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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-01-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Friday, 7 January 2011 Issue No: 3688


  • [01] PM addresses 'New World, New Capitalism' symposium
  • [02] Epiphany celebrated throughout Greece with traditional 'Blessing of the Waters'
  • [03] Fence on Greek-Turkish border addresses EU problem, DM emphasises
  • [04] Papoulias: Illegal migration a European problem
  • [05] Meeting on fYRoM name dispute on Feb. 9
  • [06] Bill on political party finances
  • [07] Greek authorities request Italian judicial assistance in terror case
  • [08] Winter sales begin Jan. 15
  • [09] 48-hour closure for 6 nightclubs over tax violations
  • [10] Another protest over planned landfill
  • [11] Protest held outside German embassy over WWII reparations
  • [12] Two foreign nationals arrested for drugs, weapons possession
  • [13] Illegals detained in Evros
  • [14] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] PM addresses 'New World, New Capitalism' symposium

    PARIS (ANA-MPA / O. Tsipira)

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou outlined the efforts being made by his PASOK government and Greece to exit the ongoing punishing economic crisis, adding that the struggle being waged is "leaving open wounds which, however, we are trying to improve".

    His comments came during the opening address to an international symposium entitled "New World, New Capitalism" being held in the French capital on Thursday.

    French industry, energy and digital economy minister Eric Besson, under whose initiative the two-day symposium is organised, greeted Papandreou at the opening of the event and praised him for the "fortitude and courage" with which he is facing the crisis.

    Papandreou, in turn, thanked Besson for the invitation to "such a high level conference", adding that he is fully aware that the invitation was due mainly to the struggle being waged by both himself and the country, a struggle that "leaves open wounds, and which we are trying to improve".

    The Greek premier noted that there are "three myths" that prevailed during the current crisis.

    The first "myth", he said, concerns Greece's debt, "which was not the cause, but a symptom, the tip of the iceberg". He added that "the real cause was the deficiency in management, the poor use of the resources, the unequal distribution of money and the clientele nature of governance..."

    The second "myth" concerns international markets and the immense concentration of fiscal power, as he stressed that the challenge is to make the marks work toward the common good rather that comprising a "tool for the concentration of privileges for the few".

    "In a globalised world, we need to regulate and check the power of the markets so that there will be greater equality," he explained.

    The "third myth", as he said, concerns "the impression that a (EU) member state can take measures on its own, that it was considered that there was no need for solidarity, or need for stronger governance."

    "But the issue is much more complex and many large economies have big problems," Papandreou continued, and stressed the need for greater European integration.

    Turning to the future of the economic landscape, the prime minister said that "the power is changing, it is heading to Asia and emerging economies ... The challenge for us is to resist the competition. We do not wish to compete with the countries in which a lawless labour market and miserable working conditions prevail. We want to have our own products, to invest in green development; in renovated structures, in quality and in social growth," Papandreou stressed.

    In that context, Papandreou clarified that the assistance to Greece and Ireland should not be considered "charity" but, rather, "gaining time to allow us to organise and to meet the challenge".

    "The assistance given to Greece and Ireland is not charity, it is something much greater that us. The challenge is a European one," he stressed, noting that the stabilisation mechanism concerns us all, and ensures greater transparency and equality.

    Papandreou put emphasis on Europe and the initiatives it needs to undertake, particularly regarding growth.

    He proposed interventions for strengthening the markets, control of the economic governance and the affirmation of the stability mechanism in the fiscal sector, noting that a Eurobond would provide economic stability and prosperity in Europe.

    Papandreou further spoke about the issue of the credibility of the rating firms, and called for fiscal discipline, ensuring social peace and more work, adding that whatever effort could not be at national level but at the level of the European Union, which "must not postpone the major initiative for development".

    "We need to open the chapter of growth and the related policies with the necessary tools," he stressed, noting that the markets will settle down only when they see political and social stability and growth in the EU.

    One of the tools for growth, he continued, was 'green taxes' and eurobonds, which he said would provide autonomy to the markets. "A strong EU would be able to positively influence and play a role in the wider area of the Mediterranean and the Middle East," he said.

    Papandreou also wished every success to the French presidency of the G20 in 2011, expressing support for the reforms it looks to.

    The Greek premier called on Europe to play the international role it deserves: "If we all work together, we can achieve a better, more just, more democratic and green world for our citizens and on our entire planet."

    "Greece is going through a tough period, but we are certain that this crisis is turning into an opportunity for change for us, for the prosperity of our people. I hope the Greek crisis will become an opportunity for Europe as well," Papandreou concluded.

    Working lunch with French counterpart

    Papandreou also held a working lunch with his French counterpart Francois Fillon in Paris on Thursday, during which they discussed economic developments, bilateral relations and matters related to illegal migration.

    Papandreou said that the two sides believe a stronger European governance is needed in the sector of the economy. Not only on facing the present crisis the eurozone is going through but also on strengthening the EU's presence everywhere: in its neighborhood, in modern technologies, competitiveness, in the drive for green growth, support of the infrastructures, transport and networks in Europe.

