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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-02-04

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens mayor Bakoyannis meets with Austrian FM Plassnik during visit to Vienna
  • [02] FM Molyviatis holds meeting of Greek envoys in Balkan countries to assess developments
  • [03] European conference on gender equality in politics opens in Athens

  • [01] Athens mayor Bakoyannis meets with Austrian FM Plassnik during visit to Vienna

    VIENNA (ANA/D.Dimitrakoudis) - Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis confirmed the substantial role Greece can play in developing a European crisis management policy, following the city's experience in staging the Athens 2004 Olympics, during discussions she had with Austria's Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in Vienna on Thursday.

    Bakoyannis and Plassnik discussed at length the possibility of member-states, local authorities or municipalities working together to address the problems that have arisen in Southeast Asia after the killer tsunamis hit the region on December 26, 2004. Furthermore, the two officials also discussed the Europe's potential in better addressing any kind of disasters.

    After the meeting, Bakoyannis said that dealing with disasters is a hot issue and one which Greece can help address after acquiring significant experience with the staging of the Olympic Games. This also applies to issues of security which requires tight cooperation among national and city authorities.

    The Athens mayor also met with Christoph Leitl, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. The main focus of their meeting was the promotion of Athens as a conference tourism destination, given the new infrastructure the Greek capital acquired after the Olympics. The possibility of attracting Austrian foreign investment into Greece was also discussed.

    Finally, Bakoyannis also met with Vienna Mayor Michael Haupl. The two discussed coordinating relief efforts to help tsunami victims in southeast Asia, as well as how to address social problems both cities face due to large number of immigrants that have moved to both Athens and Vienna.

    Bakoyannis was invited to Vienna by Haupl and Leitl and was to attend the Ball at the Vienna State Opera on Thursday evening.

    [02] FM Molyviatis holds meeting of Greek envoys in Balkan countries to assess developments

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Thursday called a meeting of all ambassadors representing Greece in Balkan countries and Turkey. The meeting, attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis and senior ministerial staff, was held at the foreign ministry.

    According to a foreign ministry press release, the basic objective of the meeting was to conduct an in-depth review and evaluation of developments in the Balkans taking into account the EU Council meeting that was held on December 17, 2004; Greece's status as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council; and its assumption of the presidency of the South East Europe Co-operation Process (SEECP) in May.

    Special emphasis during the meeting was placed on the European prospects of countries in the region and the impact of this on current developments and on the future of Southeast Europe.

    Molyviatis stressed that with these countries coming closer to Europe, pending issues may be easier to solve thus resulting in increased stability, prosperity and closer cooperation among the region's countries in an increasing number of fields.

    Valinakis focused on developments within the EU and the opportunities these present Greece for strengthening its role in the region.

    [03] European conference on gender equality in politics opens in Athens

    A European conference focusing on gender equality in politics and organised by the Research Center for Gender Equality (KETHI) opened in Athens on Thursday. The three-day conference concludes the programme "Equal participation in decision making: Women in the heart of Europe", which was realised within the context of the Long-Term Programme of the European Commission on Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

    The programme, co-financed by the General Secretariat for Equality by 20%, was to raise public awareness on the value of women's participation in politics, the economy and in society in general, according to KETHI President Meropi Kaldi.

    Gender equality is a top, national priority, Secretary General for Equality Eugenia Tsoumani emphasised, adding that the time has come for a broader approach to the issue. According to Tsoumani, the government's programme on gender equality includes a multi-dimensional approach by placing emphasis on increasing women's participation in the workforce and in dealing with domestic violence.

    Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Prokopis Pavlopoulos, also speaking at the conference, said that "we need to go beyond the goals set out by the EU which are minimum requirements, and we must make the most of international experience." He also emphasised that a more substantial constitutional amendment on gender equality must be made, but that a change in mentality on the part of both the state and the public is also required.

    "Democracy must not and cannot include gender, because it is a daily way of life through which freedom and creativity are expressed, something women are deprived of," Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler, Dean of the University of Europe said. "And if it is no longer a curse to be a woman, it remains a privilege to be a man. This must change," she said.

    The conference will run through Saturday.


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