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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM meets EU Commissioner for science, ministers
  • [02] Putin calls Greece a 'strategic partner'

  • [01] PM meets EU Commissioner for science, ministers

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had successive meetings on Thursday with government ministers and European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Poto─nik, who is in Athens to officially present the European Union's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7).

    In talks with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos he discussed public administration to prepare for a New Democracy party event in Thessaloniki, while his talks with Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras focused on issues linked to the justice ministry.

    Emerging from the meeting, Papaligouras launched a stinging attack against main opposition PASOK over what he called interference by that party with the independent judiciary.

    Papaligouras told reporters after the meeting that the justice system appeared to be under fire lately by PASOK, adding that "over the past few weeks it has been undergoing an unprecedented attack, as its credibility is being questioned by the main opposition, questioning that aims to downgrade this institution at a time when we are proceeding with determination to root out trial-rigging circuits".

    Papaligouras stressed that Greek judges could be "neither intimidated nor coerced by anyone", adding that PASOK had once again chosen the wrong target.

    Karamanlis and EU Commissioner Poto─nik

    Karamanlis met Poto─nik on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and the president the National Council for Research and Technology Prof. Dimitris Nanopoulos.

    After the meeting, Sioufas said they had examined all issues linked to the effort to create a European area for science, research and innovation and aspects of the 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) that will be officially presented by the Commissioner in Greece on Friday.

    The minister stressed that Poto─nik's efforts are supported by the prime minister and the Greek government and that Greece is seeking to strengthen its position in science, research and innovation so as to boost its competitiveness and create more wealth, social prosperity and assist the country's overall development.

    The Commissioner, on his part, stressed that Greece still has a long way to go in the area of research, development and technology.

    He added, however, that the government's commitment and full support for this goal was apparent and that a programme of reforms might be undertaken and successfully carried out that would lead Greece to the position that is foreseen and demanded, so that it acquires some ability in these areas.

    According to Poto─nik, the 7th Research Framework Programme that will be officially unveiled in Greece on Friday has a budget of 55 billion euros, which will be invested in research and made available at the "base of competitiveness".

    He stressed that collaboration by Greek scientists and researchers in applying for these funds would greatly benefit the country.

    Karamanlis, interior minister discuss party pre-conference event

    Following his meeting with the prime minister, Pavlopoulos said they discussed topics related to a New Democracy pre-conference event that will be held in Thessaloniki on Sunday and will be dedicated to public administration, particularly decentralisation and local government.

    He said the prime minister will carry out an evaluation of the government's work that was also in preparation for the dialogue that is due to begin regarding the future administrative structure of the country.

    Answering questions regarding measures for public-sector contract workers, the minister stressed that the legislative framework introduced by the government was final. He also noted that a definitive answer had been given to main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou in Parliament on Thursday regarding the rumours of appointments as political favours.

    "It became apparent there what appointments were carried out under PASOK in the last three years and what happened under the Karamanlis government," he told reporters.

    Fielding questions about the prospect of early elections and whether the interior ministry was prepared to hold elections now, the minister replied that the ministry was ready but that the elections would take place at the end of the government's term.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Putin calls Greece a 'strategic partner'

    Russian President Vladimir Putin received President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias here on Thursday, calling Greece a significant strategic partner of his country, weeks after a final agreement for a crude oil pipeline linking the two countries was finalised.

    Moreover, during a subsequent press conference at the Kremlin, the Russian president bluntly condemned what he called "imperialism" in international affairs and warned that Moscow would boost its arsenal in the face of military developments in central and eastern Europe.

    In an outspoken tone, Putin also sharply criticised the United States and other NATO members for failing to ratify an amended version of the 1990 CFE treaty, saying Russia is already complying with the treaty but would bow out of the CFE treaty altogether if NATO countries failed to ratify its amended version.

    "Either you ratify the treaty and start observing it, or we will opt out of it," he warned.

    "And what about our partners? They are filling Eastern Europe with new weapons. A new base in Bulgaria, another one in Romania, a (missile defence) site in Poland and a radar installation in the Czech Republic ...What we are supposed to do? We can't just sit back and look at that," he said, while chiding those "who want to dictate their will to all others regardless of international norms and law."

    In a direct reference to Washington, Putin said it was "dangerous and harmful ... Norms of the international law were replaced with political expediency. We view it as diktat and imperialism."

    Earlier, in welcoming the Greek President to the Kremlin, Putin underlined the dynamic development of bilateral relations, whereas Papoulias pointed to the cordial understanding between Athens and Moscow and the absence of problems in relations.

    The Russian president referred to heightened bilateral relations in the sectors of economy, humanitarian affairs and cooperation for the exchange of military know-how, with the latter contributing greatly to the creation of a climate of confidence, given Greece's NATO membership.

    Papoulias stressed, on his part, that Greek-Russian activities were founded on deep historical roots, underlining the speedy development of bilateral relations in a relatively short period of time.

    Earlier, the Greek president had a meeting with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and attended the unveiling of a monument dedicated to the Lihoudis brothers, scholars from the Ionian island of Cephallonia.

    Caption: Greek President Karolos Papoulias (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Thursday, May 31, 2007. ANA-MPA / V. VARDOULAKIS.

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