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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis heaps praise on Croatia's Euro-Atlantic progress, meets with PM Sanader
  • [02] Papandreou criticises government
  • [03] KKE: general education for all young people

  • [01] Karamanlis heaps praise on Croatia's Euro-Atlantic progress, meets with PM Sanader

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday reiterated Greece's support for Croatia's Euro-Atlantic course, after a meeting here with Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader.

    Karamanlis, who arrived in Zagreb on Sunday night on the first leg of a visit to Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, said bilateral political relations between Greece and Croatia were excellent, while calling for additional efforts so that bilateral trade ties reach the excellent level of political relations.

    Croatia, Karamanlis said, was ahead of western Balkan countries in the course towards incorporation into Euro-Atlantic institutions.

    Greece, he added, stood at the side of Croatia on its road to European Union accession, and considered "significant" the progress and reforms that Croatia has made in order to complete its accession negotiations.

    With respect to the membership criteria for joining NATO, Karamanlis said Croatia has made substantial progress, adding that Greece looks forward to the prospect of an invitation being extended to Croatia during the next NATO summit in 2008.

    He also said that he and Sanader discussed developments in the Balkans, with a particular emphasis on Kosovo, noting that Croatia's role was acquiring particular importance at this time, as it currently chaired the SE Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP).

    "Looking back on Croatia's 15-year course, from its establishment during the turbulent period of the break-up of Yugoslavia to the present, which finds Croatia on the threshold of the European Union, I cannot but express my admiration and congratulations for the progress accomplished," Karamanlis said.

    Sanader, in turn, said Greece was a firm supporter of Croatia's Euro-Atlantic prospects, and that premier Karamanlis had committed himself to backing Croatia for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

    Sanader also said he accepted an invitation by Karamanlis to visit Greece in the first half of 2008, stressing that he would be accompanied by entrepreneurs on that visit.

    Finally, the Croatian prime minister further stressed to Karamanlis that his country will complete preparations for joining the EU and NATO by the end of 2008.

    Karamanlis later met with Croatian president Stjepan Mesic, while afterwards he addressed a panegyric meeting of the Croatian cabinet marking the 15th anniversary of the country's independence.

    Caption: Karamanlis, left, with his Croatian counterpart Sanader in Zagreb on Monday, Jan. 15, 2007. ANA-MPA photo / G. Antoniou.

    [02] Papandreou criticises government

    Visiting the northern Greek city of Naousa in Imathia, central Macedonia on Monday, Greece's main opposition leader George Papandreou slammed the government's policies at home and abroad. According to the president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), the government lacked a serious and carefully planned policy for foreign affairs, while its policies in other areas were dominated by cronyism and patronage.

    "The government has missed enormous opportunities in Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue. This is something that burdens our country's agenda abroad and, of course, this has repercussions on the economy, social policy and trade," he said.

    Regarding local concerns about the dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over FYROM's use of the name 'Macedonia' - also shared with the geographical area spanning almost the entire breadth of northern Greece - Papandreou said concern over the government's views on the handling of foreign policy issues, especially the lack of initiatives, was shared by all of Greece.

    Noting that Greece had lost its former lead in the Balkan region, Papandreou stressed that this was more serious for Macedonia, which was adjacent to the new EU member-states, Bulgaria and Romania, whose borders had now opened and for which Greece should a carefully studied policy.

    This lack of planning also extended to domestic issues, where there was a lack of comprehensive and planned policies to promote development and benefit the citizens, he added.

    During his visit to the city, Papandreou met Naousa Mayor Tassos Karabatzos and other local officials, who outlined problems arising from the city's deindustrialisation and the resulting high unemployment, as well as problems faced by farmers, hoteliers and businesses.

    Challenged by local workers made redundant by the Klostiria Naousis textile plant over PASOK's failure to back a government bill introducing measures for the relief of those who lost their jobs, Papandreou said his party was against "charity" and wanted a comprehensive policy for the region.

    "Our own proposal is different from that implemented today by New Democracy. We believe in another way, which is a comprehensive approach for reconstruction of the region," he said.

    [03] KKE: general education for all young people

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday stressed her opposition to policies for education promoted by the European Union and Greece's two main parties, demanding the abolition of their "anti-educational" laws and free state education at all levels.

    Outlining her party's positions, Papariga proposed that all young people receive a general education up until age 18 with radical changes to the curriculum, the books and the way that schools operate.

    She demanded the withdrawal of the new books and programmes in primary and middle schools, describing them as "reactionary, anti-pedagogic and unscientific", while noting that they had been designed by the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and completed by New Democracy.

    She also proposed that the operation of senior high-schools or lyceums be made independent of the university selection process so as to remove class barriers and the premature selection of students and called for the introduction of public and free vocational schools for students completing lyceum studies, which would issue certificates that allowed holders to exercise a profession without any additional training.

    Papariga called for economic and scientific upgrades for teaching staff and greater democracy in the education system, with the abolition of "autocratic measures that prevent collective procedures and cancel free thought and action".

    KKE's leader also stressed the party's complete opposition to the foundation of private universities, proposing steady work with full rights for all, measures to support unemployed students and a reduction in the minimum age of retirement.

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