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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-28

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papoulias cites support for Albania's EU prospects, refers to ethnic Greek minority's rights
  • [02] PM receives new Athens mayor Kaklamanis

  • [01] Papoulias cites support for Albania's EU prospects, refers to ethnic Greek minority's rights

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was the keynote speaker on Sunday at a New Year's event in Athens organised by the confederation of organisations representing people from the mountainous northwest province of Epirus -- Papoulias' ancestral home as well -- where he touched on relations with neighbouring Albania, Greece's neighbour on the Epirus frontier.

    In citing the neighbouring country, Papoulias said Athens fully supports Tirana's European prospects, which he stressed, however, will necessitate "complete respect of the Greek minority's rights".

    Papoulias, a former foreign minister in the 1990s and an architect of normalised ties with Albania following the collapse of a xenophobic Stalinist regime in that country, referred directly to the ethnic Greek community of southern Albania -- themselves identified as Epirots -- who languished in the neighbouring country during more than four decades under Europe's most isolated and authoritarian regimes.

    The president said the ethnic Greek community of Albania continues to struggle for its rights, "struggles that are more effective when done with unity and harmony".

    He also noted that Athens is doing everything possible to improve bilateral relations with the once impoverished country, which today boasts noteworthy growth rates.

    Greece currently hosts a large number of Albanian guest workers and ranks as among Albania's biggest trade partners and investors.

    Referring to the Epirus province itself, Papoulias said the goal is greater growth in rugged region known by that name since early antiquity.

    Caption: The president of the confederation of pan-Epirus organisations of Greece, Ioannis Zois, left, presents President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias with a commemorate gift on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2006, during a confederation event at the Peace and Friendship indoor stadium in coastal Athens. ANA-MPA photo / A. Beltes.

    [02] PM receives new Athens mayor Kaklamanis

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday received newly sworn-in Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, the former health minister in the current government, with the paramount issue of integrated waste management for the greater Athens area dominating the meeting.

    After the meeting, Kaklamanis said they had discussed issues that concerned Athens and local authorities in general, such as local authority funding and finances, payment of a tax on beer and an increase in annual subsidies to local government from the state budget from 5% to 7%.

    According to the new Athens mayor, Karamanlis backed proposals on waste management and on local government finances, promising to discuss them with the new leadership that will emerge after elections for a new Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE) board of directors in April.

    Asked if he would run for KEDKE's presidency, meanwhile, Kaklamanis said that the issue was premature.

    Regarding the Greek capital, in particular, Kaklamanis said he had asked that funds be immediately set aside in the budget for continuing the "Help at Home" programme that ends in May, as well as the transfer of funds currently managed by the environment ministry for the maintenance of drainage networks in Attica prefecture (the greater Athens area) to municipal authorities, who take over responsibility for keeping them unobstructed at the start of 2008.

    Kaklamanis, a radiologist by training and former state hospital department head, also briefed the prime minister on the progress of a twin redevelopment project in the district (Votanikos) surrounding the new football stadium and indoor arena for the Athens sports club Panathinaikos.

    Answering questions on the city's waste management woes, Kaklamanis said that a decision from Greece's supreme administrative court, the Council of State, was imminent regarding the creation of a new landfill site in the Grammatiko township (extreme northern Attica prefecture), while decisions were still pending regarding planned landfills in Fyli, north of Athens proper and below Mt. Parnitha, as well as Keratea, in eastern Attica prefecture.

    Until that time, he added, work would go ahead on a temporary landfill site. The mayor stressed that this was a huge expense but that there was no other choice, while noting that he had asked the premier to hasten construction of waste processing plants in the government's next four-year term.

    The City of Athens is the largest municipality and the most populous in the greater Athens area or Attica prefecture, which includes more than three dozen municipalities and hosts roughly half of the country's population and nearly two-thirds of Greece's economic output.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, left, is greeted by then health minister Nikitas Kaklamanis outside the ministry in this file photo dated Thursday, May 19, 2005. ANA-MPA / P. Saitas.


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