    "Our target is to assist in the convergence and competitiveness in Europe," Papandreou said.

    The two premiers also exchanged views on the illegal migration issue. Papandreou briefed Fillon on Greece's efforts and also the efforts with its neighboring countries, such as with Turkey, and reiterated the need for a re-entry agreement between the EU and Turkey.

    The further discussed bilateral matters. Papandreou said that the relations between the two countries are excellent, noting that France has supported Greece in the EU for the creation of the support mechanism that was necessary to give the country time to make the required changes and become viable, competitive and prosperous".

    The bilateral initiatives on the Mediterranean, matters concerning investments, collaborations in culture and changes in the education systems were also discussed.

    [02] Epiphany celebrated throughout Greece with traditional 'Blessing of the Waters'

    The religious feast of the Epiphany -- the Twelfth Day after Christmas -- was celebrated throughout Greece on Thursday with the traditional "Blessing of the Waters" Orthodox Church rite in ports, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and fountains in front of cathedrals. The ritual commemorates Christ's baptism in the River Jordan, termed the Epiphany by St. John Chryssostom (from the Greek word for 'manifestation', 'epifaniea').

    In Athens, the ceremony was held at the Kolonaki reservoir, attended by new Athens mayor George Kaminis and MPs from various parties, and government vice-president representing the government.

    The ceremony in Thessaloniki, officiated by Metropolitan Anthimos, was attended by the new mayor Yiannis Boutaris and political party representatives, with the government represented by national defence minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    In Piraeus, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece officiated at the ceremony in the country's largest port. The government was represented by Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fishing minister Yiannis Diamantidis, and was also attended by main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis, numerous officials, and political party MPs.

    Epiphany, the coming of the light, means that the darkness leaves and optimism comes, Samaras said, adding that this was his wish for the Greek people in these difficult hours, and chiefly for the country.

    Karatzaferis wished that the blessing of the waters of the Aegean will reach all the way to Erzurum (in Turkey, where Prime Minister George Papandreou will attend a conference of Turkish ambassadors by special invitation) on Friday), and that the Greeks will not find themselves before faits accomplis in the Aegean.

    Diamantidis, in turn said that the baptism of Christ and manifestation of the Holy Trinity was being celebrated, and the world was brought into the light, and sent the message that "with a plan, with enlightenment, vision and optimism, we are moving forward strongly".

    [03] Fence on Greek-Turkish border addresses EU problem, DM emphasises

    "Our country, which is the main gateway for non-legal migrants toward the European Union, is acting on behalf of the Union and the other countries of Europe must have the sense that we are handling this huge European problem in their name," Greek Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday, in reply to questions concerning plans for a fence that Greece intends to put up along its land border with Turkey.

    Comments on the planned fence were also made by Turkish Minister of State Egemen Bagis, in charge of Turkish accession talks with the EU, who noted that the fence's construction did not target Turkish citizens but illegal migrants that formerly entered the EU via Morocco, Algeria and Portugal but were now entering via Greece and Turkey.

    "The construction of a wall on the Greek-Turkish border will not be a solution but simply transfer the problem elsewhere," he said.

    [04] Papoulias: Illegal migration a European problem

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias stressed that illegal migration is a European problem, and sent clear messages to the EU and to Turkey for confrontation of the issue, in a statement in the Evros region where he attended Epiphany celebrations on Wednesday.

    Papoulias called on the EU to apply an "integrated policy" on the issue, and on Turkey to control its borders and "immediately and tangibly" implement the re-entry protocol between Greece and Turkey.

    The Greek President stated that "the efforts of those who want to escape absolute party, seeking a better life elsewhere, is a deeply human issue".

    However, he added, "for Greece, the massive illegal migration is also a national issue".

    "From here, Evros, every day a veritable village of 200-300 illegal migrants is added daily to the country. It is our duty to unite our efforts, with determination, at all levels -- national, European and bilateral -- to confront the problem," Papoulias continued, noting that 80 percent of illegal migration to the EU enters through Greece, and "this cannot continue".

    "It is a European problem. The European Union must adopt and implement an integrated policy on illegal migration and asylum. I call on Turkey to collaborate constructively with the EU, to control its borders and to immediately and tangibly implement the Greece-Turkey Re-entry Protocol," Papoulias concluded.

    [05] Meeting on fYRoM name dispute on Feb. 9

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou)

    United Nations special envoy Matthew Nimetz, the mediator in the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), has invited representatives of the two sides to attend a meeting on the issue at the UN headquarters in New York on February 9, the UN announced on Thursday.

    Further details about the meeting will be released closer to the date when it takes place.

    [06] Bill on political party finances

    Interior and e-Governance minister Yiannis Ragoussis announced on Thursday that the legal framework regulating political party finances will be changed, aiming at the country's exit from the "multiple crisis" and the "reform of the state and the political system, with a blow against black money and halting the tendency of disdain of politics and politicians by the citizens".

