Visit the Infoxenios - Tourist information about Greece Mirror on HR-Net A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Monday, 17 February 2020
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-20

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Bakoyannis calls for 'cautious targets' at upcoming EU summit
  • [02] Papandreou: next elections will bring PASOK to power
  • [03] Greek statistical data greatly improved, Commission says
  • [04] Justice minister briefs premier

  • [01] Bakoyannis calls for 'cautious targets' at upcoming EU summit

    BRUSSELS (ANA/MPA - A. Aroni) Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday said that EU leaders should be cautious in setting targets for implementing the Lisbon Strategy when they meet for the EU summit later this week.

    Speaking to reporters after the EU foreign ministers' council held in Brussels, Bakoyannis said that it would be better not to set "quantitative targets" which might be difficult to implement immediately.

    She also noted that there was currently no agreement between EU member-states on this issue, while expressing hope that a "golden mean" for achieving agreement might be found at the Summit on Thursday and Friday.

    Regarding the European prospects of the western Balkans, which were discussed by EU foreign ministers on Monday, Bakoyannis stressed that the message sent by the EU must be clear:

    "Serbia needs the support of the EU, so that positive messages for the future will be written in the new page that is now turning," the Greek minister told the Council, while underlining that there could be no stability in the Balkans if Serbia was unstable.

    Regarding the situation in Kosovo, Bakoyannis stressed the need for a policy that provided protection for minorities.

    She also noted Greece's support for the liberalisation of EU visa policies for western Balkan countries that is supported by EU enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.

    Stressing that this was more a political than technical issue, Bakoyannis said that the EU should open avenues of communication with the people of western Balkan states.

    On the sidelines of the ministers' council, Bakoyannis held meetings with EU Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas and the Commissioner for Administrative Affairs, Audit and Anti-Fraud Siim Kallas, in order to discuss the promotion of Greek candidates to the higher echelons of Community hierarchy.

    "The Greek presence in the EU is excellent from the point of view of quality," Bakoyannis noted, while stressing that the Greek foreign ministry will do its utmost to support the chances of able Greeks to take over higher positions within the EU.

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

    [02] Papandreou: next elections will bring PASOK to power

    Addressing a gathering near the town of Amfilochia in western Greece on Monday, main opposition leader George Papandreou said that the next elections would bring PASOK to power because of a voter backlash against what he called New Democracy's "assistance to parasitic Greece, oligarchy and middlemen".

    Papandreou also referred to the problems faced by tobacco-growers - a key crop in the area - and accused the government of not having carried out any negotiations to support tobacco growers at the European Union, , thus losing ‚¨150 million "overnight".

    More generally, he accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of not making any effort to boost the agricultural sector during negotiations for the 4th Community Support Framework, unlike Portugal, so that Greece ended up losing funds for agriculture.

    Government spokesman reacts to Papandreou's speech in Agrinio

    In a reply on Monday to Papandreou - who on Sunday had called on Greece's youth to follow the example of protesting young people in France and become "rebels with a cause" - government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos reminded reporters of Papandreou's proposals in the run-up to the 2004 elections that young people should work without social insurance.

    "To dispel all attempts to distort the truth, Papandreou in Lavrio on January 20, 2004 had said that all young people aged up to 25, that were high-school or technical school graduates, should be able to be hired by any sort of business, without either the businesses or the young people themselves having to pay social insurance contributions. For university and technical college leavers, the age limit could be 29 years," Roussopoulos said.

    "These things were not said by Mr. De Villepin (the French premier backing the unpopular youth employment bill in France) nor the president of the Union of Greek Industry (SEB). They were said by the president of PASOK, who in a display of political surrealism is now calling on young people to rebel against him," the spokesman added.

    Noting that the government "was telling the Greek people the truth, tidying up fiscal indices with the smallest possible cost and had reduced unemployment below 10 percent while maintaining steadily high rates of growth and establishing conditions for a true increase in the income of Greeks," Roussopoulos drew unfavourable comparisons with PASOK, "which as government for 20 years had vastly exacerbated the current crucial problems of the economy and society and systematically lied to the voters and the country's European partners".

