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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't: Greek-Turkish military flights moratorium in Aegean on July 1; FM receives top Turkish diplomat
  • [02] Greek economic competitiveness improving

  • [01] Gov't: Greek-Turkish military flights moratorium in Aegean on July 1; FM receives top Turkish diplomat

    Greece on Wednesday announced that a summer moratorium on military flights in the Aegean takes effect on July 1 within the framework of the long-standing "Papoulias-Yilmaz" memorandum.

    A foreign ministry spokesman, speaking during a regular press briefing, said the date comes after a delay this year in signing a relevant agreement between Athens and Ankara.

    Meanwhile, asked about a visit by former Turkish foreign minister and the current head of the Turkish assembly's EU harmonisation commission, Yasar Yakis, to the northeastern Thrace province, spokesman George Koumoutsakos said the "visit can take place without any difficulty."

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis received Yakis on Wednesday, the first day of his visit to Greece, with discussions focusing on Turkey's EU prospects.

    On his part, and in answer to press questions, Koumoutsakos noted:

    "Greece's positions on matters dealing with the Muslim minority of Thrace are well-known and established; our policy is also well known, and it will not change or be altered. That said, within the framework of a democratic state, a visitor may meet with whomever he wishes".

    Asked about the possibility that the visiting delegation of Turkish parliamentarians will meet with a handful of "pseudo-muftis" not recognised by the Greek state, or, a possible reference to a "Turkish minority", and whether such developments contribute to efforts at improving bilateral relations and are compatible with international treaties, the spokesman replied:

    "As far as the Greek government is concerned there is no issue of setting out conditions. What was previously mentioned was an encouragement, a clear message regarding the margins within which such visits should take place. The manner in which the Turkish delegation will move about, or what statements and meetings take place, are issues that the Greek government will evaluate after such have occurred. As every visitor to a democratic country, Mr. Yakis will travel in Thrace based on his own wishes. The Greek government will, afterwards, have the ability to judge and assess how this specific visit was conducted," Koumoutsakos added.

    The Turkish delegation departs for the Thrace region on Thursday and will return to Istanbul overland on Saturday.

    [02] Greek economic competitiveness improving

    Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday said he saw signs of improving competitiveness in the Greek economy. Presenting the annual report by the National Council for Competitiveness and Development, the Greek minister said the report showed an improving competitiveness picture in certain sectors of the economy (growth, employment, private investments, exports, shipping and tourism revenues) and stressed that the report was based on 2004 figures. Sioufas said more recent figures ?gives us more reasons to be optimistic over the future?.

    The Greek minister said economic growth reached 4.1 pct in the first quarter of 2006, investments rose 6.9 pct, foreign direct investments rose 10-fold to 422.9 million euros from 44.9 million in the same period last year, tourist arrivals rose 8.0 percent in the January-March period, inflation slowed to 3.1 pct in March and exports jumped 22.8 pct in the first quarter of 2006.

    Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of the Federation of Greek Industries urged for a joint step forward and called for the need for collective action and responsibility. He recommended that an experts commission would reconvene in five weeks to discuss three goals with a set timetable and secured funds: electronic governance, pension system and research-technology.

    Christos Polyzogopoulos, president of GSEE -Greece‚s largest trade union umbrella- recommended 11 actions to boost the country‚s competitiveness: knowledge society, investing in human recourses, mobilizing regional economy, shipbuilding, manufacturing of farm products, strengthening local societies, supporting the educational system, electronic governance, improving healthcare services and resolving a pension problem through combating contribution evasion and through a social dialogue.

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