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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Bakoyannis in Pristina, stresses support for Kosovo talks
  • [02] Greek economy to grow by 3.8 pct this year, FinMin says
  • [03] Papoulias briefed by interior minister
  • [04] Gov't on collective bargaining talks
  • [05] Stepped up traffic measures for 3-day weekend

  • [01] Bakoyannis in Pristina, stresses support for Kosovo talks

    Greece's foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Friday underlined Athens' support for the negotiations underway in Vienna to decide the future of Kosovo, during meetings in Pristina with Kosovo's leadership and political parties.

    She also underlined that the talks should take place without pressing deadlines, so that the result might have a solid basis, while she highlighted issues of security and stability in the region.

    Bakoyannis arrived in Pristina for the last top of a tour of Balkan countries that included visits to Sarajevo and Belgrade.

    Meeting Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu and the leader of Kosovo's main opposition leader Hashim Thaci, who heads the Democratic Party of Kosovo, the Greek minister urged reinforcement of a process for applying the international community's criteria and called for protection of the cultural heritage of the Serb minority, while underlining Greece's support for the European prospects of the western Balkans.

    Sejdiu pledged to respect the rights of minorities in Kosovo and stressed that he intends to seek good neighbourly relations and to promote Kosovo's rapprochement with Euro-Atlantic structures.

    Thaci, on his part, reiterated that "the will of the people for independence must be respected," and appeared convinced that independence for Kosovo would be achieved within 2006.

    During her visit, Bakoyannis also met the head of the UN administration in Kosovo, Unmik chief Soren Jessen Peterssen while a meeting is pending with Kosovo's former premier Bajram Kosumi, who resigned unexpectedly on Wednesday.

    Her agenda in Pristina additionally includes meetings with the chief representative of Kosovo Serbs Oliver Ivanovic - head of the Serb List for Kosovo-Metohija - and the leader of the ORA party Veton Surroi, while she is scheduled to lay a wreath on the tomb of the late Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova and visit the Greek command centre of NATO KFOR troops.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] Greek economy to grow by 3.8 pct this year, FinMin says

    The Greek economy will grow by 3.8 percent this year, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday.

    Addressing a conference on the Greek economy, organized by the British-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in London, Alogoskoufis said capital inflows by foreign funds totalled 5.2 billion euros last year, ?a fact underlining their confidence in Greek economic prospects?. The Greek minister also said foreign capital inflows in the Athens Stock Exchange totalled 1.1 billion euros in the first two months of 2006.

    The government's privatization programme for 2006 included a full privatization of Emporiki Bank, the sale of a further equity stake in ATEbank and the listing of Post Savings Bank and DEPA in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Alogoskoufis was the main speaker in a conference on "Greece, your strategic partner in Southeastern Europe: Investment prospects and business opportunities", attended by representatives of London's business community.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [03] Papoulias briefed by interior minister

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was briefed by Interior, public administration and decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday over a new civil servants code and as well as on a public administration operational plan.

    Papoulias later met with the presidium of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the largest trade umbrella group in the country, where he was briefed on the union's positions over a variety of issues.

    Following the first meeting, Pavlopoulos told reporters that the president was kept abreast of all matters concerning public administration, given that Papoulias places great importance on the effort being made for public administration to meet the citizens' expectations and the country's developmental course.

    Regarding the civil servants code, Pavlopoulos noted that major changes concerned the grade scale, transfers, training, and a disciplinary body.

    He also said that he anticipated that an agreement will have been reached with ADEDY (the civil servants' union) in the coming week, allowing for the tabling of draft that will meet with consensus.

    Regarding the operational plan, Pavlopoulos aid a separate one is being drafted ?so as to make significant changes towards absorbing Community funds," and with the main emphasis on e-Governance initiatives, which aim to reduce bureaucracy and provide better services for citizens.

    Meanwhile, GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos said his union's priority at present remains he signing of a national collective bargaining agreement and respect by employers' groups of sector-wide agreements, a reference to a recent announcement by the managements of Greece's six largest banks saying they would seek individual agreements, i.e. between a bank and its employees' group.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [04] Gov't on collective bargaining talks

    The government on Friday reiterated its position of backing dialogue between so-called "social partners", especially employers' groups and unions, as foreseen by the law.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros again stressed, nevertheless, that the government cannot and would not intervene in collective bargaining negotiations, while he dismissed calls for the government to get involved, illegally, as he said.

    Meanwhile, referring to an unrelated issue, namely, protests in some provincial communities around the country demanding their administrative autonomy from current local government entities, Antonaros noted that main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou "seems to have forgotten that the Kapodistrias (local government merger legal framework) was voted in by a PASOK government".

    The spokesman also told reporters that Papandreou, in an address to the union of municipalities (KEDKE) in October 2004, called for the government to solve the "Vrahasi issue", a reference to a small community on Crete whose residents generated the most virulent opposition to its merger within a larger administrative entity.

    "Serious politics is impossible with such poplarist approaches," he said.

    Vrahasi was one of four communities allowed to form their own administrative entity following a decision by the interior and public administration ministry days ago.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [05] Stepped up traffic measures for 3-day weekend

    Traffic police and authorities will be on high alert over the coming three-day holiday as tens of thousands of motorists are expected to exit the countrys largest urban areas, especially greater Athens.

    The most important measures includes an extra lane on outbound highways from Athens as well as added police patrols.

    Most trucks and heavy machinery are banned from national roadways beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and lasting until the same evening at 10 p.m.; and from 3 p.m. Monday until 11 p.m. the same evening. No ban is in effect for Sunday.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

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