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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-03-23

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Karamanlis appears adamant over Athens' defence of constitution article on media ownership, nat'l interests at EU level
  • [02] FM Molyviatis to meet with Bush administration officials during US visit
  • [03] Survey: Greece to attract up to 1.0 mln Chinese tourists by 2024
  • [04] Meeting held on immigrants in Greece

  • [01] Karamanlis appears adamant over Athens' defence of constitution article on media ownership, nat'l interests at EU level

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis emphasised in Brussels on Wednesday that his government will defend the Greek constitution and national interests, in reply to a barrage of press questions concerning the EU Commission's reservations vis-a-vis a constitutional article referring to media ownership.

    Karamanlis spoke to reporters on the second day of European leaders' spring economic summit in the Belgian capital, where talks focused on upholding the ground-breaking Lisbon Agenda aimed at dramatically boosting the 25-member bloc's competitiveness by 2010.

    The Greek prime minister reminded that repeated and lengthy discussions between Athens and the Commission have been going on for the past two years -- by the current and previous governments -- and have graduated to various phases, while noting that the issue of compatibility deals primarily with Article 14, Paragraph 9 of the Greek constitution.

    Moreover, Karamanlis underlined the government's interest over the issue's "political dimension", instead of only the "legal dimension", saying his government is serious about boosting transparency and combating vested or inter-twined interests in the country, a pre-election promise by New Democracy. In fact, he called the high-profile efforts towards this end a "main priority" for his government, in reply to a press question on whether Cabinet members erred in pursuing the media ownership cause.

    The government passed the so-called "primary shareholder" law earlier in the year in a bid to prevent entrepreneurs with controlling interests in the broadcast media sector from bidding on public contracts, projects and procurements.

    As far as EU-wide issues are concerned, Karamanlis said Greece welcomes the recent agreement to make the Stability Pact more elastic and credible, especially since Athens' positions were included in the revised pact.

    "What's important for us, however, is to reduce deficits and the debts we inherited," he said, while terming results of the Lisbon Agenda so far as "mediocre", although some progress has been recorded midway through the initiative.

    In terms of the all-important issue of Greek-Turkish relations, he reiterated that their course remains "difficult", two days after his meeting with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan here in Brussels.

    [02] FM Molyviatis to meet with Bush administration officials during US visit

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis was due to arrive in the US capital on Wednesday for a six-day long visit.

    Bilateral cooperation, the situation in the Balkans, the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations, Turkey's European course, trans-Atlantic relations and peace and democratisation in the Middle East will be the focus of discussion when Molyviatis meets with Bush administration officials.

    On Thursday, he will be meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and with Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor to US President George W. Bush. On Thursday evening, Molyviatis will be interviewed by CNN International at 11:10 pm, Greek time.

    On Friday, Molyviatis will be arriving in New York where he will attend the official ceremony and a reception on occasion of Greek Independence Day.

    The Greek foreign minister will also be meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday, with whom he will discuss issues concerning the UN, since Greece is a non-permanent member on the UN Security Council for the period 2005-2006.

    Following his meeting with Annan, Molyviatis will return to Washington where he will attend a special ceremony at the White House in honour of Greek Independence Day as Bush's guest.

    [03] Survey: Greece to attract up to 1.0 mln Chinese tourists by 2024

    Greece is expected to attract up to one million Chinese tourists over the next 20 years, a survey by the Institute of Touristic Research and Forecasts (ITEP) said on Wednesday.

    The survey, citing a conservative estimate, said tourist arrivals to southern Europe from China would total six million in 2024, of which around 800,000 to one million could come to Greece.

    ITEP said the number of Chinese tourists arriving to Greece could reach two million by 2034, up from 10-15,000 in 2004.

    The survey forecasts arrivals of 400,000 in the year 2014.

    ITEP said its forecasts were up 20 percent compared with other forecasts by the World Tourism Organisation and China's Tourism Institute, although it noted that policies to attract Chinese tourists would not be an easy and ordinary task since Greece was not attractive as a destination of a multi-country journey.

    The Greek institute said a high priority is to set up national tourism offices in China's biggest regions and cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, and to establish scheduled and charter flights between the two countries.

    [04] Meeting held on immigrants in Greece

    The need for shaping a common European policy for immigrants was raised during a public debate in Athens on Wednesday evening which was held at the initiative of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's youth organisation ONNED.

    Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis and his predecessor Michael Chrysohoidis joined voices in seeking "a realistic solution without myths and taboos" for the confrontation of the problem which is particularly acute in Greece.

    "As a country we are far from a clear immigration policy," Voulgarakis ascertained and congratulated ONNED for the initiative.

    The public order minister noted the lack of data both on the legal and the illegal immigration to Greece. He also dismissed the "myth" that immigrants were responsible for unemployment and crime in Greece.

    He further underlined that "it is not true and it is not proven that the immigrants disturb the country's social cohesion."

    Chrysohoidis agreed with Voulgarakis, noting that what is needed is "a common European policy" because the problem is European without however phobic syndromes.


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