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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-02-11

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, February 11, 2002





  • [03] HIRING RECORD IN 2001
  • [06] 5000 SEIZED IN GREECE IN 2001



  • [01] EU FOOD SECTOR DELEGATION IN GREECE A delegation of the Food and Consumer Protection Sector of the European Union will visit Greece this Thursday. The delegates will have discussions with the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Drys, and the two deputy Ministers of Agriculture, in Athens.

    Among other issues to be discussed, is the improvement of food production conditions and checks run on the market.

    The EU parties in charge will mainly concentrate on the slaughterhouses, safety measures against the "mad cow" disease, and checks on the moving and availability of meat.

  • [02] PAPANDREOU MEETS DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER Foreign Minister Giorgos Papansdreou will meet with his Dutch counterpart, Jozias Van Aertsen, tonight at 8pm.

    Issues that the two Foreign Ministers will discuss include the Balkans, the Cyprus issue, the enlargement of the EU, as well as the war against terrorism.

  • [03] HIRING RECORD IN 2001 More than 1 million people were hired on a Panhellenic scale, from January to December 2001, according to the Labor Force Employment Organization (OAED). Specifically, 1,033,083 positions were created, in contrast to the 978,266 in 2000 (+5.6%).

    However, there was also a significant increase in hiring was accompanied by a spectacular increase of 11.7% in employee dismissals. During 2001 597,575 dismissals were announced, in contrast to 534,805 in 2000, resulting in a "pure" increase in employmen t of 435,508 new positions.

    As staff members of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and OAED mention, there is intense movement in the work force of the Greek work market, something evident in the hiring - as well as in the number of resignations (366,448 during 2001, 341,19 5 in 2000).

  • [04] THE UNTOUCHABLES PINCHED The creation of a prestigious body to check on the "untouchables" has been proposed by the Minister of the Interior, Kostas Skandalidis, in order to battle corruption.

    "I believe that if inspecting mechanisms know there is a body above them, comprised of impeccable individuals, figures of authority and with experience, a body that will trace them if they break the law, then it will be very hard for them to try anything ", explained the Minister to "Ta Nea" newspaper.

    This new inspection body will be small, flexible, effective, it will be under the authority of the Cabinet, it will have increased responsibilities and rights, and its formation was deemed necessary after the discovery that corruption had even reached th e "untouchables" who have taken up the task of eradicating corruption in the public sector.

    Within the week, Ministers of the Interior Kostas Skandalidis, the Environment, Planning and Public Works Vaso Papandreou, and Public Order Michalis Chrysochoidis, intending to process plans for the combating of corruption in the public sector and financ ial crime.

  • [05] ATHENS CAN SURPASS SIDNEY OLYMPICS Greece has the lowest crime rate in Europe, and by Western standards, Athens is a safe city, while the whole of Greece is considered even safer, according to information published by the Australian Sunday Telegraph (circulation 750,000).

    The extensive report of Olympics Editor Bruce McDougall, who visited Greece last October as a guest of the Ministry of the Press and Media, mentions that Greece is moving at a fast pace, adjusting its economy to European models and may be one of the priv ileged countries of Europe in the near future. The article focuses on the 2004 Olympics preparations, and the effort being made by Athens to top Sidney and obtain a new Olympic ideal in view of the Olympics.

    The editor stressed that the infrastructure works, the most significant ones in the last 100 years, are being completed rapidly and are transforming metropolitan Athens into a modern major city, while retaining its splendor and classical form. Special me ntion is made of the Attica Underground, characterizing it as the most modern means of transportation in Europe and will play an important role during the Games. Regarding the Olympic works he mentions that although there is concern on whether Greece will

    have them ready in time, they will be completed according to schedule.

    On security issues, it is noted that Greece will be helped by many other countries, including the US, Israel and Australia, expending 1.2 billion Australian dollars, a lot more than the 200 million spent on Sidney security.

  • [06] 5000 SEIZED IN GREECE IN 2001 600,000-700,000 weapons were stolen from Albanian warehouses during the bloody uprising in the neighboring country in 1997, but to this day 60% of the stolen arms is still in private hands.

    According to information given by Ioannina Police Chief Anastasios Katsaros - during the meeting of Police Officers of Balkan Countries, for dealing with inter-border crime, which took place in Thessaloniki - from the quantities mentioned above, only 30%

    was turned in to the Albanian authorities, 10% was transferred out of Albania, but the most troubling fact is that 60% of it is privately held.

    As the Ioannina Police Chief mentioned, in the past few years more than 5,000 weapons have been seized in Greece, of which 3,000 came from Albania (the majority of which are AK-47 assault rifles and pistols).

    "Further export and dispersing of the weapons outside of Albania is sure to increase crime rates, and confronting this issue is a top priority", said Mr. Katsaros, among other things. He also proposed the creation of an operational center in Avlona for t he eradication of illegal arms trafficking, and dealing with crime in general.

    Meanwhile, as Mr. Katsaros underlined, small imported keychains-weapons are a headache for police and customs officers in Greece, since it is very difficult to locate them on a person. According to evidence, most weapons put into key-chains and lighters are manufactured in illegal workshops in Bulgaria.

