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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-06

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 06/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Simitis and Pangalos attend summit in Dublin
  • EU external borders on the Greek agenda
  • Miltiades Evert re-elected New Democracy leader
  • New Parliament to be sworn in tomorrow
  • Athens, Skopje talks to resume tomorrow
  • September inflation stable at 8.5 per cent


    The European Socialist Party met yesterday in Dublin with the participation of Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou to discuss the positions to be adopted by the socialist parties at the extraordinary EU summit which got under way shortly after.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Simitis said the socialist leaders had agreed that employment was the first issue which should be promoted.

    ''In this respect, there is a proposal from the Irish presidency (of the EU) and we discussed ways of furthering it,'' Simitis said.

    The socialist leaders also agreed that any new Community treaty should contain provisions on the protection of the environment, transparency in procedures and greater democracy.

    The meeting also focused on the effectiveness of the European Socialist Party.

    ''The party will gradually find the way to become more effective,'' Simitis said.

    Shortly before the EU summit began, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said the meeting would deal with three major issues.

    ''Firstly, if and when Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) will be completed, secondly, the relationship between EMU and political union, and thirdly, the tactic to be adopted during negotiations,'' Pangalos said.

    Commenting on issues of particular interest to Greece, Pangalos said that Athens' position that the principle of unanimity should be maintained regarding major EU matters and issues relating to the national sovereignty of member states had ''gained ground'' recently.

    Pangalos also referred to Greece's positions on a common foreign and defence policy, stressing the need for a ''mechanism'' to deal with crises in the event that they cannot be resolved by peaceful means.

    On reports that France and Germany intended to create an axis of countries to constitute the nucleus of monetary union, Pangalos said Greece would vote against the proposal if it was raised at the summit.

    Also yesterday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the safeguarding of the European Union's external borders and progress in the Community's institutional functions would be issues of great interest for Greece at the extraordinary EU summit in Dublin.

    Asked whether Greece intended to block the enlargement of the EU with respect to countries of central and eastern Europe if substantial progress is not made in the procedure for Cyprus' accession to the Community, Mr. Reppas replied:

    "Greece in any case has such a weapon in its hands in the event that Cyprus' accession to the EU is undermined."

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) today reiterated a call for a referendum on the Treaty of Maastricht, accusing the government of following a dangerous policy by relying on the European Union and NATO for the protection of the country's borders.

    "It has been proven that the government's much-advertised goal for the Greece's borders to also become Europe's borders remains in the sphere of wishful thinking, while at the same time constituting a dangerous policy, by leaving the defence of national sovereignty to those who divide nations and peoples, the EU and NATO," a statement in response to the EU summit in Dublin said.

    "At Dublin, it was again re-affirmed that the revision of the Treaty of Maastricht will form a more reactionary European Union, dominated by the hard core of the big imperialist forces, the Franco-German axis, and with the peoples of Europe as their victims," the statement added.

    Miltiades Evert on Friday was re-elected president of the main opposition New Democracy party, edging ND deputy and former minister George Souflias and at the same time putting an end to two weeks of intense party infighting following ND's defeat in the S ept. 22 general elections.

    Mr. Evert received 103 votes against 84 for Mr. Souflias. There were three blank votes, one invalid, while two electors were absent. The party's 108 recently elected MPs, its nine Eurodeputies and 76 electors selected in polls earlier this week in the party's prefectural committees throughout the country voted in the election.

    Mr. Evert, 57, resigned from the leadership immediately after the party's electoral defeat became apparent, saying he took full responsibility.

    The new Parliament will be inaugurated tomorrow at 11 a.m. with the swearing-in of the 300 deputies.

    The ceremony is expected to be attended by the current and former presidents of the republic, former prime ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, the mayor of Athens, the armed forces chiefs, ecclesiastical officials and other dignitaries.

    On Tuesday, Parliament will elect its president by secret ballot, and on Wednesday the rest of the 15-member presidium.

    The three-day debate on the governmentYs policy statements will begin on Thursday, and will be concluded on Saturday evening with a roll-call confidence vote for the government.

    Direct negotiations between Athens and Skopje are due to resume tomorrow under the auspices of United Nations special mediator Cyrus Vance, as foreseen by the Sept. 13, 1995 interim agreement between the two nations .

    According to diplomatic circles, discussions between Greece's permanent representative to the UN, Christos Zacharakis, and the representative from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Ivan Tosevski, are scheduled to last for one day only.

    The same sources estimate that negotiations will be accelerated following Mr. Vance's return to New York after his 10-day visit to Bosnia.

    Inflation remained at 8.5 per cent in September, unchanged from the previous month, following a 3 per cent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as in September 1995.

    The CPI rise was due to increases in the prices of foodstuffs, rents and fuel, according to figures released on Friday by the National Statistical Service (ESYE).

    According to ESYE, inflation is at a point at which a further decrease is considered to be "difficult".

    The stability of the rate over the past two months indicates that measures taken to push down the figure are no longer enough by themselves.

    The rate is still three times the EU average.



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