241 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 863 contracts worth 25.461 million euros with 1,631 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 5,060 contracts worth 6.104 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Eltech's contracts (576), followed by Eurobank (247), National Bank (331), Alpha Bank (484), Intracom (238), ATEbank (236) and Viohalco (156).

    [35] Greek stocks end flat on Wednesday

    Greek stocks ended Wednesday's session flat in the Athens Stock Exchange, reflecting lack of fresh incentives and directives in the market. The composite index rose 0.05 pct to end at 4,743.92 points with turnover a moderate 385.6 million euros.

    Sector indices ended higher with the Media (2.0 pct), Industrial Products (1.01 pct) and Personal/Home Products (0.90 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while the Travel (0.86 pct), Food/Beverage (0.69 pct) and Utilities (0.41 pct) suffered losses.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.01 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.36 pct higher and the Small Cap index ended 1.38 pct up.

    Hajioannou (19.88 pct), Ideal (19.82 pct) and Desmos (14.71 pct) were top gainers, while Viosol (5.56 pct) and Technical Publications (4.46 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 160 to 96 with another 48 issues remaining unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.48%

    Industrials: +1.01%

    Commercial: -0.26%

    Construction: -0.37%

    Media: +2.00%

    Oil & Gas: +0.38%

    Personal & Household: +0.90%

    Raw Materials: -0.16%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.86%

    Technology: +0.25%

    Telecoms: -0.30%

    Banks: +0.36%

    Food & Beverages: -0.69%

    Health: +0.61%

    Utilities: -0.41%

    Chemicals: +0.45%

    Financial Services: -0.41%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Eurobank, Marfin Popular Bank, National Bank and Alpha Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 21.94

    ATEbank: 3.84

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 19.66

    HBC Coca Cola: 32.50

    Hellenic Petroleum: 11.18

    Emporiki Bank: 22.18

    National Bank of Greece: 40.96

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 29.60

    Intralot: 22.70

    Cosmote: 22.36

    OPAP: 27.90

    OTE: 21.80

    Titan Cement Company: 42.62

    [36] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday totaled 2.781 billion euros, of which 1.482 billion were bid orders and the remaining 1.299 billion were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.35 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 0.243 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.43 pct and the German Bund 4.19 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were mixed to lower. National Bank's overnight rate dropped to 3.71 pct from 3.84 pct on Tuesday, the two-day rate fell to 3.73 pct from 3.84 pct, the one-month rate was 3.86 pct and the 12-month rate 4.32 pct.

    [37] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.364

    Pound sterling 0.685

    Danish kroner 7.512

    Swedish kroner 9.267

    Japanese yen 163.65

    Swiss franc 1.661

    Norwegian kroner 8.199

    Cyprus pound 0.587

    Canadian dollar 1.510

    Australian dollar 1.646

    General News

    [38] Events in Athens commemorate WWII victory in Europe

    May 9th celebrations marking the end of the Second World War in Europe took place in Athens on Wedneday.

    A memorial service was held at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral, officiated by Bishop Pavlos of Neochorio and followed by a brief address by veteran leftist politician Leonidas Kyrkos.

    Wreaths were laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by representatives of various political parties and WWII-era resistance groups. The government was represented by Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras.

    The event was also attended by noted resistance figure Apo-stolos Santas who, along with Manolis Glezos, removed the Swastika from atop the Athens Acropolis in May 1941, just more than a month into the German and Axis occupation of the country -- considered a seminal act of resistance in German-occupied Europe at the time.

    [39] Event held in honour of Red Army fighters

    An event in honour of the Red Army fighters, who fought alongside the Greeks during World War II, was held on Wednesday at the Monument of the Anti-Fascist Struggle, at the junction of Athens' Syngrou and Filaretou Streets.