  • [07] SALE OF OA DEADLINE CLOSING This week is crucial for the fate of Olympic Airways, since the final deadline for the negotiations of the state run airline's sale to the Australian IAS joint venture ends on Friday.

    According to press releases, a meeting between the privatization consultant, the joint venture and the responsible political leadership on issues relating to the operational plan of the new company will take place by mid-week.

    Meanwhile, the major stockholder of the joint venture, P. Vardinogiannis, must submit the necessary documents proving the availability of another 35 million euro to the consultant (CSFB), in order for the necessary capital to be complete (a total of 102 million euro).

    It should be noted that the joint venture's participants are P. Vardinogiannis, with approximately 80 million euro, the airliner's pilots (EHPA), with 10 million euro, and tobacco manufacturer from N. Greece D. Fessas through his company, Spiererfreres,,

    with 11.5 million euro.

  • [08] PAPANDREOU-CEM MEETING ON TUESDAY Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou will meet with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem in Istanbul on Tuesday on the sidelines of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Conference and the European Union. They will decide the procedure t o be followed in the exploratory meeting that will be held between the political directors of the Foreign Ministries of Greece and Turkey.

    Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania will also meet in Istanbul to promote the NATO membership of the two Balkan states.

  • [09] GREEK-TURKISH ECONOMIC COOPERATION SUMMIT IN ATHENS TOMORROW Turkish Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Kursat Duzmen, responsible for foreign trade issues, is in Athens in view of the 1st Greek-Turkish Economic Cooperation Summit that will take place tomorrow.

    Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Andreas Loverdos will attend the meeting on behalf of the Greek side, while also present will be officials representing both ministries.

    The meeting will focus on bilateral cooperation issues within the framework of the economic agreements signed by both countries in the sectors of transportation, trade, shipping etc.

  • [10] GREEK INVESTMENT IN FYROM'S SKI CENTER The mayor of the city of Konopiste stated to the Skopje newspaper "Dnevnik" that a 40 million Euro modern ski center will be built in Kozuv Mountain in south FYROM with the participation of Greek businessmen.

    According to the mayor, 52% of the investment will be made by Greek businessmen. The ski center will have a capacity of 5.000 visitors.

  • [11] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.64% at 2.511,18 points, while the volume of transactions was 67.6 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 224 recorded losses and 80 had gains, while the value of 67 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [12] PAPOUTSIS IS PASOK'S CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR OF ATHENS Christos Papoutsis is the governing Socialist Party of PASOK candidate for the post of the mayor of Athens in next October's municipal elections.

    The candidature of Mr. Papoutsis was announced by PASOK Central Committee secretary Kostas Laliotis after a meeting that was held today at the party's central offices in Athens. The candidature is backed through a written message by Foreign Minister Gior gos Papandreou and Minister of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou who were not present in the meeting.

    Christos Papoutsis is 49 and is a PASOK parliament deputy and a member of the party Central Committee and Executive Bureau. He is a graduate of the School of Economics in the Athens Law School. He was elected a Euro-deputy in 1984, 1989, 1994, while he a lso served as a European Commissioner. He held the Ministry of Merchant Marine.

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Christos Protopapas characterized as positive the candidature of Mr. Papoutsis, stressing that he has a rich parliamentary, governmental and European experience.

  • [13] BEGLITIS: THE CEM LETTER INCLUDES THE KNOWN TURKISH POSITIONS The Greek side appears satisfied with the results of the informal meeting of the EU Council of Ministers in Spain. Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis stated that an important discussion was held on the EU enlargement and its funding framework.

    A review of the Greek-Turkish relations was also made in the informal meeting of the 15 EU Foreign Ministers and it was established that Turkey is not moving quickly enough to materialize the Copenhagen political criteria.

    Commenting on the letter of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Beglitis stated that it includes the known Turkish positions.

  • [14] GREEK BUSES IN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT IN ITALY Two Greek buses on their way back to Greece via Ancona were in a traffic accident involving over 100 cars outside Rimini in Italy, in which three people were killed and more than 500 were injured.

    The New Line travel agency bus with 13 passengers on board was returning to Athens from Padua when it collided with a private car moving in front of it. The co-driver was killed in the crash and 9 passengers were injured. The second Greek bus suffered on ly material damage and its passengers were transported to Ancona.

  • [15] PROTOPAPAS ON THE CEM LETTER There is an honest intention on behalf of the Greek side to examine the potential to settle the continental shelf issue as well as, discuss other problems that have to be faced to create a climate of good neighborly relations and cooperation with Turkey,

    stressed Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas. On Turkey's intentions, he said that they will be determined through the exploratory contacts.

    On the Turkish Foreign Minister letter, he said that it does not affect Greece's decision to examine the potential of a Greek-Turkish dialogue, pointing out that the Greek side has the best intentions. He said that the Turkish Foreign Minister in his let ter reiterates the known Turkish positions and added that Turkey's contribution to the solution of the Cyprus problem is directly linked with its European course. He said that the only thing Turkey can win by reiterating its known intransigent positions i s its isolation from the international community. Finally, Mr. Protopapas stated that the Cyprus problem will be solved within the framework of the United Nations.


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