    Radical improvement of the control of the finances of the parties and MPs, more rigid administrative sanctions, change of the system of checking the 'source of wealth', reduction of the size of the regular and electoral state funding of political parties, proper and transparent economic management for all the revenues and expenditures of the parties, and obligatory uploading of these on the parties' websites, are only a few of the interventions that are expected to bring deep-rooted changes to the way in which the parties are funded, Ragoussis told reporters.

    [07] Greek authorities request Italian judicial assistance in terror case

    Greek appeals court magistrates handling terrorism cases have asked for the assistance of Italian judicial authorities investigating the terror group "Lambros Fountas Cell" of the Informal Federation of Anarchy (FAI). Greek authorities on

    Thursday revealed that they have requested details concerning the wiring of two parcel bombs sent to the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome a few days earlier. A similar request has also been sent by Italian investigators to their counterparts in Greece.

    The next few days the examining magistrates are expected to bring additional charges against suspects accused of sending parcel bombs to embassies in Greece. So far, two people caught in possession of parcel bombs have been charged with sending four of the parcel bombs found.

    Lambros Fountas was a self-styled Greek anarchist killed in a shoot-out with Athens police in March 2010.

    Financial News

    [08] Winter sales begin Jan. 15

    The winter sales period officially opens on January 15, but shops are already selling goods at discount prices to attract customers after a lacklustre holiday period.

    According to the Association of Working Consumers of Greece, the reduction in real incomes and pensions, rising unemployment and a higher VAT rate on staple goods have changed the everyday priorities of the consumers, and therefore winter sales are eagerly awaited by consumers this year.

    [09] 48-hour closure for 6 nightclubs over tax violations

    The financial crimes squad on Wednesday ordered the closing, for at least 48 hours, of six well-known nightclubs in the greater Athens for failing to issue receipts. A total of 15 nightclubs were inspected, with violations reportedly ascertained at 12 of the establishments.

    General News

    [10] Another protest over planned landfill

    Incidents broke out Wednesday night in Keratea, eastern Attica, between police and residents in continuing protests against the construction of a landfill in their district.

    The violence erupted on Lavriou Avenue, where locals have set up a roadblock, and spread to the local police station, which was besieged by protestors.

    Riot police used teargas to disperse the protestors, while homemade firebombs and rocks were thrown against police at both sites.

    Extensive damage was caused to six patrol cars and to a lesser degree to the Keratea police station late at night by persons wearing masks.

    According to police, a handful of hooded individuals attacked the police station at around 2 a.m., throwing firebombs and rocks.

    [11] Protest held outside German embassy over WWII reparations

    Dozens of people from the town of Distomo, in south-central Greece, held a peaceful candlelight demonstration outside the German embassy in Athens early on Thursday evening in support of their claim for war reparations, an issue now tabled at the International Court of Justice in The Hague ahead of a deadline in the case.

    Distomo residents had been awarded war reparations from Germany by an Italian court, which ruled that Germany should pay 25 million euro to relatives of the massacre victims plus interest from 1997. The German State has appealed against the decision at the International Court of Justice at The Hague and the Greek state now has one week to apply in order to be represented when the case is heard.

    Distomo was the scene of a massacre during WWII when 218 locals were executed as part of Nazi reprisals for the activity of partisans in the area.

    [12] Two foreign nationals arrested for drugs, weapons possession

    Police on Thursday arrested two fYRoM nationals who illegally entered Greece at an unguarded spot on the border between the two countries, near Mt. Paikos, with drugs and weapons in their possession.

    Police said the two detainees, aged 22 and 27, lacked travel documents and were arrested by Kilkis drug squad officers inside Greece.

    The detainees had been placed under discrete surveillance by police, acting on a tip-off on drug and weapons smuggling.

    Police found and confiscated 3.1 kilos of cannabis, a Scorpion submachine gun and ammunition in the possession of the two fYRoM nationals.

    [13] Illegals detained in Evros

    A foreign national was arrested and 16 illegal migrants were detained by police near the Ferres border crossing with Turkey in cooperation with FRONTEX officers at the Peplos region in Evros as the foreign national attempted to transport the migrants to another destination in Greece on Thursday.

    Police spotted the group of 16 illegal migrants in the Tycheros farming region and placed them under surveillance.

    After a 4-hour trek, the illegal migrants reached the town of Peplos, where two trucks were waiting for them.

    Police intervened, and arrested the driver, a foreign national, of one of the trucks, while the second driver evaded arrest and is wanted.

    [14] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The economy and economic issues mainly dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Thursday.

    AVGHI: "Toll Movement - Citizens angered by consecutive increases in toll rates and constant creation of new toll stations refuse to pay toll fees".

    KATHIMERINI: "The markets once again wary - Greek spread nears 1,000 points".

    LOGOS: "Tax-storm without end".

    NIKI: "Spectre of shutdown for businesses - 2011 a year of deep recession for commerce".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Nationwide mobilisation for action against the banks that loot the people".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS

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