|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English/2002-02-28
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, February 28, 2002
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
The Prime Minister pointed out that constructive criticism on financial policies is welcome, but he added that "what, however, deters progress, is turning political opposition in views, into a systematic ethical disdain of everything. Leading the Greek p eople's daily life according to tactics of making easy impressions, insinuations and moral deterioration".
"We cannot stand still in the sight of such phenomena. We must have an open front against fear, opportunism and irresponsibility. We must be stern in the face of the ideology of the 'easy way out', fatalism and constantly predicting disasters. A strong e conomy, prosperity for all people, social cohesion, persistence in transparency and laws, a stable institutional framework, will armor our policies, and, in broader terms, our Democracy. Para-authority hubs cannot weaken our effort. The modernization of G reece cannot be reversed, restrained or cancelled", he stressed.
He also expressed his satisfaction at the great degree of acceptance Greek society showed to the euro since its early circulation, and added that the government has achieved its goal of a smooth withdrawal of the drachma.
"The circulation of the euro, marks the beginning of a new course for Greece. We have left misery behind, once and for all. We have started off for the conquering of new social and financial goals. The introduction of the euro consolidates National confi dence. Greece has passed from the outer periphery, to the core of the powerful states, not with a feeling of inferiority or lacking something, but as an equal, with dignity", he noted.
In addition he underlined that "with our participation in the EMU, the monetary stability necessary to decrease inflation, benefit long-term planning, investments, and creating new employment opportunities, has been consolidated". "Monetary stability pro tects the wages of the lowly-paid and the pensioner. It ensures low interest rates for those who want to buy a house or those who want to start their own business", he added.
The Prime Minister connected the inflation rate of Greece, with its high rate of development, while at the same time pointing out that "the rise of inflation last January to 4.4%, is coincidental, as its decrease in the coming months will show".
"Within the EMU, our fiscal policy also gains greater credibility", he stressed, an added that "Greece managed to decrease its fiscal deficit by 14% of the GDP, almost three times the fiscal adaptation of the rest of the EU".
Furthermore, he mentioned that the government managed to lower deficits, after following a socially fair tax policy, but he noted that the fiscal adaptation is not complete, and that public debt, as a percentage of the GDP, must continue its steadily dec lining course.
In another part of his speech, he mentioned that Greece is a happy exception in world recession, but that it is also affected by negative events abroad, as is evident in the course of the stock market.
He also stressed that negative developments in the field of air transportation, after the September 11 events, affected the privatization of Olympic Airways negatively.
Mr. Simitis repeated that Greece's goal for coming the years is the achievement of real and social cohesion, and predicted that development rates in Greece in the near future will exceed corresponding rates for the rest of Europe, bridging Greece's gap f rom the other partners.
The Prime Minister noted that the government's policy on the social securities issue is clear. "We want to achieve a reform which is broadly accepted. We do not fear the political cost. We will support what is right. With responsibility on the Ministry o f Labor, a broad social discussion will take place. All opinions will be noted in this discussion, no matter who or where they come from. The solution we form through this discussion, will be a viable solution, in the best interest of society", he underli ned.
He also stressed that the government will move to a radical tax reform within the year, something that has not happened since the 1950s. "The basic goals of the reform, are: drastic simplification of procedures, enlargement of the tax base and fairer all otment of tax burdens, and the strengthening of competitiveness between Greek businesses", he said.
"We have done much to this day. We do not support we have done everything. Nor that everything turned out as planned. But we proceed without hesitation, alert, with no exaggerations, with a clear vision, a clear mind, a strategic plan, constructing and c reating a new Greece, a powerful Greece. A Greece that will not fear the future, but which gazes into it confidently and optimistically", he ended.
The US official characterized yesterday's announcement of the UN Security Council, giving an emergency solution character to the issue, as hopeful.
Mr. Weston, who, following his stay in Athens, will go to Ankara, did not wish to comment on the Denktash opinion of two different states in Cyprus, he did confirm however the standing position of the US on a federation solution.
