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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-07-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: Citizens' freedom paramount
  • [02] 3 wildfires in southern Peloponnese under control
  • [03] FM on EU-Turkey ties
  • [04] Trade balance deficit
  • [05] Strike affects ferry route

  • [01] Papandreou: Citizens' freedom paramount

    Main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou on Sunday was quoted by an Athens daily as saying that the global economic crisis demonstrated the "strong connection between the financial system, the real economy and the political elite".

    He added that "therefore, the political system's re-acquiring its autonomy and a strengthening of democratic institutions in politics and the economy comprise basic priorities of the new international foundation."

    "The wager is not the freedom of the markets, but citizens' freedom; protection of their rights, so that markets and state can serve our common interests. The challenge of the 21st century is to align ourselves with the global economic system with principles and values of a democratic, human, environmentally sensitive and just society," he underlined.

    His comments were published in the Athens financial daily "Imerissia".

    [02] 3 wildfires in southern Peloponnese under control

    Three separate wildfires were reported on Sunday in the southern Peloponnese, with all three luckily being extinguished towards the evening hours, given the extremely arid conditions prevailing in the country over the weekend due to a mini heat wave.

    A first blaze erupted on Saturday evening in the Chrysokelaria site of Messinia prefecture, and near the town of Koroni. A massive fire-fighting effort, including 11 vehicles, two aircraft and three helicopters, finally put out the wildfire on Sunday. Some 150 hectares of forestland and crops were destroyed.

    Moreover, another wildfire was reported in the Metaxada site of Messinia prefecture, claiming a total of 200 hectares of forest and crops, while the third blaze was reported in nearby Arcadia prefecture, which burned only a handful of hectares of cultivations.

    All three blazes were reported as extinguished by nightfall.

    [03] FM on EU-Turkey ties

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was again quoted over the weekend on relations with neighbouring Turkey, just prior to the beginning of an EU foreign ministers' summit, the first hosted by the new Swedish presidency of the Union.

    In commenting directly on the latest eyebrow-raising series of Turkish provocations in the eastern Aegean, Bakoyannis curtly said that such "thuggery does not wash in Europe".

    "Today, Turkey is moving through a slow, and possibly painful process of Europeanisation; in a sense, it (process) be characterised as historic. I understand the political, social and economic processes in a country of the size, geographic location and history of Turkey. I also understand the domestic political reality (in Turkey) and the struggle of Mr. (Tayyip) Erdogan (the Turkish premier)," she said, adding,

    "However, thuggery does not wash in Europe. And I say this as an old friend of the Turkish people and as a long-standing supporter of Turkey's European course. Turkey is obliged to adhere to what it has agreed to. It doesn't have a good tradition in doing so, though, but in Europe there is no other way. In December, Turkey will be judged by all of us (EU members) based on what has been agreed to, and this is a significant milestone, not for the end of the course ... this is what gives it an even greater value in our standing position, namely, 'full adaptation (of EU criteria), full membership'," she underlined.

    Additionally, Bakoyannis said she has accepted, in principle, an invitation by her Turkish counterpart to visit Ankara, "and I will make this visit taking into consideration all of my other obligations and the most suitable moment in order for it (visit) to be beneficial and effective."

    Finally, the Greek FM flatly dismissed a recent high-profile statement by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou that the government will exploit an "incident" in the Aegean this summer to manipulate the president of the republic parliamentary election, charging that "Mr. Papandreou's strategy is a dead-end street, that's why the issue of the president's election has already become an internal PASOK problem."

    [04] Trade balance deficit

    Greece's trade balance deficit was more than halved in May year-on-year, posting a 53.8 percent decline to 1.667 billion euro from 3.608 billion euro in May 2008, according to figures released on Friday by the National Statistics Service (ESYE) on imports/arrivals and exports/despatches to and from Greece.

    The trade balance deficit further dropped 44.4 percent in the five-month period of January-May 2009 to 9.792 billion euros from 17.624 billion euros in the corresponding period of 2008.

    The total value of imports/arrivals in May marked a 42.8 percent decrease without the inclusion of petrol products, which fell by 29.6 percent.

    The total value of exports/despatches in May posted a 17.5 percent decline over the corresponding month last year, without the inclusion of petrol products which fell by 8.6 percent.

    The overall value of imports/arrivals dropped by 36.7 percent in the five-month period, while the value of exports/despatches fell by 17.4 percent in the same period.

    [05] Strike affects ferry route

    Serious traffic problems were reported on Saturday at the extreme northwest port of Igoumenitsa, as thousands of vehicles carrying tourists and vacationers for Corfu and the small isle of Paxous were lined up for several kilometres outside the port area, awaiting to board ferryboats.

    The traffic jam stems from a two-day strike by crews on ferryboats servicing the Igoumenitsa-Corfu route. Backed up vehicles have also more-or-less choked off traffic in the town of Igoumenitsa.

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