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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-12-28

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From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, December 28, 2001








  • [01] SIGNIFICANT DECREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT There was a significant drop in unemployment during the first trimester of 2001: According to the data of the National Statistics Service, unemployment dropped by 1.2% since the first trimester of 2000. In real numbers, the number of unemployed for the f irst trimester of 2001 reached 476,000, which is 57,000 less than they were in the first trimester of the previous year.

    Unemployment is mainly strikes at women, unemployment among whom, however, dropped at a quicker rate than among men. Specifically, during the first trimester of 2001, unemployment among men decreased to 7.2% from 7.9% in 2000, while among women it droppe d from 18.2% to 16.3%. Especially for women it must be said that 52,149 individuals that had stated they were homemakers in 2000 entered the job market in 2001.

    The number of the new unemployed (those who have never worked in the past) came to 215,000 in contrast to the 229,000 it was in the first trimester of 2000.

    The number of unemployed between the ages of 15 and 29 decreased by 37,000, and the unemployment percentage dropped from 24.8% to 22.6%.

    The number of the long-term unemployed dropped from 302,000 to 249,000.

  • [02] SIGNIFICANT PROTECTION FOR WORKING MOTHERS Important protection is being taken for working women, so that they may confront any possible discrimination in their workplace due to their sex.

    With the Presidential Ruling which was submitted for further processing from the State Council of the pertinent Ministries of the Interior, National Economy, Labor and Justice, Greek legislature is attuned to community directive 97/80 EK "in relation to the gravity of proof in case of sex discrimination".

    The action is transferred to the party discriminating due to the other person's sex (i.e. the employer refusing to promote a woman due to her sex or enforcing retirement for the same reason), meaning that he has to prove he did not hold such a position, a fact which obviously makes things easier for the employee.

  • [03] 167 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FOUND&TAKEN TO VOLOS The 167 illegal immigrants (160 men, 5 women and 2 children) who were picked up by the Coast Guard and fishing boats in the area of Yioura are well in their health, although the hardships they have undergone are evident. The illegal immigrants were taken

    to Volos in the early morning hours aboard two fishing boats.

    The trafficking ship they were on ran aground on islet of Yioura, approximately 90 klm from Volos and the immigrants were forced to swim and climb the rocks. A fishing boat noticed them a few hours later and an operation to gather them was organized.

  • [04] PRIME MINISTER'S IMPORTANT TRIPS IN 2002 Nine important trips will be undertaken by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis during 2002. As mentioned in an article of the "Imerisia" newspaper, at the "Maximos Mansion" they appreciate that within the next 18 months, which end with the Greek Presidency of the EU in the first semester of 2003, is a period during which Mr. Simitis will furthermore promote his role in the international firmament.

    Possibly his most important trip is of course his visit to the USA, from January 8-13, since right after his meeting with President Bush, is Mr. Ecevit's visit to Washington, a fact foreshadowing US initiative in Greek-Turkish affairs, with the Cyprus is sue at the top of the list.

    On the other hand, Mr. Simitis' trip to Cyprus is still open. If it does not take place (which is quite probable) all of the political leadership of Cyprus will come to Greece. Mr Simitis' visit will probably take place at some point in February.

    From January, the Greek Prime Minister is beginning a "Balkan tour", hoping that the transfer issue of the Deputy Ministry of External Trade (and Deputy Minister Zafiropoulos) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will have been completed, so that the fund s available for the restructuring of the Balkans can be used. The Prime Minister will begin his tour with a one-day visit in Bulgaria (January 22), while Romania is next (February 5). On February 25, Albanian Prime Minister I. Meta will visit Greece, whil e the Prime Minister's program does not yet include visits to Belgrade and Skopje, a fact causeing many discussions in Athens.

    Four more trips of the Prime Minister as especially interesting:

    On January 30 Mr. Simitis will visit Brusselsinorder to be present at the meeting of the European Committee. Mr. Simitis will meet in private with the President of the Commission Romano Prodi, while on the next day, January 31, he will speak on "The EU a nd Social Cohesion", showing his position on social Europw.

    On February 22 and 23 he will travel to Stockholm in order to participate in the meeting of the "Progressive Governing", the first to take place in the post-Clinton era. It should be noted that a similar meeting of Center-Right Wing parties is being orga nized by President Bush, and Mr. Karamanlis will participate.

    On March 14 and 15 he will participate in the Emergency Summit Meeting of the EU, in Barcelona, where the progress of the decisions made in Lisbon and Stockholm will be discussed.

    From March 2-7 Mr. Simitis will visit Japan, since he has accepted an invitation and it should be noted that in the end of May he will also visit China, a meeting put off twice before due to the earthquake in the Attica region and the Emergency Congress last summer.

    Finally, on February 19 and 20 the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Mr. Juncker will visit Athens.


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