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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek PM unveils policy priorities for farm sector
  • [02] Greek Education Minister pays respects at site of Kings Cross blast in London
  • [03] FM Molyviatis interviewed on PBS ahead of presentation at UN Security Council
  • [04] President Papoulias meets with MPs, Ombudsman
  • [05] No need for extra security, minister says after gov't discusses EU text on terror threat

  • [01] Greek PM unveils policy priorities for farm sector

    "Farmers know that they are not alone. The government stands beside them," Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos to discuss farm policy, Karamanlis presented the government's policy priorities for the sector, including the creation of local farm development centers in each prefecture, strengthening the role of an farm product promotion agency, creation of farm consultants, setting up an independent agency with the role of inspecting imported farm products, and drafting of a total of 13 surveys to study the impact on introducing a new Common Agricultural Policy.

    "It is a common view that the farm sector is facing chronic and serious problems. All citizens, and farmers most of all, know that in March 7, 2004 our government took over a farm sector at the brink of collapse despite the fact that the country has received huge sums from the EU in the past. The government immediately implemented a new farm policy aimed to achieve a restructuring of the sector, improving its competitiveness and adjusting farm production to changing conditions of a global market and consumer demands," the Greek PM said.

    Karamanlis stressed that the government has done a significant job so far, but added "much more need to be done" and urged for a change in attitude, for a new vision to face the challenges of a new era.

    Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos, speaking to reporters, said the ministry's policy priorities were to promote investments and to achieve higher EU fund inflows.

    Basiakos, on Monday, announced a significant increase in exports of Greek farm products in the first quarter of 2005. Exports totalled 659 million euros in the January-March period, up 25 percent from the same period last year, accounting for 21.9 percent of total Greek exports during that period.

    [02] Greek Education Minister pays respects at site of Kings Cross blast in London

    LONDON (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis) Greek Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou visited Kings Cross Station in London on Tuesday to pay her respects to the victims of the deadly blast that ripped through the station on July 7 - the most lethal of the four terrorist strikes against London's transport system the same day that left 52 dead and 700 injured, some of them critically.

    Outside Kings Cross, a memorial enclosure has been set aside so that members of the public can lay flowers in memory of the victims.

    Yiannakou, who is in London to attend an EU education ministers' meeting, deposited a bouquet of flowers and wrote a message in the condolences book, saying she had conveyed both the friendly feelings and condolences toward the British people but also the readiness of Greek authorities to support actions for policies both to prevent and contain terrorism.

    She said her presence at Kings Cross was a mark of respect for the people that lost their lives and their families, as well as the entire British people, and a message to underline the political will against terrorism.

    "I believed that, at this time, all those who think democratically throughout the world have the same definition for terrorism and can all work together politically, also. And this is an important aspect that may bring results in the long term," she said.

    The minister also pointed out terrorism was a form of violence that might affect anyone and that no one was entitled to say that terrorism did not concern them.

    "The public's agreement and a sense of the reality is needed. The international community cannot wait until the sum total of political problems in the world is solved in order for terrorism to stop. We must do something now," she said.

    The minister also underlined her personal concern on the day of the bombing, pointing out that there were a number of Greek schools operating in London.

    Referring to the EU Council meeting in London, Yiannakou said that education was currently a priority issue in Europe, with an emphasis on life-long education, in order to promote growth and the labour market, and on multilingualism.

    [03] FM Molyviatis interviewed on PBS ahead of presentation at UN Security Council

    New York (ANA/P. Panagiotou) -- Greece's foreign minister stressed that confrontation of international terrorism required international solidarity and cooperation, in an iinterview on PBS public television in the US that was aired Monday night, on the occasion of the foreign minister's visit to New York.

    The show's anchorman, Charlie Rose, in presenting Molyviatis, noted that Greece was chairing the UN Security Council for the month of July.

    Replying to a question on the issue of terrorism, prompted by the lethal terrorist attacks in London earlier in the week, Molyviatis stressed the unity of all the European countries, as well as their cooperation with the US in confronting the phenomenon.

    He also referred to 'Greece's experience' with terrorism, explaining that it had been of a different form and adding that the problem has been overcome and the guilty parties were today in prison.

    Molyviatis further noted that the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens had taken place in a secure environment.

    To a question on the EU's Constitutional Treaty, Molyviatis opined that the rejection of the Treaty by the French and Dutch people in relevant referenda in their countries did not mean rejection of the proposed Constitution, given that the French and Dutch voted with "other issues" of a domestic nature (i.e. immigration, unemployment, etc.) in mind.

    To a comment by Rose that Greece warmly supports Turkey's accession to the EU, Molyviatis stressed that Greece would continue to do so because Athens desired the EU accession of "our entire neighbourhood" in the Balkan region, including Turkey.

    He also underlined the need for the smooth continuation of Turkey's European course with the commencement of accession negotiations on October 3.

    Questioned on the planned reform of the UN, Molyviatis voiced support for the proposals for amendment of "key provisions of the UN Charter" that concern even the composition of the UN Security Council. Namely, the establishment of a special committee for the restructuring of countries following conflicts, the creation of a politically strong Council of Human Rights, the reform of the Economic and Social Council, and the "determination of the conditions for assumption of armed action by the Security Council, the international responsibility for (action in the case of) mass violations of human rights, and the obligation for development of cooperation".

    To questions on Iraq, the Greek foreign minister noted that the elections, sovereignty, constitution and security needed to proceed at a rapid pace so that that country would be able to stand on its feet again. On its part, Greece, he said, was contributing with economic assistance and the training of Iraqis.

    On the confrontation of the general problem of terrorism, Molyviatis said that the "causes and reasons" needed to be sought.

    Greece, as current president of the UN Security Council, was scheduled on Tuesday to present the theme "The role of the Security Council in Humanitarian Crises". The presentation will be made by Molyviatis, who will also preside over an open discussion that will follow the presentation.

    Also on Molyviatis' agenda during his NY visit is a working lunch later Tuesday with representatives of the Security Council member countries, and a meeting on Wednesday with UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

    Greece also holds the presidency of two UN Security Council sanctions committees on Sudan and the Ivory Coast, as well as the vice-presidency of the corresponding committees on Rwanda, Somalia and Al Qaeda. It further holds the vice-presidency of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

    [04] President Papoulias meets with MPs, Ombudsman

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received MP Vassilis Magginas, who chairs the standing parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and defence, and later with former finance minister Nikos Christodoulakis.

    The President later received Ombudsman George Kaminis, who presented him with the annual report on the activities of the independent authority.

    [05] No need for extra security, minister says after gov't discusses EU text on terror threat

    There was no need for Greece to step up security measures against terrorism, Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis said on Tuesday, stressing that Greece was a safe country and a safe destination.

    Vougarakis made the statements after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras on Tuesday to discuss a text on the European-wide terrorist threat that has been proposed for adoption by all EU member-states, which will be discussed during a meeting of EU ministers on Wednesday.

    He said the government examined the proposed text in light of existing security levels and the assessed threat from terrorism, while he reiterated that Greece was a safe country and that this was confirmed by day-to-day experience.

    "We stand by the European Union and the countries that feel that they are more under threat but we have our own standards, nevertheless," the minister stressed.

    Papaligouras, on his part, in response to questions on whether civil liberties and freedoms might be curtailed, urged reporters to wait until after Wednesday's meeting in Brussels, where the proposals will be examined and a position adopted.

    "Europe must give a joint answer to the terrorist strike in London, as though it had happened in every country," he said.

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