    Addressing the event, which was organised by Kallithea Municipality on the occasion of the anniversary of the end of the War, were Kallithea Mayor K. Askounis, Russian Ambassador Andrey Vdovin and deputy Gerassimos Arsenis. Also present were the attaches of the countries of the former Soviet Union, Russian and Greek veteran fighters and representatives of Greek resistance organisations.

    Both the Russian ambassador and the Greek deputy spoke of "an attempt to distort history," noting that "it will not succeed given that the mutual support of the two peoples is an undisputable fact, registered not only in the pages of the anti-fascist struggle of the past, but also in the present."

    A memorial service was held at the ceremony, wreaths were laid and the band of Kallithea Municipality played the national anthems of Russia and Greece.

    [40] Con'f on Pontian genocide in Thessaloniki

    The first-ever scientific conference focusing on the genocide of ethnic Greeks in the Pontus region (Black Sea coast of Asia Minor) will take place in Thessaloniki on Friday.

    Twenty-one delegates will address the three-day conference on subjects ranging from the political situation in the Near East in early 20th century, the intellectual, social and economic life in the Black Sea region and the genocide of roughly 350,000 Pontians.

    [41] Babioniotis to visit Australia

    Athens University former rector, Professor George Babiniotis, begins a two-week visit Australia on Friday, as a Visiting Professor of the La Trobe University's National Centre for Hellenic Studies.

    Babiniotis arrives in Melbourne Friday, for a visit that runs through May 23.

    During his stay, Babiniotis will give three public lectures and hold two seminars, while he will also attend to seminars for educators, one organised by the Centre in cooperation with the Education Coordinator's Office for Greek-language teachers, and one organised by the Centre in cooperation with the government of Victoria State.

    He will further visit schools, give interviews, and meet with Australian academics.

    [42] 'Alexandria Remembers' lecture at Egyptian Embassy's Cultural Centre

    The Cultural Centre of the Embassy of Egypt in Athens is organising a lecture on Wednesday, May 16, by archaeologist-historian Irini Chrysoheri, titled "Alexandria Remembers".

    At the lecture, there will be a presentation of the research programme of Alexandria's Library "Bibliotheca Alexandrina" which aims at the creation of an oral history archive on the issue of Alexandria as a cosmopolitan city.

    The programme's objective is for the registration of the oral witnessing of the people (foreigners and Egyptians), who lived in Alexandria during the 20th Century.

    The lecture will be held at the Cultural Centre of the Embassy of Egypt in Athens, Panepistimiou 6 (3rd floor), at 7:30 p.m.

    [43] Freight train carrying liquid fuel derails near Kilkis, ensuing fire extinguished

    A fire that broke out after the derailment of a Hellenic Railways, OSE, freight train in the region of Kilkis, northern Greece, carrying large quantities of liquid fuel, was put under control shortly after midnight on Wednesday after firefighters used fire retardant foam.

    The fire and explosions following the derailment on Tuesday evening hampered firefighting efforts but posed no threat to populated areas. However, the soil will be examined for environmental pollution.

    The causes of the derailment of the freight train, en route to Kosovo and carrying over 500 tons of liquid fuel, 400 tons of crude oil and 150 tons of gasoline, are still unknown.

    The accident occurred at the old railway station of Aspros, Kilkis a few hours after the train left the port of Thessaloniki.

    Firefighting forces will remain on the scene until the fire is completely out to proceed with the removal of the destroyed train cars.

    [44] Industrial accident in SES Aghios Dimitrios

    A 42-year-old worker was fatally injured at the Public Power Corporation SA (PPS) steam-electric power plant SES Aghios Dimitrios in Kozani, northwestern Greece, when he was buried under cinder on Wednesday.

    The accident occurred during clean up operations and an investigation is underway by local police.

    [45] New diagnostic method for lung cancer

    Physicians have new methods of diagnosis and treatment of respiratory system diseases, particularly lung cancer, at their disposal.