    In response to questions, the spokesman said that Papandreou was trying to "remove inalienable rights" that had been won with hard battles in previous centuries and could not just be scrubbed out in the 21st century.

    "I realise that PASOK is trying to correct its pre-election gaffe, which Papandreou recently repeated in Parliament. I do not think it can be corrected. He must come out and plainly state that he was wrong," Roussopoulos noted.

    He also referred to government measures to alleviate the plight of debtors who had fallen behind with loans saddled with very high interest payments, noting that the measures had benefited 63,220 debtors, of which 54,000 were farmers.

    Of these, debt write-offs came to ‚¨1.8 billion, of which ‚¨1.1 billion were farmers' debts, and the percentage of debts written off came to 70 per cent of the total, on average, the spokesman said.

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

    [03] Greek statistical data greatly improved, Commission says

    Greek authorities have largely covered any gaps and shortfalls in a system of collecting statistical data for the Greek economy, a spokeswoman for EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Amelia Torres said she did not wish to be involved in a political confrontation in Greece on whether the country fulfilled the necessary economic criteria to enter the euro currency, but stressed that everyone knew the significant reviews of Greek statistical data made in the past.

    ?Today, however, the situation has improved significantly,? Mrs Torres said, adding that community and Greek authorities were still in consultations over certain statistical data of local authorities and pension funds.

    The Commissioners‚ spokeswoman also reminded that since the first problems with Greek economic data were noticed, the European Union has adopted a wide strategy both in European and national level, such as higher authorities to Eurostat -the EU executive‚s statistics agency- so to be in a position to indentify faster and more effectively any such problems in the future, along with decisions taken by an EU Ministers‚ Council to boost the credibility of national statistics services.

    Mrs Torres said Greece‚s accession in the euro currency was agreed by EU heads of state on the recommendations made by the European Central Bank and the European Commission. These recommendations were based on economic data submitted by the Greek authorities.

    ?What is important now, is that Greek statistical data‚s quality has improved significantly,? the Commission‚s spokeswoman said, adding that the foundations have been placed to prevent any similar problems in the future.

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

    [04] Justice minister briefs premier

    Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras on Monday told reporters that a fugitive felon initially wanted for a drug smuggling conviction, but also implicated in the shadowy election and subsequent dealings of former Jerusalem patriarch Irineos, will be returned from Italy in the next few days.

    Papaligouras referred to the extradition of Apostolos Vavylis, a convicted drug smuggler that later surfaced in 2000 in Jerusalem as an aide and supporter of Irineos. The latter was deposed in June 2005, following serious charges of financial mismanagement, particularly the alleged covert long-term leasing of several Patriarchate properties in east Jerusalem to Israeli interests.

    The minister made the statement after exiting a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Papaligouras also noted that a cashiered former judicial magistrate implicated in an unprecedented trial-fixing scheme cannot remain in hiding forever. His comments referred to fugitive Antonia Ilia.

    Regarding another former fugitive charged in the same more-or-less case, Constantina Bourboulia, the minister said he believed the latter would soon realise that it was in her best interests to cooperate with judicial investigators.

    Bourboulia, cashiered as a judicial magistrate following charges that she accepted bribes to scuttle numerous probes into millions of euros worth of illegal stock market transactions during the heyday of the Athens Stock Exchange's bubble in the late 1990s, fled to France, from where she was extradited to Greece earlier in the month. She currently remains jailed without bond pending trial.

    Regarding his meeting with the premier, Papaligouras said he briefed Karamanlis on a draft bill aimed at combating domestic violence, a draft bill on speeding up the judicial process in administrative courts as well as a draft bill envisioning the creation of a judicial law enforcement corps.

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


    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright © 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    ana2html v2.01 run on Monday, 20 March 2006 - 17:30:20 UTC