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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-14
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM has working dinner with Austrian presidentPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday had a working dinner with visiting Austrian President Heinz Fischer. Prior to the dinner, the two men had held talks in private.
Earlier, President Fischer called a settlement of the political crisis in neighbouring Turkey on the basis of democratic principles, "which are of decisive importance for the European family" while spoking to reporters after talks with his host, Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
On Turkey's EU accession process, Fischer said it would be time-consuming, given that the country's progress in fulfilling EU economic and political criteria must be ascertained, adding that "it is even more difficult to predict whether, in the end, there will be some other form of (Turkey's) association with the EU".
"What we are doing now, however, is supporting the entire process, as are all the other EU member countries," he said.
Papoulias, replying to a question on the Kosovo issue, said it was a "very important European problem, and not just a Balkan one," adding that "a solution must be found that is satisfactory to both sides, not one 'imposed by above' but the product of agreement between the two sides".
Such a solution, the Greek President continued, "must respect the human rights of minorities, and not be a seasonal one ... there should be no time restrictions, but instead we should have all the time to work out proposals that will result in such a solution that will not create problems".
"There must be an agreement of all the European countries as well as the UN Security Council members," he added.
Fischer, questioned on the FYROM name issue, noted that the country had become a UN member as "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)", adding that this matter should be resolved by Greece and FYROM.
On bilateral relations, Papoulias stressed that "if all the relations amongst countries were like those of Greece and Austria, we would be living in paradise".
He said that an identity of views were ascertained both in his private meetings with Fischer in Ioannina over the weekend, where Papoulias hosted Fischer on the private leg of the Austrian president's visit, as well as during the official talks between the two delegations earlier on Monday.
The agenda of talks covered bilateral economic and commercial relations, in which Papoulias noted there were margins for improvement on the Greek side, attributing the deficit in the trade balance on Greece's side to the "laid-back" attitude of Greek entrepreneurs.
The two Presidents also described as "exceptional" the relations between the two countries in the sectors of tourism and culture, and also their cooperation in international organisations and fora.
In a specific reference to the European Union, Papoulias expressed hope that a common solution would be reached regarding the Constitutional Treaty so as to give new momentum to Europe.
On the same issue, Fischer noted the efforts by the German EU presidency towards an auspicious conclusion, and endorsed a new Treaty that would be put before the European Parliament's present composition.
Papoulias presented Fischer with three works by Thucydides "so that he may remember his ancient Greek", given that the Austrian president graduated from a classical high school and was taught ancient Greek.
 PASOK spokesman on electoral lawMain opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) spokesman Petros Efthymiou on Monday read out two statements made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and by Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopouos, according to which, "there was no intention, on the part of the government, of a change to the electoral law."
?The government‚s official show-case has now become a farcical comedy, where leading ministers exchange between themselves scenarios of a change of the electoral law,? Efthymiou said.
?Two things are happening: Either Karamanlis‚ ministers are aware that there is no prime minister, therefore any one of them can replace him, or the government has overall been overcome by such an impasse, panic and weakness, so that it is attempting, either through spontaneous disorientations of public opinion, either, the worse, to convert the non-governance and the crisis to its fate, into a crisis of the country‚s institutions,? Efthymiou added.
?All this farcical comedy must stop. An issue of a change of the electoral law has not arisen. Only one issue has arisen: The clearing up of the country‚s landscape, with the only healthy solution which is recourse to popular verdict and elections,? the PASOK spokesman concluded.
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos responding to Efthymiou‚s remarks said:
?Mr. Efthymiou, PASOK‚s spokesman, that is, of the partry which disdained to participate in the constitutional reform and the reform in education, of the party which recently reached the point of attacking in a shameful manner members of the independent Judiciary, today spoke of a crisis in the institutions. They are just fit to behave irrespectfully, ? Roussopoulos replied.
 Development minister in IEO sessionGreek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas is participating in the International Energy Organisation's (IEO) ministerial session taking place in Paris on Monday and Tuesday. The minister is being accompanied by the ministry's secretary general Nikos Stefanou.
The ministerial session takes place every two years on the main issues of security for energy supply (mainly in oil) of IEO member-states, the harmonisation of energy policies and energy performance.
This year's session will also place emphasis on issues concerning environmental protection, climatic changes and reforms in international markets.
Addressing the session, the Greek minister referred to initiatives taken by Greece in the energy sector, with the oil and natural gas pipelines, with the electric network links with neighbouring countries and with the policy on saving energy that has been adopted since 2005.
Speaking to reporters, Sioufas said that "this year's session coincides with the heightening of concern over the issue of energy security on a short-term and long-term basis and energy performance, as well as the promotion of modern technologies, while saving energy is a peak issue at international level."
Sioufas met on the sidelines of the conference, Sioufas met with U.S. Energy Secretary Sam bodman and Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Mehmet Ali Guler.
 EU General Affairs Council convenesThe European Union Council of General Affairs convened in Brussels on Monday and examined the future of the European constitution, the preparation of the EU-Russia summit, relations between the EU and Serbia and the situation in the Middle East. Greece was represented by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis.
The Greek diplomatic officials met on the sidelines of the Council with Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdelelah Al-Khatib and Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr. They also met Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Beluashvili, with whom they had the opportunity of discussing issues concerning the Greek community in Chalka, Georgia.
Speaking to reporters, Bakoyannis said, referring to the constitution of Europe, that Greece belongs to the majority of EU member-states that have already ratified it, clarifying that Greek diplomacy on the issue is "more and not less Europe."
As regards relations between Europe and Moscow in light of the upcoming EU-Russia summit, the foreign minister did not conceal the fact that a difference of views exists among the "27", saying that "the climate is heavy" and that the risk exists of a gradual creation of a dividing line inside the EU on this issue and pointed out that Greece favours the strengthening of relations between the EU and Russia.
On the question of Serbia, Bakoyannis said that following the latest political developments on the country's domestic political scene, the EU must give Serbia a definite European prospect, underlining Greece's steadfast support for this option.
In relation to developmants in the Middle East, the Greek foreign minister said mechanisms for finacial support of the Palestinian Authority should start functioning and made clear that Israel must stop withholding economic funds destined for the Palestinians.
 ANA-MPA joins strike in mass mediaWe wish to inform all subscribers and clients of services of the Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency that due to the 24-hour strike called by the Coordinating Committee of Cooperating Unions in the mass media sector, the ANA-MPA will not broadcast any news item or information from 06:00 on Tuesday May 15 until 06:00 on Wednesday May 16.
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