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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-01-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM requests further action against Siemens
  • [02] ND foreign policy positions outlined
  • [03] Shipping magnate Vassilis Constantakopoulos dies
  • [04] Gov't: No migrant legalisation
  • [05] Stocks drop on profit taking 

  • [01] PM requests further action against Siemens

    (ANA-MPA) -- Prime Minister George Papandreou instructed his ministers to take further action against the German-based multinational Siemens, speaking during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

    Papandreou directed Minister of Justice Haris Kastanidis, Regional Development Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and Minister of State Haris Pamboukis to take necessary actions in order to impose fines on Siemens and sue for compensation over the multinational's actions that harmed the state's interests.

    The move comes after a Parliamentary examining committee submitted its report on an investigation into a kickbacks scandal involving several Siemens contracts, for which MPs recommended that 14 former ministers be further investigated for criminal liability. (ANA-MPA)

    In addition to seeking compensation, Papandreou also asked that any tenders awarded to the company be first carefully re-examined before they are ratified and that the two sides sign an 'integrity agreement'.

    The prime minister also urged faster completion of the judicial process, if possible, in order to clear up the case. (ANA-MPA)

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [02] ND foreign policy positions outlined

    (ANA-MPA) -- Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Monday detailed what he called his party's "red lines" in terms of major foreign policy issues, speaking in Parliament during an off-the-agenda debate he requested.

    Specifically, Samaras expressed stern opposition to any thought of "co-exploitation" in the Aegean basin, while rejecting what he called discussions on the Aegean continental shelf issue from "ground zero".(ANA-MPA)

    Moreover, the ND leader and early 1990s-era foreign minister called for the establishment of an "exclusive economic zone (EEZ)" in Greece's extended sea regions.(ANA-MPA)

    In terms of other foreign policy issues high on Athens' agenda, Samaras warned that his party would oppose any second "Annan peace plan" for Cyprus, while reminding of the previous ND government's success at the 2008 Bucharest NATO summit regarding the "name issue" with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).(ANA-MPA)

    Additionally, he again criticised PM George Papandreou for conducting "secret diplomacy", as he claimed, charging that this "creates more suspicion in the country rather than goodwill with the opposite side".(ANA-MPA)

    Referring directly and at length to the EEZ issue, which has generated its share of local press attention of late, he said Cyprus has already concluded such agreements with Israel, Egypt and Lebanon, whereas Greece should immediately do the same with Cyprus, followed by Egypt and Libya.(ANA-MPA)

    Samaras said an agreement with Cyprus would also overcome the "non-existent", as he said, issue recently arisen in the press with the Greek isle of Kastellorizo.(ANA-MPA)

    Along these lines, he said he will not accept the Aegean Sea's characterisation as a "semi-enclosed" or "enclosed sea", something he said would overturn provisions foreseen in the International Law of the Sea and be considered as a resignation, on Greece's part, of its rights.(ANA-MPA)

    In touching on the timely problem of illegal immigration, Samaras called on Papandreou to show increased zeal on the issue of migrants' repatriation via Turkey, which has signed a relevant 2001 bilateral protocol with Greece that it does not fulfill, as he said.(ANA-MPA)

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [03] Shipping magnate Vassilis Constantakopoulos dies

    (ANA-MPA) -- "Captain" Vassilis Constantakopoulos, one of Greece's most prominent shipowners and developer of luxury hotel complexes in his birthplace in Messinia prefecture, died early Tuesday at the age of 76, after a bout with cancer.

    Constantakopoulos, founder of the shipping firm Costamare, was born in 1935 in Diavolitsi, Messinia. He left for Athens in 1948, where he worked while attending a night school, graduating in 1953.

    That same year he set sail as an unpaid apprentice on a small ship, the beginning of his maritime career, and in 1974 he created his own company, Costamare Shipping Company SA after purchasing an older vessel.

    Today Costamare, which remains a family business, manages 46 container ships and is the largest independent container shipping company in the world, with its entire fleet under the Greek flag.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [04] Gov't: No migrant legalisation

    (ANA-MPA) -- A group of economic migrants taking part in a mass hunger strike that began on Tuesday at the old building of the Athens Law School and their local supporters held a press conference to press their demands that Greece grant a residence permit to all migrants in the country, both legal and illegal.

    The migrants called their hunger strike a "historic event" and claimed that it was "the largest hunger strike by migrants in the history of Europe".

    There are 287 migrants taking part in the hunger strike in total, 237 of them camped inside the old law school building in central Athens, and the remaining 50 in Thessaloniki's Labour Centre. Rather than seeking political asylum, the mostly North African and 20-something men are demanding legalisation.

    A Greek spokesman for the group underlined that they did not intend to leave the premises of the school, where they are protected by university asylum laws, until their demands are met.

    "We are determined to die in order to acquire equal rights," he stressed but did not clarify what action the group would take if the government granted residence permits to those involved but not the remaining 460,000 illegal immigrants now estimated to be living in Greece without valid documents or a renewed residence permit.

    The entire group arrived in Athens from Crete by ferry boat early morning Sunday, a week after the law school's faculty rejected a request by a leftist student grouping to host the hunger strikers.

    Gov't response

    On its part, the interior ministry on Tuesday clarified that there is "no intention or possibility to legalise, en masse and unconditionally, all of the foreign nationals that have entered and reside in the country illegally."

    An announcement by the education ministry, which referred to a "camp for migrants" inside the school was equally caustic. Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulos referred to an "outrageous" incident of "political forces exploiting, in the most provocative manner, human agony in order to serve their petty political expediencies; destroying university liberties (in the process)". She also called on the law school's administration to defend the institution's academic operation. (ANA-MPA)


    On its part, the Communist Party charged that "whoever led the migrants to the law school (building) merely exposes them (migrants) to greater slandering and threats by reactionary parties and mechanism; to state oppression and blackmail by the networks that are exploiting them."

    Greece has been swamped by successive waves of illegal immigration since 1990, with the most recent influx of would-be migrants hailing from mostly Third World countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. In most cases migrant smugglers ferry illegals from neighbouring Turkey by land and sea, whereas a majority of the migrants apparently want to clandestinely depart Greece for a western or northern European destination.

    The Greek government recently announced plans to erect a fence along a 12.8-kilometre stretch of border it shares with Turkey not located along the route of the Evros River in NE Greece. Additionally, Frontex units from other European countries have commenced sea patrols in the eastern Aegean and guard duty in the Evros border prefecture in a bid to assist Greek forces. (ANA-MPA)

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [05] Stocks drop on profit taking

    Stocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday as investors took profits after a three-week rally of prices. The composite index of the market fell 0.92 pct to end at 1,534.38 points, with turnover at 97.985 million euros.

    The Big Cap index fell 1.22 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.38 pct down and the Small Cap index eased 0.09 pct. Marfin Popular Bank (1.85 pct), Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (1.34 pct), Ellaktor (1.10 pct) and Jumbo (0.38 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Hellenic Postbank (3.41 pct), Piraeus Bank (3.07 pct), MIG (2.86 pct) and Alpha Bank (2.35 pct) were major losers.

    The Media (3.15 pct) and Commerce (1.78 pct) sectors scored gains, while Financial Services (2.99 pct), Travel (2.20 pct) and Raw Materials (2.12 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 105 to 68 with another 45 issues unchanged. Centric Multimedia (18.92 pct), Vioter (16.67 pct), Avenir (13.04 pct) were top gainers, while Unibios (12.5 pct), Euroholdings (11.11 pct) and FHL Mermeren (9.73 pct) were top losers.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

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