"I would not like to comment on the positions of either of the two sides on the issue, I would only like to refer to the position of the UN. We are a member, and remain a member of the Security Council, we have voted in favor of the resolutions, we have not changed our opinion, we continue to believe that the solution of the Cyprus issue is in a two-zone communal form of government, and we are in search of federations", he underlined.
The Greek Foreign Minister and the US Official expressed a hope for progress to be achieved in the talks between Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash, starting on Friday March 1.
"It is a historical opportunity for our region, not just for Cyprus, but for the broader region, to move to a completely different base of relations, European relations, European practices, European frames of mind, if you will, which will upgrade the rel ationships of both Greece and Turkey in the broader region, from the Balkans and the Black Sea to the Middle East, but such a change in our relations is of course based on the resolving of the Cyprus problem", pointed out Mr. Papandreou.
After the rally, a protest march will take place, towards the Israeli Embassy.
Among others, he will meet with Presidents of Hellenism abroad bodies, as well as the British Committee for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. Mr. Magriotis will also visit Greek schools in London and will speak at an event to take place in the Helleni c Centre, on: "The Olympic Spirit and Youth Volunteerism"
In the meanwhile, in an event that took place yesterday afternoon, the area's tourism value was presented, aiming at achieving agreements on attracting tourists from the countries of the former USSR.
Based on their assessments, inflation could drop to 3.7% and be lower by 0.7%, due to the fresh fruit and vegetable price cuts.
Specifically, traffic accidents across the country dropped by 14% in 2001, while the deaths caused by traffic accidents dropped by 9% and injuries by 16%.
His speech included many indirect references to the climate created in the past few days as a result of the political diversion statements. The Prime Minister stated that clear answers are necessary by politics, institutions and the society of citizens, adding that all progressive citizens should work together for a strong society.
Referring to issues on Equal Opportunities for All Sexes, Mr. Simitis promised that the new social security system will include favorable regulations for the working women.
Of the stocks trading today, only 43 recorded gains and the overwhelming majority, namely 300, had losses, while the value of 17 stocks remained unchanged.
Mr. Kokkalis is facing criminal charges for committing fraud against investors, while he is also accused of three misdemeanors for not using for the purposes he had announced the money from the increases in the share capital of the companies that belonge d to his Group.
For the record, Mr. Kokkalis is also accused of six criminal acts namely, espionage against Greece, money laundering, fraud and embezzlement against his companies' stockholders as well as, passive and active bribery.
The meeting is a follow-up to a previous one held in the Cyprus Stock Exchange in August 2001 aimed at promoting the cooperation of the participants through the creation of a common stock exchange index that will include 100 stocks, called FTSE Med 100 I ndex.
The Casablanca Stock Exchange has also expressed interest in the initiative but it was not represented in today's meeting.
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
The Ecumenical Patriarch will visit Ground Zero in New York, where he will hold a memorial service for the victims of September 11, in the site of the destroyed Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nikolaos.
Earlier, Mr. Papandreou was received by Swiss Confederation President Kaspar Villiger.
Before the joint press conference given to reporters by the two Foreign Ministers, Mr. Deiss had signed Greece's Olympic Truce proposal. Mr. Papandreou stated characteristically that if peace, which is the Olympic Games ideal, can last for 14 days, it ca n last forever.
Mr. Deiss expressed satisfaction for Mr. Papandreou's visit to Bern which is an opportunity to reconfirm the excellent bilateral relations. He also said that the visit of the Greek Foreign Minister to Switzerland is very important in view of the Greek EU
Mr. Deiss expressed the hope that Greece will contribute to the favorable conclusion of the negotiations between his country and the EU, while he also referred to the joint efforts for peace and humanitarian aid to Kosovo within the framework of the "Foc us" initiative.
Mr. Papandreou praised the excellent bilateral relations and referred to the presence of Greece, Switzerland and Russia in Kosovo within the framework of the peacekeeping efforts.
He also underlined Switzerland's contribution to the economic reconstruction of the Balkans and Europe and praised its efforts for peace in Cyprus.