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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-05-24

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Consultations on Greek national issues
  • [02] Oil prices go up
  • [03] Developments in Greek economy
  • [04] The controversial issue of new ID cards
  • [05] Nato foreign ministers summit in Italy
  • [06] The Greek EU commissioner's statements on Cyprus
  • [07] Austrian defence minister in Cyprus
  • [08] Peace declaration plan for children

  • NEWS IN ENGLISH

    (THE VOICE OF GREECE - Translators Dpt.)

    [01] Consultations on Greek national issues

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis met with the president of the republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos whom he briefed on current political developments and in particular on issues relating to the economy. In statements after the meeting, the prime minister expressed the hope that Turkey would take up initiatives so that cooperation could be firmly consolidated in the region. Referring to the 2004 Olympic Games, Mr Simitis expressed the certainty that any problems would be overcome and that the Games in Greece would be very well organised. The prime minister will chair the bi-ministerial committee for the Olympic Games, while the government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced that the vice-president of the "Athens 2004" organising committee, Niki Tzavela, has submitted to the prime minister her resignation for family reasons.

    [02] Oil prices go up

    The increase in oil prices will be finally smaller than expected, as part of the price increase will be absorbed by the refineries and oil trade companies, as it was agreed upon at a meeting of their representatives with the development minister Nikos Christodoulakis. Specifically, the refineries will absorb 3.3 drachmas and the companies 1 drachma. Therefore, the retail price for gasoline will rise 9 to 10 drachmas per litre and 3 to 3.5 drachmas for diezel. However, the development of the prices will depend on OPEC's stand, since the international organization is being pressed to increase world production and stop the crazy race of the oil prices.

    [03] Developments in Greek economy

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis yesterday met with the national economy minister Yannos Papantoniou and discussed the speeding up of the procedures regarding structural changes in view of Greece's entry in the European Monetary Union. After the meeting, Mr Simitis said that the government's new economy policy would ensure that the positive progress made by the Greek economy would be further broadened. Mr Simitis added that there was no problem with the European Monetary Union accession procedures and that the government would continue along the same lines and clarified that its top priority would be to maintain high growth rates, boost businesses and promote structural changes, without social problems. Also discussed at the meeting were issues involving the new state budget, the improvement and upgrading of finance ministry services and absorption of funds from the third European Union support framework. In relation to the partial privatisation of public utility companies, the prime minister said the state would retain control, and in particular, he ruled out the possibility that more than 49% of the public power corporation would be sold to private investors. Concerning the government's taxation policy, Mr Simitis stressed that there would be no new taxes and pledges made regarding specific tax breaks and pledges made regarding specific tax breaks would be kept. In addition, he warned all ministries to curb their spending within the fiscal limits laid down, so that the Greek economy' s good performance could continue, with a low inflation rate, deficit and public debt.

    [04] The controversial issue of new ID cards

    In parliament, the prime minister Kostas Simitis is expected to reply to a question raised by Coalition deputy Maria Damanaki regarding the government's stand on the issue of the new identity cards and whether the religion should be written on them or not. Theodoros Anagnostopoulos, New Democracy deputy responsible for the party's public order and justice sectors, referred to the issue of the new identity cards and said that if the government states that it is in favour of writing down the religion, this would be the proof of its authoritarian character.

    [05] Nato foreign ministers summit in Italy

    The issue of the Balkans, Kosovo and Yugoslavia in general, as well as the relations between NATO and the European Union, Nato and Russia and the relations with the candidate countries for membership will be included in the daily agenda of the two day summit of the NATO foreign ministers which opens in Florence, Italy today. In the framework of the meeting, the Greek foreign minister George Papandreou will have a separate meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem. Meanwhile, Greece has scored points against Nato and Turkey in the issue of flight plans submission for aircraft participating in the Nato exercise Dynamic Mix which began in the Aegean yesterday. Following new consultations last night, Ankara and the North Atlantic Alliance accepted Greece's request for the submission in writing to the Larissa headquarters of the points pertaining to the flight plans.

    [06] The Greek EU commissioner's statements on Cyprus

    The Greek EU commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou wound up her visit to Cyprus and stated that after Helsinki, it was now clear that the political agreement on the Cyprus issue was not a prerequisite for Cyprus' accession to the European Union. Mrs Diamantopoulou added that the Helsinki EU summit decisions were an excellent basis to seek the goal of Cyprus admission to the EU and stressed that it was very important for all the Cypriot people -Greek-Cypriots and Turkish- Cypriots- to participate in the advantages and benefits Cyprus would gain from its entry in the EU.

    [07] Austrian defence minister in Cyprus

    In Nicosia, the Austrian defence minister Herbert Saibner will have talks with his Cypriot counterpart Sokratis Hasikos and the foreign minister Yannakis Kasoulidis. The Austrian defence minister will visit the Austrian contingent of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus.

    [08] Peace declaration plan for children

    Personalities from all over the world will seek to draw up a peace declaration plan for children at the international meeting organised by the Child and Family Foundation and its president Marianna Vardinogianni, scheduled to take place in early June in Athens and Delphi. Ěeanwhile, UNICEF has established National Vaccine Days to help children across the world to deal with diseases and survive through hygienic conditions.
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