    A diagnostic method using a bronchoscope allows doctors to pinpoint the problem while cell and tissue samples taken can help to determine with 100 percent accuracy if a patient has a malignant tumor, according to announcements made Wednes-ay during the 9th Post Graduate Seminar organized by the University of Ioannina Pneumonology Clinic on the island of Corfu.

    [46] Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' opens in Thessaloniki

    A screening of former US vice president Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth", on the possibly catastrophic consequences on the earth's environment stemming from the greenhouse effect, will take place in Thessaloniki on May 11, organised by the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece.

    The film shows a Manhattan's streets submerged in water in a few decades as a result of rising ocean levels -- a phenomenon that may affect large areas in South Asia, China and NE Europe, according to the documentary.

    [47] Dutch journalists visit the Peloponnese

    A group of Dutch journalists are currently the guests of the Peloponnese Region governor's office within the framework of a local tourist promotion campaign.

    Local officials stressed to the visiting journalists that the southern Greek region of Peloponnesus is a year-round tourist destination offering many options to visitors, and is among the most beautiful and historical regions in Greece.

    Basketball

    [48] PM received new 2007 Euro basketball champions Panathinaikos on Tuesday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis hosted a formal reception in honor of Panathinaikos Athens basketball team, the newly crowned Euroleague champions, at his Maximos Mansion office on Tuesday evening.

    Panathinaikos won the Euroleague Basketball Final Four 2007 championship after beating CSKA Moscow 93-91 at the indoor Athens Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

    It is the fourth time that the Athens team won the European championship. The last time was in 2002.

    Karamanlis greeted each team member separately, beginning with Coach Zeliko Obradovic.

    Panathinaikos president Pavlos Yiannakopoulos presented the prime minister with a team jersey featuring all the players' signatures.

    Weather forecast

    [49] Fair on Thursday

    Fair weather is forecast throughout most of the country on Thursday. Winds, northerly, northeasterly, light to moderate. Temperatures in Athens ranging between 16C and 29C and in Thessaloniki from 13C to 26C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [50] Cyprus came home when it acceded Europe, says President Papadopoulos

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Wednesday that the EU has a role and a say in whatever effort to find a solution which will be compatible with the acquis communautaire.

    He was speaking during an all day gathering at the International Conference Centre organized by The European Institute of Cyprus on the occasion of Europe Day, to celebrate the anniversary of Cyprus' accession to the EU and the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, under the general title ''All Together''.

    Addressing the gathering, President Papadopoulos said that EU countries are characterized by diversity, but all joined by the common values and principles that make up the EU.

    Recalling the Berlin Declaration of 25 March 2007, President Papadopoulos said that "we need to learn how to live and work together within the EU for the prosperity of all for the peace and the solidarity of our members, and perform our obligations as true members of the EU."

    "I am glad to say, that Cyprus has performed its obligations within the EU to the full. We participate in all the multilateral and all the other subjects which are carried out daily within the EU", the Cypriot president remarked.

    President Papadopoulos also said that the month when Cyprus joined the EU as a full member, "Cyprus came home when it joined the EU because it was European even before Europe started.''

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said that the "EU has a role and a say in whatever effort to find a solution which will be compatible with the acquis communautaire and values".

    Pledging Cyprus' commitment to the Gambari agreement of July 8 2006, President Papadopoulos said "we expect solidarity and support from the EU in getting this process. So our goal is the implementation of the July 8 agreement which will pave the way for a really truly reunified Cyprus and by reunification we mean the unification of territory, society, its institutions and above all its economy."

    In his speech, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus Themis Themistocleous described the day as a "special Day for Europe", noting that what Europeans most expect from the Union are constructive policies which can yield an effective institutional reform, to strengthen its capacity to act. He noted that institutions must be effective tools in delivering policies.

    In his address, Ambassador of the EU current Presidency, Germany, to Cyprus Rolf Kaiser recalled that in the past, a border was a border, where documents were scrutinized, but nowadays, the only sign indicating that an EU citizen has crossed national borders is the name of the country and a sign to reduce speed.

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

    [51] July 8 agreement is balanced, says Cypriot President

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The July 8 agreement is a balanced agreement, said here Wednesday Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, adding that if provisions of it are removed then there is a danger the whole agreement will collapse.

    In statements on the sidelines of a gathering on the occasion of Europe Day, President Papadopoulos said that "some might want the agreement to collapse", however "we believe that it is the only procedure available nowadays".

    Asked if the EU has fulfilled all its obligations towards Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said "yes", pointing out however that it depends what the term "EU obligations towards Cyprus" means.

    He said the EU has no obligation to solve the Cyprus problem and that the correct framework of negotiations is the UN.

    "God forbid we abandon this framework which contains many useful resolutions and the basis for the solution of the Cyprus problem, with the futile, in my opinion, hope, that another framework will be found to solve the Cyprus problem", he stressed.

    He added that by keeping the procedure to solve the Cyprus problem under the UN aegis, the EU has a word and say since the three protagonists, Greece, Cyprus and the UK, are its members, and the fourth protagonist in the Cyprus problem, Turkey, which "earnestly wants to enter the EU".

    He said it is natural for the EU to know that any solution found must comply with the acquis communautaire.

    Asked if it is possible for the July 8 procedure to continue when the Turkish Cypriot side is enticing foreign investors to purchase land in the occupied area of Morfou, President Papadopoulos said that it is for this reason the Greek Cypriot side states that the property issue is one of the fundamental issues which will be discussed at the working committees.

    At the same time, he said that we must "not disregard such actions which poison the atmosphere and might prejudge the conclusion of the property issue which is an issue which must be solved within the framework of an overall settlement".

    President Papadopoulos further said that "we challenge the return of the properties. I never said that Mr. (Mehmet Ali) Talat can take the two thirds and we will settle for the one third, just as it was provided in the Annan Plan".

    Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis, speaking after the cabinet meeting said "on the occasion of Europe Day, the Republic of Cyprus reitereates its dedication to the European principles and values and pledges to promote these within the framework of an overall effort".

    He said that Cyprus, as a "full and equal member of the EU, actively and constructively participates in all issues which deal with Europe".

    He also said that "further than that, Cyprus looks forward to the territorial, social, economic and institutional reunification, through a functional and viable solution of the Cyprus problem which will secure peace, human rights, welfare and progress of all lawful citizens of the island".

    Pashiardis noted that in the effort to find such a solution, the united Europe has a say and role and this is determined by those principles and values on which the European structure is based on.

    On July 8 2006, Papadopoulos and Talat at the presence of the then UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrabim Gambari reached an agreement providing for the concurrent establishment of working groups to address substantive aspects of the Cyprus problem and technical committees to deal with the day-to-day problems that affect the people, as well as Confidence Building Measures.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third.

    [52] Cyprus makes representations over FIR violations by Turkey

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said on Wednesday the Cyprus government has made representations to the United Nations, the International Civil Aviation Organi-sation (ICAO), and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) over recent violations of Nicosia FIR by Turkish warplanes, in the framework of a military exercise.

    As regards the Turkish intention to launch tenders for research regarding possible hydrocarbon deposits in the sea area around Cyprus, Pashiardis noted that "Turkey has no reservations on committing illegal actions".

    "We are not worried by the announcement of this intention as an effort for intimidation. What worries us is the difficulty faced by Turkey to withdraw from its addiction to illegality and to comply with international legality".

    Asked to comment Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's appeal to the residents of the occupied town of Morphou to make the area attractive for investments, Pashiardis said ''we will not follow Mr. Talat to his successive provocations and we will not get into a public dialogue about every issue he refers to".

    Pashiardis added that "the Turkish side can outline its positions on every aspect of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the ongoing dialogue based on the 8th July agreement so that these positions can be written down by the United Nations."

    "If Mr. Talat wants for his own reasons, to have an open dialogue on every issue our side will not respond. We only respond to efforts to promote the implementation of the 8th July agreement."

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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